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Al Golden Pregame Press Conference: Florida State

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Robert Duyos-USA TODAY Sports

Courtesy UM

Al Golden Pregame Press Conference: Florida State

October 6, 2015




Opening Statement…

"Thanks for covering the Hurricanes. We just finished our first practice of Florida State week, and I’m excited about our energy and our focus. I’ll have a chance to watch the film here in a minute, but we got a chance to get a lot of things done, and we obviously have a lot of work to do between now and Friday to play the game we want to play. We have a lot of respect for Florida State, and the type of environment we’re going into and the challenge it presents. We’re just preparing our guys accordingly. We’ll go right into questions."



On what a win over Florida State would mean for the program…

"It’d be big. I thought we played with a lot confidence last year. We didn’t finish. We left a lot of plays out there. I don’t think you can carry anything forward but the experience. I think our guys that played in that game a year ago have to lead now. We have to learn a lot from what we did well and what we didn’t do well. That’s going to be critical - that we have that experience, that we share that experience with the guys that haven’t been in the game, and really just keep our focus on the game and not everything that surrounds it."

On the importance of consistency when it comes to preparation for a rival like Florida State…

"For us, I keep saying it…It’s a big game. We can act like it’s not a big game, we get that. But for our guys, we have to learn to be consistent and prepare. From that standpoint, I want to see them approach everything consistently, I want to see our staff approach everything consistently. They’ll be fired up. We know Florida State will be fired up…it is what it is. I want our guys to embrace the challenge and embrace the opportunity - all the atmosphere and everything - and play our game. That’s what I’m looking for. We’re not talking about anything else but trying to have a great Tuesday practice."

On the "glimmers" shown by offense, defense and special teams through four games…

"I think from our standpoint, the glimmers are what keep you motivated. I think from our standpoint, the first key to winning consistently is eliminating the things that cause you to lose. We have seen pockets, but as you know, pockets aren’t good enough. Pockets, if you’re not consistent, will lead to the kind of issues we had the other night. You can’t play this game in spurts. I think that’s what we’re trying to create - a consistent team. There have been times on defense where for how many ever minutes – 21 minutes - they had five yards the other night. Then we let up a big play. That’s not being a consistent defense, and that’s not doing it constantly at a high level…same thing on offense and same thing on special teams. We let up a big [punt] return the other night, and then on the next three or four punts, the net is unbelievable. I’m not going to let it get frustrating. I don’t think the players are going to let it get frustrating. The challenge is to do it consistently. That has been our message from the get-go. If we stay with it, we have a chance to become [consistent]. If we get frustrated, we’ll never be where we want to be."

On why inconsistencies occur…

"It’s hard. It’s hard to explain it. It’s my responsibility, at the end of the day. We just have to be a consistent team. We have to consistently play at a high standard and a high level, irrespective of who’s in the game, or if we have an injury or something else is in the game, or whatever the case may be. Whoever goes in has to play at a high level and we have to execute at a high level. There’s no excuse. We didn’t do it the other night. It’s as simple as that."

On what, if any, changes he has instituted in philosophy or personnel since Thursday…

"From a personnel standpoint, there are some things that coaches really don’t like to give out...but there are some personnel changes that we had to make. Whether that’s a [second string] becoming the [first string] or [second string] playing more, switching a position or whatever the case may be, we’ve done that. We met as a staff on Friday, met with the kids on Friday, and a lot of that was implemented by the time we left on Friday night, in terms of how we want to proceed. To be perfectly frank with you, I’m not going to share it with you now, but some of what happened the other night necessitated it. If we want to be consistent, some of it required action in terms of personnel. Certainly in everything that we do, we start with conceptually, ‘What are we doing?’ We looked at some of that. So there’s going to be subtle changes, for sure - in both personnel and play-calling."

On if he has seen a "go back to work" mentality from the team since the loss at Cincinnati…

"I think that’s the prevailing attitude. There’s nothing easy about it. It’s frustrating, it’s disheartening, it makes you angry - by what we gave away. I don’t want to take away anything from the opponent, because our opponent played well, but what we gave away in that game is frustrating. You can let it eat at you. The one thing that has really been the persona of this team is accountability - taking accountability for what transpired, addressing it, communicating and moving forward. They allowed us to move forward today because of that and really get focused on Florida State. We have a long way to go in the week, but [we had] a good start today."

