Over the last two days Al Golden addressed the media, and not surprisingly there were a lot of topics discussed.
One of the hottest subject matters among 'Canes fans and media is Al-Quadin Muhammad's complete absence of playing time Vs Louisville. Golden did not give a concrete reasons, and also cited student confidentiality reasons for not expanding on whether or not AQM was suspended. Here is the abbreviated explanation:
"That was my decision not to play him. That's my responsibility. Anytime there is anything terms of a suspension, we will release that to you guys. If there's a suspension or other disciplinary action, that announcement will come from Blake James. Until anything is official I have a responsibility to handle things the right way."
If you read between the lines it sure sounds like there is something more than a DNP - Coaches Decision going on here. Why else would you not play one of the most talented players in the program? If/when we hear more, we will be sure to provide additional details.
Freshman offensive lineman KC McDermott & Trevor Darling also did not see action. AG was more definitive on those two.
"Based on where we were with the QB and the pressure we were going to see, we did not think it was the environment to start them out in."
He did not necessarily say if and how much McDermott and Darling would play this week, but did promise there would be "competition" this week at multiple positions. Based on the shortcomings of Taylor Gadbois and Danny Isidora, you'd think the right side of the O Line would top the list.
On the play calling on offense:
"I think we could have and should opened it up more for him (QB Brad Kaaya)."
On Kaaya's play overall:
"I didn't think it was too big for him. He showed poise. There were two plays I think he'd like back. He made some very good throws. The two throws to Clive and the one to Dorsett on the run were very good. We clearly did not protect him well enough, and we were not good enough on third down."
Kaaya's maturity despite the offensive struggles was one positive note. Golden also praised his defense and noted that some of the 4th quarter shortcomings were related to lack of possession of the ball:
"Number one, we can't leave them on the field the way we did in the 4th quarter. We got tired there at the end. Our offense needs to help our defense out. We were on the field for nearly ten minutes in the 4th quarter"
AG praised the defense as a whole despite this.
"We were more aggressive and were much more physical up front. We forced three and outs 50 percent of the time. We got 4 sacks. I thought Anthony Chickillo played some of his best football. Heurtelou and Jenkins were really good. We tackled really well. We held them to under 4.7 yards per play. If you play a little better on offense and take care of the football that should be winning football."
He was careful however not to single out the offense too much.
"Every position needs to get better, every unit needs to get better. We need a mature team. We need to move on to mission 2 which is FAMU this Saturday."
Additionally Golden confirmed on yesterday's call that Ryan Williams is progressing, but remains unavailable.
On the second quarter turnover where Kaaya's pass to Stacey Coley that was originally ruled incomplete and overturned to a fumble, Golden briefly addressed whether he should have challenged that Louisville has 12 men on the field.
"They were reviewing it and obviously taking that into account as well. Right now that is in the hands of the ACC office and I have no further comment."
Former Vice President of Officiating in the National Football League and current Rules Analyst at FOX Sports, Mike Pereira felt like the call should have came from upstairs.
The crazy thing about the backward pass, too many players on the field is reivewable. What was the replay official doing? Awful.— Mike Pereira (@MikePereira) September 2, 2014
Certainly someone dropped the ball there. It was a momentum swinging play.
Give Golden credit for being stand up and forthcoming for the most part this week. Starting against FAMU, he and his staff need to do a better job not only in what they call, but who they play and how much the play them. It sounds like they are hard at work trying to figure it out. The next two weeks will give them some time to sharpen things up top to bottom. Let's hope AG and staff work some things out. The way they played/coached against Louisville will not get in done in Lincoln on 9/20.