Q&A with Al Golden

Q&A with Al Golden

Read on to see what head coach Al Golden is saying a few days before the team's third game of the season.

COACH GOLDEN: We're three practices in and have one more left for Savannah State, and we're coming off a buy week, so we had a chance to get some of the older guys healed up and some of the younger guys, really push them and bring them along. Excited about the way we're practicing. We made a lot of progress this week, and hopefully we'll play fast and be aggressive and come out with a good frame of mind and ready to attack on Saturday night at 7:00.

Q. Going back and watching the Florida game, a second, third, maybe even a fourth time, a guy that really stood out was Shayon Green along with Denzel Perryman and Anthony Chickillo. They all played very well. Can you talk about Green; he's a little bit underrated for most fans around the country.
COACH GOLDEN: Well, Shayon is strong. He's explosive at the point of attack. He can hold the point of attack. He plays with a great motor, so he not only is aggressive at the point of attack, but he makes a lot of plays on the backside and tracks the ball down on the backside. Again, very unheralded player, one of our captains, one of our leaders, and also a guy that, as I said, is strong, has got strong hands, heavy hands at the point of attack, yet plays with a high motor. So very pleased with his development for sure.

Q. You're favored by 60 points in this game. Are you damned if you score big and damned if you don't score enough?
COACH GOLDEN: You know, I just want our guys to play well. I want us to execute well. I want us to fix the things we've been working on, some of them that you guys are aware of. But there's innumerable things that we're trying to fix right now that nobody is aware that they're even issues yet, and we're trying to get them fixed before they get exposed. I didn't worry about the spread or anything like that a week ago when we played Florida two weeks ago. We didn't worry about the other team. We trusted the process. We prepared. We made the week about us, and to be honest with you, this week is no different. We've had a good week so far. We've got to finish it up tomorrow, and then Friday with our walk-throughs and the mental part of it. But I like where we're at right now, and hopefully we have a whole organization right now that's not worrying about spreads.

Q. When you're coaching, though, in the middle of a game, is there a point, I'm just wondering from your experience, that you have to try to hold back? When you're playing a team and let's say you are winning big, can you control that if young players get their chance to compete and make big plays? What's that like for a coach?
COACH GOLDEN: Again, I don't think you're trying to hold back any -- first of all, it's an unforgiving game if you try to hold back. You've got to be locked in as a player. You've got to be locked in as a unit. You've got to be locked in as a position group, and then ultimately as a team. Everybody has got to have t he right frame of mind. You've got to go out and you've got to play fast. If things go well and we start to make progress in those areas that you're talking about, then we'll adjust as we go. But we're not going in here with plan B, plan C, plan D, we're going in with plan A and what we need to do to play well. We have a long way to go as a team. Everybody wants to talk about two weeks ago, but honestly I hope we're 13 days better than that by the time we go on the field tomorrow. I hope we're 12, 13 days better than we were when we played Florida, and the only way to find that out is Saturday night.

Q. You just mentioned the Florida game. How much optimism and confidence did the win there generate for the team and the program going forward?
COACH GOLDEN: Well, I mean, you can't understate that. I think obviously it was a big win for our guys, and the way we did it was equally as rewarding because we stood toe to toe. We won on defense. We took some punches and counter-punched, and like I said, we had a quiet confidence and a very matter-of-fact preparation going into that game. We didn't really worry about the opponent. I think hopefully our guys gleaned a lot from that. We'll learn and move forward. But that's in the rear view mirror now. We've got a long way to go. We've got three and a half months of football, and hopefully our guys will continue to get visit our archives at asapsports.com better every day.

Q. I just wanted to ask you, there is a Penn State connection on the other side. Earnest Wilson, their coach, coached at Penn State under Joe. One of their young assistants was also a Penn State player. Both of them mentioned when I talked to them that they'd like to get the chance to network and things like that. Do you anticipate the chance of giving them that opportunity?
COACH GOLDEN: I'm sorry, I missed the question. You said the opportunity to do what?

Q. To meet them and network as a coach. They mentioned that they might want to try to see what they can learn from you and Mark.
COACH GOLDEN: Oh, no, I mean, I welcome that any time. I don't think there's any question. Obviously it w on't be Saturday night. I don't want to be mentoring anybody Saturday night. But I think clearly we're open to anybody. Our doors are open all spring. We have guys that come and work the camp from the FCS all June. Again, I think you always have that opportunity. But again, I just hope you understand that there's so many different layers involved in this game of things that we need to improve and prepare on that I'm really not concerned about that right now, just trying to get the team better.

Q. My question is basically with this prolonged investigation, with the distractions, how pleased are you so far with your team's play this season?
COACH GOLDEN: You know, again, I'm proud of what we've accomplished so far, but in terms of being pleased, I mean, with our play, we have a long way to go. You know what I mean? Obviously we've played two and we've won two. They've had a great frame of mind in training camp and then a great frame of mind in the bye week. They're working really hard. I'm happy about that. I'm pleased with that. But in terms of what we have to do as a team, and when you really look at it, we have everything in front of us. So it's really important that we leave those two behind us and really get moving forward. But again, I'm proud of -- what I am proud of is all the guys that stood with us during this tough time. They had a chance to punch through and see the sun a little bit against Florida, so I'm happy for those guys that really stood by us through this whole ordeal.

Q. I'm going to use some of those quotes about Savannah State for this VMI-Virginia game I'm co vering, but seriously, I see on the Miami release that this is Miami's first top 25 appearance during your tenure. Obviously you've had a lot of experience with the top 25 as a player and as assistant coach, et cetera. Does this mean anything to you? Is this any kind of little milestone?
COACH GOLDEN: No, I know you know me well enough I don't really worry about those things, and I can promise you as a staff and as an organization we haven't discussed it one time. We're trying to build something here, and it's just step by step. We're trying to do it, and the first step really for us is going to be get closure on this NCAA deal and then we can have a chance to move forward. There's no question that being in the top 25 and having a significant win like we did is great for the program and we'll build on that, but I was pleased with everybody's mindset after the Florida game, that we just went right back to work. They know that everything is in front of them; we really haven't achieved anything yet.

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