Golden believes Duke is NFL-ready

Read on to see what head coach Al Golden is saying about Duke Johnson, Clive Walford, how they're simulating Pittsburgh's running game this week in practice, and much more.

On how the team can move on:
Just keep it as normal as possible and think about Pitt. They have our attention. We have to focus on ourselves too. We’ll give them a break for Thanksgiving Dinner and then get right back to work.

On getting up for Pitt:
Records don’t mean anything. They’re excited about playing us and we have to play better football.

On Duke Johnson being ready for the NFL:
Oh yeah. He’s had a terrific year. He’s unselfish in pass protection. He’s catching the ball. If not for the injury he’d be a kick returner too. He’s playing at a high level. We didn’t possess the ball well enough to give him more chances the other night. We have to keep giving him his touches.

On Duke’s performance this season:
He’s chasing the all-time record. That’s a who’s who. His first year he was unable to get to the ACC Championship or the Bowl Game. Last year he missed six games. He’s done that in a short period of time here. He’s practicing hard. You can see him competing his tail off, that’s for sure.

On that decision-making process for him after the season:
That’s a process he and his mom will have to go through. We are focused on Pitt right now. There will come a time for that and he will have to learn the process and take the necessary steps but right now we’re focused on Pitt.

On Ryan Mays and David Njoku:
Really good. Mays is benefitting a great deal. He had a shoulder problem that wasn’t resolving. He has to keep buying in. Njoku is in the mid 230s. He will be over 50 by spring ball. He will get his first taste as a redzone route-runner and things like that in the spring.

On simulating Pitt’s excellent RB in practice this week:
Put Denzel over there (laughing). That’s a big man. He’s a good runner and can make you miss. They’re doing a great job scheming it.

On Clive Walford’s draft stock:
I don’t get into the draft stock. For us it’s getting them as good as they can be. Clive is consistent. You can check the boxes as we go along. He’s a better route-runner in space. He’s starting to run away from people now. He’s demonstrated that consistently. He’s gotten to become a better in-line blocker. He’s really maxing out right now.

On helping underclassmen make their decisions:
Just so I’m clear. They make a decision as a family. It’s our job to give them all the information that is available to us. Denzel has grown immeasurably. The other night was an indication. He was locked in and must continue doing that. He’ll have another opportunity. I think he’s grown and really helped himself. He plays two positions, plays special teams, and is strong. He’s done well for us.

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