by Nick Sutton
FIU football opens against Bryant University this Thursday on campus, and players and athletics staff alike are gearing up for what promises to be a thrilling season under first-year head coach Mike MacIntyre. Among the players eager for action is defensive starter Jeramy Passmore, who will meet up against his former high school coach, Chris Merritt, now leading the Bryant Bulldogs.
Passmore attended football powerhouse Christopher Columbus High School, where he was a starter under Merritt. During their time together at Columbus, the team saw a trip to the 2018 state championship game, falling just short of the title. Now, the two get a chance to be on the same field once again, but this time on opposite sides. Passmore says he can’t wait.
SEASON OPENER: 7 PM, THURSDAY, SEPT. 1
FIU STADIUM AT MMC
STUDENTS GO FREE (AND CAN SECURE ONE FREE GUEST TICKET AND MORE FOR $10 EACH)
FACULTY, STAFF AND RETIREES "APPRECIATION DAY" COMPLIMENTARY ENTRY
COMPLETE TICKETING, PARKING AND TAILGATING INFORMATION
FIU News: First off, what are the vibes under Coach MacIntyre, and how is the team feeling?
Passmore: Our confidence is high. We’re going into this season just trusting each other, loving each other, playing as a family together. We’re all excited about the start of the season. I would say the whole staff, overall, has done a good job getting us ready for the season. I'm really looking forward to a complete change, a complete turnaround. Coach Mac's come in, he's set the standard, and we as a team have made sure we're holding everyone to that standard.
And now, this week, how does it feel to go up against your old coach?
I’m really looking forward to it. I played for him, and now I’m gonna be on the other end of that, so it’s definitely exciting. After the game, we’ll probably share a few words, briefly. You know, it’s been a long ride, and Coach Merritt’s my guy. I’m going to be happy to see him.
What do you remember about him from your high school days?
He’s a hard-nosed coach, but he really cares about his players, really a detailed guy, making sure everybody’s on point and holding everyone accountable. It was all positive, good vibes. I was able to grow a lot as a player under him during my time in high school. He just emphasized being a good person on and off the field.
Columbus went all the way to the state championship in 2018. Tell me about that experience.
I wish we could’ve brought it home that year, but it was definitely big, getting Columbus’ name back on the map because it’d been a couple years of knocking on the door. We didn’t win [in 2018], but the next year, after I graduated, Columbus ended up winning, so I feel like we kind of set that up for the young guys to take over and win it the next year. So, it was definitely a great experience.
Anything you'd like to tell the FIU community before the opener?
What I'd like to say to the fans and anyone else listening is that it's gonna be a really big year. It's a new era. I promise change is coming. We just hope you guys can come to the stadium and pack the crowd and go ahead and enjoy the show.
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