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Blake James: "I'll leave it up to Al" Plus Player Quotes as UM preps for South Carolina

James backs AG, plus more from Kaaya, Burns, Heurtelou.

Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports

Well the media still hasn't heard from Al Golden in 8 days, but we did get to talk to some of  the players and the AD today.

There is expected to be some media availability in the coming days with the coaches and the rest of the players.

Player Highlights:

Brad Kaaya -

Called playing an SEC team a "unique challenge."

Kaaya says he has not seen too much film yet on the Gamecocks but mentions FR CB Chris Lammons specifically on players he is familiar with.

The freshman QB also called SC a "really skilled opponent"  and mentions that they have played in a lot of big games this year both in and out of conference.

On expanding his role as a leader as the season progressed,

"Definitely,  I can't really go in as a freshman having played no games and boss seniors around. I had to prove myself first."

His message to potential recruits,

"We have a lot of young guys on our team and a lot of good players to surround yourself with. We have a chance to be a special group of guys."

Calvin Heurtelou -

On his feelings about playing in the Independence Bowl,

"Another opportunity to play the game and show we are better than our record shows."

Heurtelou also said they were psyched about facing South Carolina and called Steve Spurrier a "historical coach."

When asked about tension in the locker room he said there is "no disconnect" between younger and older players,  and added "the team is the closer" despite the late season struggles.

In terms of the development of some of the younger players, he "does not look at players like Brad Kaaya and Joe Yearby and as freshman anymore."

On what the team has been doing after the final regular season game, points out "a lot of strength and conditioning work."

Why he is hopeful for next season, mentions Mississippi State only winning 4 games last year, and how quickly they turned things around.

Artie Burns -

On the difference between this year and last year's flat bowl performance, Burns felt that "Miami has something to prove" and said he felt that they would not repeat last season's debacle Vs Louisville.

Burns did admit the team "wasn't the same after FSU."

The sophomore CB said in terms of the locker room, the younger players like Kaaya and  Yearby are "stepping up and being more vocal."

Both players defended the team's top 15 ranking, stating the numbers back up the play.

Burns quickly answered "a shot at an SEC team" on what he looked forward to in playing in this bowl.


Earlier in the day in what appeared to be the more eventful of the two calls, AD Blake James addressed the media.  I will let you draw your own conclusions/opinions based on the highlights below: