Al Golden's Duke Post-Game Quotes

Read on to see everything head coach Al Golden was saying immediately following his team's 12-point win over Duke Saturday night.

About his team’s defensive performance...
“We were [ranked] No. 18 in scoring defense our first year, and obviously encountered a lot. For four games this year, we played pretty good defense. One game, unacceptable clearly...starting with me. As I just told [the team], we were accountable from the top down. We had good leadership all week, they were determined to not let the season go that way. Obviously they grew up a lot today, they played hard, they had resiliency. We put them in lot a lot of tough situations given the offense’s inability to convert on third down and the turnovers. I’m proud of them.”

On the 4th & 19 touchdown pass conversion to Herb Waters...
“I didn’t think we could put [the ball] down. I communicated that before the third down play to [offensive coordinator] James [Coley] so we could have two shots at it. It happened to be a play we work on Thursdays. The kid made a great throw and obviously a great throw-and-catch there, good protection. It’s a calculated risk. You have to have some good fortune on it. I didn’t think the probability of getting the field goal down there [was good], with the wind and the rain and how wet the ball was. I thought it was the right call. We got fortunate there.”

On if having more energy on the sidelines was a focal point..
“It is. We’re trying to improve. I want them to enjoy it. I want them to play with energy. I want them to have fun. Like I said, we put them in some tough positions. Even at the end there with the two sudden changes, they came out and had a great look and just went about their business. We didn’t put anything new in. We played hard. We tackled better. As the game wore on, we got to the quarterback better, which said something about our conditioning. I was not satisfied with that early in the game, but I thought we tackled better and we must have ended up with a big number of pass break-ups.”

On the difficulty of the week on a personal level due to his family emergency...
“It was a tough deal. I’m not going to get into too much. My wife went in the hospital 5 a.m. on Saturday of the Nebraska game, and had some issues. We were fortunate it had a good ending, but it was a tough week. She was released Thursday afternoon. I think we’ll leave it at that. It was a tough week, I appreciate the team and coaches. I had to really lean on them, and they responded really well. I appreciate it.”

On how much his team’s performance was more satisfying...
“We didn’t change too much schematically. We executed better, we tackled better, we made them pay when we ran our pressures and our movements. From that standpoint, we went back to work. Everybody looked at the things that we need to do: first- and second-down efficiency, third-down efficiency. Third down on defense was markedly better... I don’t know if you could even use that word. Dramatically better than anything we saw last week. That helped them get off the field. My hat is off to the defensive staff, the leadership and all those guys to rally. The challenge was: who are we? Are we the three-game defense or the one-game defense? I think we’ve now added a fourth game - four versus one. And now we’re going to have a great challenge for us this week.”

On having seven different offensive players touch the ball in the game’s early stages...
“It was good, but we need to keep it going. Third down hurt us. We got out of rhythm. We have to look at it. We didn’t look like we had rhythm in the second quarter. Give them credit - they’re a mature team. They’ve obviously had a lot of success now in terms of winning. They don’t beat themselves. Between our penalties and turnovers, we were fortunate. It was good to get off to a good start. That’s good that Brad [Kaaya] got off to a good start. He ended up finishing well too, but in the second quarter, he wasn’t as good.”

On the 47-yard touchdown pass from Brad Kaaya to Joe Yearby...
“Joe just finished the play, to be honest with you. Joe wasn’t necessarily the first guy in the progression...in fact, I think he was the last guy in the progression. But he finished the route. He finished the route and Brad kept himself alive and had his eyes down the field. That was a big play there. It was just an effort play. He finished the route and got behind [the coverage]. Joe had a heck of a game.”

On what he has seen from sophomore Stacy Coley...
“We have to get him to hit it better on returns, I think that’s a fair criticism. It’s something we’re coaching. Have him be aggressive there and just trust it. [The drop] was unfortunate for him. He’ll bounce back. That would have been a big play right there. We had a chance to get 17 [points] on them quick. Stacy is going to be fine. He was hampered a couple of weeks ago. He played a little bit more last week, a little bit more this week. He’ll be ready to go this weekend for Georgia Tech.”

On the play of Duke Johnson...
“That’s what we need from him. His average was probably around six [yards per carry], but it just seemed he was getting five or six every time. I was waiting for the big one to pop. He was dealing with a little bit of a sprain, but I think he’ll be fine. I don’t know how much it affected him. He did it early in the game and kept fighting through it. I’m proud of him. He’s had a great look. 170 [yards] or 180 last week, 160 this week, maybe more than that with the receiving...he’s putting together good weeks for us.”

On the play of the team’s offensive line...
“They’ve grown up a lot since Louisville. They’ve played a lot better. As I said after the Louisville game, it was a function of guys trying to make a play or trying to do too much and not settling in and doing their job. I think right now they’re doing their job. We’re getting great leadership from Shane [McDermott] and Jon [Feliciano]. I think Ereck [Flowers] is playing really well. Danny [Isidora] has improved, Taylor [Gadbois] has been playing well, Kc [McDermott] was in the rotation and then [Nick] Linder came in and did a nice job. I was pleased with his effort tonight.”


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