Golden on injuries, Nebraska, & more

Read on to see what head coach Al Golden is saying about the team's injuries, preparing for Nebraska, and much more.

Opening Statement…
“We appreciate you coming out today. We’re excited. We just finished practice No. 1 for Nebraska. We know what kind of team we’re facing – a tough team, obviously, with a great leader in [Tommy] Armstrong. They have receivers with experience, a strong offensive line. On defense, it starts with their front seven. I think they’re really strong inside and their defensive ends are powerful. The linebackers are all big and can run. I think they’re getting there punter back, I think that’s a plus for them. Excellent punt returners, their tailback had a great game last week, he’s very shifty. I think their safeties are guys that are active and very experienced. We’re excited. We just finished day 1, and we’re getting ready to go here.”

On how he would evaluate the team’s tackling effort Friday at FAU…
“There’s no question about it, we tackled better in second half. I think the misses in the first half were explosive plays. The misses we had, they went for big ones. We hadn’t let up too many of that length in a while. That got our guys’ attention, and obviously we learned from it. We tackled really well in the second half, I thought. We didn’t miss too many in the second half.”

On the team’s running backs running out of the shotgun formation…
“Gus [Edwards] is more of a pistol [formation] runner or I-runner at 240 pounds. These guys are more suited to the pistol or shotgun, and I think that’s helped us. It has created some cutback lanes, and obviously you have to make those cuts to be able to do that. I think those guys are both doing it right now, and they’re both pressing the ball right now.”

On the status of sophomore wide receiver Braxton Berrios and junior wide receiver Stacy Coley
“It didn’t look today like [Braxton] was as far as we had hoped, but we still have two days. We’ll see where it is and we’ll make a determination tomorrow, probably tomorrow. Stacy looked better today.”

On the status of sophomore linebacker Juwon Young
“He looked great. Everyone else was good.”

On the team’s ‘honesty,’ and how common it is to have that in locker rooms…
“I think it takes a long time to get to that place, and now we have to keep it. We have to keep it when adversity strikes. It’s so easy to solve problems when, for instance on kickoff return, the left tackle comes off and says, ‘Coach, that was my guy.’ You say to yourself, ‘Do I have to change the system here or do I just need to block the guy?’

We were getting a lot of honesty and a lot of collaboration, not just at halftime but on the sideline. We were getting a lot of collaboration, where guys were saying, ‘Yeah I blocked down but he wiped across my face, and I got beat.” As a coach, you have to trust your players that they’re going to execute it. Or, if you’re playing a defense and it’s not working – everybody is in the right place but you’re getting beat - systematically you have to say, ‘We better get a safety down here,’ or ‘We have to move the linebackers over or change the front.’ It is vitally important and I think our guys learned a lot Saturday about that.”

On how important that honesty is to getting problems solved…
“It’s important. You cannot underestimate that. That was huge, to get that throughout the game, and to the leadership at halftime, just poise…everybody [was] talking, not yelling and creating a bunch of noise, just problem solving. We have good leaders, so that was good.”

On how fourth-down offense has evolved across college football…
“With our defense, as our defense has improved over the last 15 games, so has our ability to go for it on fourth. I don’t think there’s any question we have the utmost faith in our defense now – I think we were second other than Georgia Tech in the conference last year. We just have a lot of confidence in our guys. If it takes four downs, it takes four downs. They’re both money downs to us. If it takes two, that’s what we’ll do. We do need to catch the ball better on third down though, for sure.”

On how he would rate the team’s offensive tempo…
“The first game was hard, because we cut the quarters down [to 10 minutes]. I would like to see it to be a little more variable, but that’s just the way it worked out in the first game. [Against FAU] I think the tempo was good, obviously we possessed the ball well - I would like to possess the ball if we can, but not at the expense of scoring. I know we can do a better job when we do want to go fast, we can do a better job there. We were offsides. We had too many pre-snap penalties - that’s a big factor as well. We have to get that cleaned up.”

On if the team understands the significant of Miami – Nebraska matchup historically…
“Sure. We had so many guys that were there last year, so you know. The guys that were there know and understand the tradition of it, but none of that is going to help us prepare. I think for us, this team has been very consistent right now in terms of its preparation and just saying consistent, and methodical in just trying to get better every day. I thought we just had a good practice [today], so we just have to keep going, keep our head down and keep doing our thing.”

On what he has seen from the tight ends in practice in terms of pass-catching ability…
“As I said, we have to do a better job getting them the ball. They can catch it – they do a good job. Stan [Dobard] is the most versatile, because he can be in-line or do it down the field. Obviously Chris [Herndon] and David [Njoku] can get vertical, they’re both fast. I’d like to see them a little more active.”

On the combination of sophomore Joe Yearby and freshman Mark Walton at running back…
“They’re both unselfish guys, they’re both team players, they both love the University of Miami, they love the team. And they’re both competing right now. They really are. Run after contact, second effort, spinning on contact, pass protection, catching the ball out of the backfield - we’re asking them to do a lot. They’re doing it. They kind of just feed off each other…when one looks tired, the other comes in. Trayone Gray is making a push as well, and he’s going to continue to help us. I’m pleased with that group. They have a good edge about them, a good attitude, and they’re going to have to against this front seven. They’re going to have to run hard and break tackles.”


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