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Art Kehoe press conference (audio/transcript)

Here is the audio and transcript from today's press conference with offensive line coach Art Kehoe. 

ART KEHOE PRESS CONFERENCE

Opening statement: "I can't tell you how great it is to be back. It's unbelievable. My wife Diona and Madison and Jake, they’re so jacked up about being back. Coming home, and coming back to Miami, it’s a great thing. I'm just pumped up. My friend told me, a good friend of mine said, `Just tell them that you had a long haggling contract dispute with coach (Al) Golden and we finally agreed to another 27-year contract.' All right? How does that sound?

"This whole deal came through, and I started talking to Coach Golden and we kept it quiet for a while. Miami is a wonderful thing. And he just kept talking about his vision, and he kept talking about his plan for the University of Miami. It didn’t matter whether it was off season, recruiting, the way they practice, the way they go about their business. He got me so pumped up. That’s the whole deal. Coach Golden is a leader and the staff, I kept reading about them, and kept looking them up on the website, is a bunch of terrific guys. They have what it takes and we're going to win. I love Miami, I love the University of Miami and I wanted to come back, but Al Golden's vision, Al Golden’s plan for what we’re going to do here at Miami has got me over the top. And I want to thank Kirby Hocutt and Paul DiMare and Bernie Kosar – the people that picked this guy -- because you’ve got a winner. It all starts at the top, and he has a great plan.

"And I was born and raised in Philadelphia and I saw Temple football. Temple is a great school. But to say it mildly, they’ve struggled in football. And what he accomplished there, is just amazing. You’re going to find out, I think the best way to put it, is to say that the only variable between the University of Miami going back to the top is time. I don’t know how long it’s going to take, but it is going to get done under Al Golden.

"I’m excited. Jed Fisch, and our whole offensive staff, I love these guys. I love what we’re going to do. I love the organization. Before we’ve even completed our recruiting for this year, we’re already, and I just got in so I couldn’t help very much. Coach Golden told me not to screw any of the guys up. Just don’t try to mess up any recruiting. I think it’s great what’s going on in every facet for next year, for recruiting over the long haul. We’ll already on a bunch of projects, the plan he has is great.

"That’s all we talked about. I kept telling Diona – I said, Dee, I gotta get back on board. And I didn’t know really whether I was going to get the job. So I kind of unleashed Hurricane nation. I went out and called every coach I worked for, every coach I coached with, every player I played with, every player that I coached. I called every alumni, board of trustee, every person that was close to me in this whole environment at the University of Miami. And I think he got the message because the next day he called me and said, `Whoa, Art, stop it. It's a blitzkrieg,'

"So we have a good relationship and like I said, I don’t know how else to explain it if you’re not involved with what we’re doing, whether it concerns recruiting, off the field weightlifting, our classroom, the competitive atmosphere we’re going to have. I don’t know what our schedule is for next year, but someone was saying it could be early on a little slice of Virginia Tech and Florida State and Ohio State and Kansas State. And I say let’s get it on baby, because we’ve got to get ready.

"Other than that, I just want to tell you from my heart and soul, to be back in Miami is a wonderful thing. My family, my son is now 6-year-old Jake, and he asked Diona the other day, ‘Mom, could he play basketball and football for the first time. He says, ‘Do they have football and basketball down there in Miami.’ And she said, ‘no jake, they don’t have it.’

"He’s all gunned up, Madison is all gunned up. and the Kehoe family is very, very grateful to a lot of people. I am so grateful to a lot of people I have to talk to. I have to write a lot of letters as soon as I can catch a breath here, gotta make a lot of phone calls. They’re switching me over from my old cell phone to my new cell phone, computer to another computer. Nowadays you get a new job and you’ve got to be ITT involved and I’m way, way behind right now.

"It’s been kind of interesting because I think I had 85 text messages and 69 voicemails and I’m trying to get to them but it’s hard. The Cane Nation came forward for for Art Kehoe and I appreciate it."

Q: Anybody remotely associated with this place knows what this place meant to you for 27 years. Does this place mean as much to you know. Did the five years away wither that feeling at all?

"I always consider myself like a soldier, like a sergeant, a guy that’s in the trenches. But then I always considered myself very lucky to be under the coaches and the players we had. So many good teams and players and coaches. You get spoiled. But it never left me and it will never leave me. It was tough to deal with but coming back – I see Bobby Revilla in the equipment room and Andreu Swasey in the weightroom and Scott in the training room, and you know there's still remnants of what was [left behind]. But Coach Golden has brought in a nice staff, whether it’s operations or the coaches themselves and I know we have good academic support.

