Golden updates injuries & more

Read on to see what head coach Al Golden is saying a few days before the team takes on Virginia Tech in a big conference game.

Opening Statement…
“We just finished our first practice getting ready for Virginia Tech. We had a chance to really evaluate them the last two days, and they’re playing really well right now. They give you a lot of problems on defense, clearly I think they’re settling in in a lot of spots. They had some injuries early on. They really like the quarterback, I thought he did a great job for them the other night. They have some receivers stepping up and playing big, a trio of running backs, they like their tight ends, and of course the kicking game. It’ll be a great challenge in all three phases. It was a good first practice for us, long way to go.”

On the status of center Nick Linder, linebacker Demetrius Jackson and lineman Kendrick Norton
“[Nick] was close today, we held him out. I think he’ll be ready. Demetrius Jackson has a little cut on his foot that we’re dealing with, that’ll be kind of a day-to-day thing. I think [Kendrick[ will be okay. [He had[ a little bit of an ankle sprain, but he seemed good. We held him, Nick and Demetrius out today. I think they’ll be okay long-term.”

On how to keep the team moving after a disappointing loss to an in-state rival…
“It’s all forward-thinking. Our guys did a good job. Everyone in the building did a good job of coming in, evaluating ourselves and learning from it. I thought the leadership of the team did a great job of moving on. Since Sunday, all of our focus has been forward-thinking. I think when you watch Virginia Tech, and how they’re settling in now and making plays, I think that’s helped too. It has really caught our guys’ eye. I thought they came out with a good purpose today. I think they were challenged. It was a tough practice, but I thought they did a good job to fight [through]. I’m very pleased. They’re very forward-thinking right now, which is good.”

On why the team has played better after halftime…
“We have to do a better job overall. You can’t give up explosive plays like we did. Our guys came in and learned a lot from it. I think we’re constantly making adjustments throughout the game. We just have to do a better job from the start. Obviously they’re communicating and resolving issues at halftime. We have to continue to do that throughout the whole game, not just at the half.”

On the difference in having DC Mark D’Onofrio on the field instead of the coaching booth…
“We think it’s a positive. We just have to do the little things a little bit better than we did in that game. Look at the positives – third down, red zone, some of the things we did positive – and look at some of the things we didn’t do well, and focus on that and get it corrected.”

On having 20 total rushing yards against Florida State…
“As I said, give them credit. The way the game evolved, I made the decision to go that route. All of our focus right now is on the game plan for Virginia Tech and how we want to operate. That’s certainly an area we that need to do better this week, whether it’s play-calling, finding different running surfaces, calling something new, those are all in play as we go into Virginia Tech.”

On having to play Florida State and Clemson as Atlantic Division crossover opponents…
“I appreciate the question. That’s a philosophical question for people that make the schedules and do all that. From our standpoint, this is seven one-game seasons. That’s where we’re at. There’s 50 days left in this season, we have seven one-game seasons and from our standpoint, the only thing that matters is Virginia Tech. Our focus was good today, our preparation was good, and our focus was clearly on Virginia Tech. We had good energy, and we’re going to have to play really well. That’s the only thing that matters. At the end of the day, we have to control what we can control. The schedule is not one of those things.”

On the pressure on head college football coaches, given recent national developments…
“All I can do is speak for myself. I love our team. I love coaching at the University of Miami. I love coaching our players. They give me a lot of energy every day to come to work and enjoy it. From that standpoint, that’s where my focus is. I don’t worry about all that. I’m not an Internet guy, I don’t read newspapers or listen to the radio. My focus is on my 114 players, my staff and obviously my family at home. I don’t really have time for anything else. Trying to get our players to be the best they can be, trying to build a great team and program, that’s where my focus is. I don’t have time for anything else.”

On how he sees roles on the offensive line developing…
“We have to keep growing there. We have to keep growing and improving. We have to get deeper and play more people for more reps. It can’t just be a series here or there. We have to get more people into the game and stay fresher at the offensive line position…there’s no votes here. At the end of the day, they earn what they get. If they can earn the trust, eliminate their mental errors, play with discipline, not have line of scrimmage penalties, I think, from that standpoint, they can earn the job, just as anybody on that offensive line can. I would love to see some guys step up and say, ‘I’m better than these guys, and you can’t take me out of the game.’”

On how to correct batted balls by opposing defenders on the line of scrimmage…
“Moving forward for us, [we need to] drill the things we need to drill, irrespective of opponent. Getting defensive linemen’s’ hands down, attacking a little bit better from an offensive linemen standpoint…those were big plays. On the flipside of that, we’re not getting enough on our side. We have to get more balls knocked down. Those are some things that we’re working on.”


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