Hurricanes football coach Al Golden spoke to the media today for the first time since the spring game March 28.
The news was minimal, but here goes:
When asked for an update on running back Gus Edwards' health (if you recall, he left the spring game early with a left-shoulder injury and was seen wearing a sling on UM Pro Timing Day on April 1), Golden completely avoided talking about Edwards. But he did talk about a couple other players.
...wanted to get an update on Gus’ health and how he’s doing since the spring game...
Golden: "The only two coming out of the spring that had any procedures were [linebacker Tyriq] McCord and [receiver] Malcolm Lewis. They both needed a scope and both of them are doing great. Everybody else is fully integrated right now or will be integrated in the case of [offensive lineman Taylor] Gadbois, [Safety Rayshawn] Jenkins, you know, by summer 1 [session]."
...also wanted to get an update on Taylor Gadbois, both his health and there have been some reports on his status and eligibility for the season. Any news?
Golden: "In terms of Taylor, as always, if there is anything else in terms of the players’ eligibility or anything like that, when we find out or when we can verify anything we release it. So that’s all I can say in terms of that. But Taylor will be fully integrated by Summer I it sounds like."
One of the two questions I asked: Other than Antonio Crawford, are there any players that have transferred or are in the process of leaving school for any reason? Are there any players who are in the process of transferring to Miami, including any seniors you expect will be graduated from other schools and come to UM for their final season?
Golden: "Again, with those cases all the time, when it's official and verified, then we will release it. But I don't anticipate either one of those situations. But again, it is this time of year. If a young man is unhappy with his playing time or that type of thing it generally comes up this time of year or something else presents itself that those transitions occur. If they do occur we will notify you and go that way."
Life after Duke Johnson?
Golden: “I think it’s a great challenge for our guys. Gus Edwards had a really good spring. He’s got to continue to show the responsibility and accountability to be that guy. I think Joe Yearby is also a guy that’s competing for that, although he’s markedly different than Gus. Trayone Gray, Mark Walton and Walter Tucker will also be in that battle come the summer. Again, I’m anxious to see how it plays out. I’m happy with the direction that group is going, but obviously, they have a great challenge and hopefully they have something to prove here over the next four months.”
Staff kind of looked at the season moving forward, knowing you don’t have a weapon like Duke. What have you kind of done throughout the spring to make up for that?
Golden: “We really haven’t changed who we are, philosophically. We’re very excited about Gus and Joe and Trayone Gray is very talented. He’s still learning the position but very talented. Mark Walton is certainly a talented young man coming in. So, we’re going to have the guys there. It may not be just one, it may be more of getting several guys the same amount of touches. But again, if one of those guys separates themselves as Duke did, then he’ll get the majority of the touches. But right now, we’re still in that phase of waiting to see one of them break out. If not, we’ll do it by committee. Either way, we’re fine with it. We’re excited about the direction that group is going.”
You’ve spoken several times about your unhappiness with the penalties. Do you assess it from a coaching standpoint any differently now. Have you identified any kind of root cause? How do you work on this problem with this particular group?
Note. I just looked up that the Canes ranked 105th of 125 teams in the NCAA ranked for "fewest penalties" (93) and "fewest penalty yards per game (63.6).''
Golden: "I think we have worked on it in a number of ways. No. 1 identifying if there’s an individual that’s causing the majority of the penalties, and really drill down and make sure that individual understands the impact that that has on the game, look at the teaching mechanics of where the penalties are showing up and what can we do better – in other words line of scrimmage, anything that’s a line of scrimmage or procedural error; what can we do different about how we practice and we’ve made a lot of changes there; being more disciplined in every phase of our operation, not just on the field but in the classroom, in the community, in the complex, doing the little things, having more accountability and responsibility and then obviously having great leadership.
"I think we’ve made a lot of changes. I’m pleased with the direction we’re going coming out of the spring in terms of we’re cognizant of it. We know what we have to fix and we also know the individuals that have created the majority of those. If that can’t change then obviously we have to make some changes to fix the problem. But there’s no question it needs to be fixed."
More to come with my online story.
SUSAN MILLER DEGNAN