Opening Statement: We're excited. We actually finished at the end of March. I think it was March 28th. We've been integrated back into the weightlifting and conditioning phase before we finish up our exams and get out of here. We will do that next week. Our young people will get a break for 2 1/2 to 3 weeks, and we will reconvene around May 17th, the start of summer school. Any questions, I'd be more than happy to answer for you.
Q. I just wanted to go in a little bit, especially after the spring here, of life after Duke Johnson, just what you can say about the running game and some of the guys that are stepping up for you.
AL GOLDEN: I think it's a great challenge for our guys. I think Gus Edwards had a really good spring. He's got to continue to show the responsibility and accountability to be that guy. I think Joe Yearby is also a guy that's competing for that although he's markedly different than Gus. And then Trayone Gray, Mark Walton, and Walter Tucker will also be in that battle come summer. Again, I'm anxious to see how it plays out. I'm happy with the direction that group's going, but, obviously, they have a great challenge, and hopefully they have something to prove here over the next four months.
Q. How have you and the offensive staff kind of looked at this season moving forward knowing that you don't have a weapon like Duke? What have you kind of done throughout the spring to make up for that?
AL GOLDEN: We really haven't changed who we are philosophically. Again, we're very excited about Gus and Joe, and Trayone Gray is very talented. He's still learning the position, and Mark Walton, certainly a young man coming in. So we're going to have the guys there. It may not be just one. It may be more getting several guys the same amount of touches. But, again, if one of those guys separates themselves as Duke did, then he'll get the majority of the touches. Right now we're still in that phase we're waiting to see one of them break out. If not, we'll do it by committee. Either way, we're fine with it and excited about the direction that group is going.
Q. Coach, I'm curious, as you look at the cost of attendance legislation that's passed, what are your thoughts on that? Do you see any potential pitfalls in terms of recruiting impact, with one school being able to pay more than another?
AL GOLDEN: I think we're going to have to look at that clearly. We don't want the disparity to grow too big that it becomes part of the decision making equation for young people and their parents. That's not the intent of it. The intent is to give them what they need, not just to survive, but to have quality of life to enjoy their collegiate experience and get all the things that they need to be successful while they're in college. So I just think we have to be careful in terms of what the parameters are and just make sure the disparities from one school to another are equitable and that we don't -- it should not enter into the equation. That's really at the base of everything from an NCAA standpoint, that there's no advantage one way or another and that it's just putting the student-athlete first. So hopefully, we'll be able to keep that in mind here as we move forward.
Q. Al, you've spoken several times about your unhappiness with the penalties that your team has committed. Do you assess it from a coaching standpoint any differently now, identified any kind of root cause? Kind of how did you work on this problem with this particular group?
AL GOLDEN: I think we have worked on it in a number of ways. Number one, identifying if there's an individual that's causing the majority of the penalties and really drill down and make sure that individual understands the impact that that has on the game. Look at the teaching mechanics of where the penalties are showing up and what can we do better? In other words, line of scrimmage -- anything that's a line of scrimmage or procedural error, what can we do different in terms of how we practice? So we've made a lot of changes there. Just being more disciplined in every phase of our operation, not just on the field, but in the classroom, in the community, in the complex, doing the little things, having more accountability and responsibility, and then obviously having great leadership. I think we've made a lot of changes. I'm pleased with the direction that we're going coming out of the spring in terms of we're cognizant of it. We know what we have to fix, and we also know the individuals that have created the majority of those. If that can't change, then, obviously, we have to make some changes to fix the problem. But there's no question it needs to be fixed.
Q. I actually wanted to kind of get an update on Gus' health and how he's doing after the spring game. I also wanted to get an update on Taylor Gadbois, both his health and there's been some reports on his status and eligibility for the season. Just wanted to see if I could find out about those two.
AL GOLDEN: Number one, the only two coming out of spring that had any procedures were McCord and Malcolm Lewis that both needed a scope, and both of them are doing great. Everybody else is fully integrated right now or will be integrated, in the case of Gadbois, Jenkins, by the end of summer, one. So that's good news. In terms of Taylor, as always, if there's anything else in terms of player's eligibility or anything like that, when we find out or when we can verify anything, we release it. So that's all I can say in terms of that. But Taylor will be fully integrated by summer one, it sounds like.
Q. How much do you expect Brad Kaaya to progress even more than he did last season, which obviously was a great one for him. And are you concerned about the young, inexperienced offensive line affecting his growth? I know they struggled somewhat during the spring game.
AL GOLDEN: Well, in terms of Brad, we have a long way to go, both Brad himself, but also as an offense, and Brad understands that. I think he's going to make a lot of progress in all the foundational things. He'll be smarter in terms of his comfort level with the offense and the players. He'll be in better condition than he was a year ago going into training camp. I think, obviously, it's hard to be a freshman quarterback that's also a leader. I think he'll make exceptional progress as a leader, not just of the offense, but one of the leaders of our team. And then as it relates to the offensive line, I think young and inexperienced, you know, I don't know if I share that. There's a lot of older guys on that O-line. Certainly not as experienced as John and Shane were, but there's a lot of guys there that have either started games or have been in the program for multiple years. And I'm excited about that group. I think that group is going to be a lunch pail group. I think they're going to have a great identity. Again, what direction they go remains to be seen as a unit. Will they become cohesive? Will they commune really well? Will they become a band of brothers? Will they possess a mental and physical toughness that we need? Again, that's what these next four months are for. So that's the challenge.
Q. Al, one other -- one follow is, other than Antonio Crawford, are there any other players who have transferred or are in the process of leaving the school for any reasons? Are there any players who are in the process of moving to Miami, including seniors you expect to graduate from other schools and come to you for their final season? AL
GOLDEN: Again, when it's official and verified, then we release it, but I don't anticipate either one of those situations. Again, it is this time of year. If a young man is unhappy with his playing time or that type of thing, it generally comes up this time of year or something else presents itself that those transitions occur. So if they do occur, we will notify you, and we'll go that way.
Q. Good afternoon. On the defensive side of the ball, you lost a couple of linebackers, couple of defensive linemen. Of how do you feel about the front seven in terms of potential placements this spring?
AL GOLDEN: It's a great challenge. Last year all of our nose guards were first year players. We redshirted (Jelani) Hamilton, and we played (Anthony) Moten, and Chad Thomas as a first year player, and Trent Harris as a first year player. So getting Hamilton and Earl Moore back off a redshirt year is going to help tremendously. We've added (Scott) Patchan, (Richard) McIntosh, (Kendrick) Norton, Demetrius Jackson to that group, as well as Al-Quadin Muhammad. So I'm excited about the front seven. I'm excited about the depth on the defensive line. What's a little bit more remains to be seen is our depth at linebacker. I think we need some guys to step up. Certainly, (Marques) Gayot, Jermaine Grace, Juwon Young, Charles Perry -- all of those guys will have great opportunities to step up and get into the mix, but, again, our front seven, I'm excited about, and we'll see who wants to get in that mix and get in the rotation there in the front seven.