On how he balances his team’s pride and approaching the game with a consistent mentality…

"To be honest, the only thing we can do today, tomorrow and Thursday is exactly what they’re saying – that’s worry about us, prepare and do the things we need to do. As the mental part of the game goes high and the physical goes low as we enter game day, I expect them to play with a lot of energy and passion. To start that today is really hard to maintain for five or six days. They have a good focus. They know that in that environment, if they don’t develop the habits today and the poise today - execute the way they need to do, trust each other and demonstrate that they can play at a high level - it’s going to be hard to say we’re going to do it on Saturday if we don’t do that [during practice]. I think it’s a combination, but clearly we want to add the mental aspect to the emotional aspect on game day."

On Florida State QB Everett Golson and what he remembers from the Notre Dame game in 2012…

"I have a lot of respect for him. He’s doing a great job in this system. He’s learned it incredibly fast. He’s protecting the football. He’s a winning quarterback. He’s winning for them. He’s doing exactly what they need to do. Whether that’s from coach play calls or him managing the game, he’s putting them in a position to win the game. That’s his No. 1 job as the quarterback."

On Florida State RB Dalvin Cook and the Seminoles position group as a unit…

"All the running backs – we don’t suspect Mario [Pender] is going to play – but all the running backs are big, physical guys. They all have something with them that is unique. Obviously Dalvin’s is his ability to cut back and his breakaway speed, in addition to that.  We have to do a good job tackling all those guys, irrespective of who is in the game."

On the status of LB Jermaine Grace…

"Jermaine was much better today than we thought he would be. Do we have more hope today than we did yesterday? Yeah. He went through a regimen today way ahead of where we thought he would be. There’s a really good possibility he could practice tomorrow. We’ll see. I did not feel that way Monday morning…He’s got a chance."

On the status of WR Braxton Berrios and WR Stacy Coley, and Berrios’ return vs. Cincinnati…


"They’ll both be ready to go. Braxton was the best he has been, and Stacy was good today. [Braxton] wasn’t there yet [vs. Cincinnati]. Part of that was he practiced twice for that game and then went out and played after being off for three weeks. I can see it in his eyes today, he feels better, he looks better. Those two guys will help us."

On the maturity RB Joe Yearby has shown through the first four games of the regular season…


"I love Joe Yearby. He doesn’t say much. He’s a hard-worker. He’s grateful, loves the University of Miami. He has had a lot of adversity, went through a lot and attacked it head-on. He didn’t make excuses. He wasn’t with us for a while – I don’t know how long exactly, a month and a half, maybe more - and came back in incredible condition and stronger. He found a way to do the things he needed to do. That said a lot about his character and the kind of person he is. I’m happy he’s having the type of year he’s having. He has added some tools to his trade, in terms of being a little stronger, spinning on contact, doing those types of things. I’m excited about the opportunity to go to battle with Joe this weekend."

On the status of OL Kc McDermott…


"I think he had a good day today. He’s ready to help us this weekend. We’ll see KC a lot more in the rotation, Joe Brown as well. Those two guys will play more, just to keep the rep counts a little bit more equal. We have to get rid of that inconsistency. You’re going to get beat. We don’t want to to get overpowered in short yardage situations, but you’re going to get beat once in a while. If you get beat that’s fine, but come back the next play and compete. Those guys are constantly battling up front. You do take some losses along the way. What we can’t have are the unforced errors – that’s what’s killing us right now. Whether it’s a chance to be 1st & 10 to start the game on the 10-yard line or eight-yard line, instead you’re 1st & 20 on the 33. Right off the bat, next time we’re down, we have an offside [penalty] and we’re 1st & 15. Neither one of them we dug out of. Both Joe and KC can help us, they need to help us, they need to step up, and it’s going to help us stay fresher, play more guys there and hopefully be more effective than we were the other night.

"We’re protecting Brad [Kaaya] probably better overall than we were a year ago, but Brad is getting rid of the ball better. We can’t be lulled to sleep because of the fact that he’s getting rid of it - and we’re not giving up a lot of sacks - as the answer. We have to do a better job protecting and not letting him get hit."

On the impact of Miami / Florida State game in recruiting…


"It’s important. It’s all important - the plan you have for each kids, what you’re offering him, the type of young man you’re recruiting, whether his values meet your values, and ultimately what’s happening on the field. It is important. It’s important for us in a lot of different respects, but none of that matters if you don’t prepare and keep your eyes focused on what we have to do every day. That will take care of itself, if we play well. That’s what we have to do. We have to play well, execute, play with poise, we need leaders to lead and we need to do the things in that game to be successful."