Golden talks before final scrimmage

The Hurricanes practiced again this morning in preparation for tomorrow's final preseason scrimmage. Read on to see what Al Golden is saying.

Coach Golden treats his players like equals by wearing a long sleeve, fleece undershirt and a nylon track suit during practice, under the morning sun, while his players are in full gear. He didn't even get to watch the Olympics, because of his dedication to camp.

Q: Where do you think you need to make improvements [on defense] or just the importance of being better on the run this year?
A: I think overall our strength is better upfront. We don't have the experience yet, especially inside. But, hopefully, we will be stronger and stout in the inside. I think Denzel, in the spring, moving into the middle is going to help us. Honestly, we need some guys to step up; Eddie Johnson, Gionni Paul and Thurston Armbrister. All those guys need to step up.

Q: Can you tell us your expectation for Chickillo in his second year?
A: I think Chick's going to have to make a big jump here. He's in good condition right now. He's a strong player. He needs to step up and be a playmaker, even more so than last year. We asked him to do a lot last year, but he needs to step up now and be a leader. He doesn't have to wait till his senior year to be a leader. There are sophomore leaders too, and we need him to do that.

Q: Chick came out in green today. Is it safe to say that he's good now?
A: I know you guys think that I sit back and talk to the trainers all day, but the reality is that they tell us who is clear and who's not. If [the players] progress through the individual portion then they start to play in the team.

Q: Yesterday you were talking about the players' efforts and how some of them are hitting walls. Can you talk to us about that?
A: That's a fact anywhere in camp right now, if you don't focus on yourself. I always tell the guys "look, Tiger Woods can't beat Phil Mickelson if he's always looking at Phil Mickelson's ball". You got to play your own ball and you can't worry about another guy's reps. When you get the opportunity to play on or you get the opportunity on special teams, you got to shine. You can't really worry about what's going on externally. I haven't watched T.V. in three weeks, so I heard there was an Olympics, but I don't know the medal count or anything. I hope we did well…But other than that we got to play our ball right now. We can't beat BC by worrying what they are doing. We got to beat BC about worrying about our part and executing our plan.

Q: You picked up five pretty high recruits from the Tampa Bay area. Can you talk about how they look and how important that area is?
A: It's very important. They've all looked good. Crawford is in the mix right now and [he's] doing a great job, really competitive. We knew he came out of a great program. Moore has been getting lots of reps, which is tremendous. Rayshawn Jenkins was with the first nickel yesterday at safety. We're getting reps there, and he's a good special teamer. Tyriq [McCord] has been getting a lot of reps. So, those guys, so far, are doing pretty good.

Q: What's the progress with the linebackers?
A: Thurston Armbrister is healthy. He's making a lot of progress. We need more help from Gionni and Jawand Blue. It seems like Eddie Johnson is starting to make progress. I thought Denzel had his best practice yesterday. We just need some of those other guys to continue to get better and step up. Certainly we need more Gionni. We got to get Jimmy a little bit healthier.

Q: How did the team respond to yesterday's two-a-day practice?
A: I thought they did a good job. We know it's not easy, but you got to develop a mental toughness and a discipline to execute, regardless of the circumstance. Circumstances aren't easy, but the guys have done a pretty good job with their health and staying hydrated and not sitting down in practice because of dehydration or needing IVs.

Q: What's the format for the scrimmage tomorrow and what are the particular points of the game that you're going to be looking at?
A: I'll be looking at it all. The previous scrimmage, just for you to know, was to put the ball on the goal line and get ten reps and then put the ball in short yardage and get ten reps and then put it in the plus territory…This is going to be more playing the game, what we are trying to teach them two weeks [before] BC is the substitution patterns. We got kind of an orange and white, if you will, like we did in the spring. Just so they can understand [to] go in and then come out. It's really for sideline control and obviously to get the team in tempo.

Q: We're in shorts out here sweating. You have a jacket zipped up all the way. How long do you keep that on during practice?
A: This is it, right here, every day. I just don't want to be sitting out there in khakis and say "hey, guys, this is not too bad", when they got eight lbs. of equipment on and they're sweating. I just want to make sure that we're all on the same page and protect myself from the sun.


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