"These guys that just.. we were talking about it. I’m playing catch-up; I just got in this week and we have the National Signing Day on Wednesday and a lot of these guys, I’m looking at quick shots of film on them and trying to play catch-up and put it together and make calls so.. if you haven’t met their parents; if you haven’t been with their coaches, you know, you’re a little bit behind. And they’ve done a good job of playing catch-up. And for me, I’m just listening and learning about some of their theories. They have some great ideas on recruiting, too. I just like what’s going on. We’re actively going to seek out, whether it’s having junior days, having walk-on days, it’s things that, Miami being such a good private school and it’s so expensive, you wouldn’t think that would be a good approach for walk-ons, but until you put it in front of them you never know what kind of package can be worked on financially or whether they can handle it themselves.

"And there’s people out there and he was doing this because he was at Temple and he fought like crazy to get it over the top and now you put it at a place like this, and he knows.. you know this guy is fiercely competitive. I read that both him and Mark D’Onofrio were captains of their team at Penn State and they talked about a couple games we played against each other and man, they were great those Penn State games, and just to know what that’s about. I was captain here with jim burt helped me out with this job, and clem barbarino and don bailey helped me out. There are so many people that helped me. you talk about what it meant to me. I don’t know how 27 years playing and coaching and being a graduate assistant, and winning as much as we did, that you could possibly ever get it out of your system. And trust me it never left."

Talk about the process of how this job came about?

“As soon as coach Stoutland – and he’s done a good job. Everybody I’ve talked to around here talks about what a great job Jeff has done acquiring talent and coaching these kids. Everybody, in all areas. Because I’m trying to find out about my O-linemen. Ana gave me like playing cards so I write notes on the back because we’re limited with our meeting time and stuff. I’m getting to meet everybody but anyway, I met him because I heard that coach Stoutland was leaving. We got in touch with each other early and we kept it a secret which is hard to do nowadays and I was glad. I check that Footballscoop and everything. Nowadays with the social networking, it’s hard to keep any secrets.

"The first time I met him, I talked to him on the phone for 45 minutes the first time and I just hung the phone up and I look at Deiona (wife) and I said, ‘Wow. This guy, he’s got it.’ He wanted to grasp the tradition. That’s what his big thing was, ‘Art, man, oh my goodness. Five national titles. You guys played for about 11 of them and you guys had so many good players and so many good coaches come through here.’ He said, I’m so jacked about it. We have to get this and this and this. He just kept talking. I just said, ‘D, I have to get back on board that thing. We got to do whatever it takes.’ And that’s what we did.

"It’s funny. I got this little gash on my face here the night before we met in Greenwood, Miss. Paul Williams was recruiting a kid out there. I’m sorry I’m not allowed to…I’m sorry. Anyway, there was a guy in Greenwood that we were recruiting and he went and met with me there. The night before, I was playing some tag with my son Jake and he picked up like a heavy bottle and threw it at me and the bottle hit my cheek here. So I spent about nine hours in the emergency ward. Then I had to drive about 2 1/2 hours and I had this big band-aid gash on my face. I said, ‘C’mon coach, let’s get in on.’ He looked at me right in the eyes and said, ‘You know, I remember playing against you up in Charlottesville when I was the D-coordinator and he said we had a bunch of good players, guys that went to the NFL and he said my guys told me that you’re O-line got after them. It was by far the most physical line they had.' And I said, well that’s a good thing. And then we started talking. It was relentless.

"We were having lunch and it was just constant talking about Miami. What they’ve done, what they’ve accomplished, what we can do. What’s the plan. How we’re going to get this done. Boom. He has it and he’s going to get it done. I believe this is going to happen. It’s just a matter of time. I don’t even know what’s out there on the practice field. It doesn’t matter. We’ve got a leader and he’s got the goods and we’re going to win. And we have a heckuva staff and we’re going to find a way to win. I know what’s out there is probably Florida tough and ready. The combination of what he’s going to do and what his plan is and the people he has behind him is going to get this done.”

Have you seen Seantrel Henderson yet?

"Yes."

Do you have a sense of how physical this line can be?

“I’ve talked to the strength coaches because they have such a tight relationship. Victor and Andreu and they think the world of this bunch. Coach Golden said when I first met him that the offensive line was the strength of the team. And I said, well that’s good. It’s nice to come into a cupboard. I haven’t met them all individually. We had a little sit-down and I tried to tell them how we’re going to go about our business. I don’t know that they know yet. Not just me, but there’s a new sheriff in town and you better get on board because I know this guy is going to put it down and they better be ready to bite the apple. And if you’re not, you’re going to be left behind. I just believe that and I know that. That’s why I’m here. I’m so pumped up about it. Guys I’m working with, this whole offensive staff is terrific, man. They have great resumes.

"One thing he kept talking about was the continuity of the staff and I said, ‘Look, I’ve read about all these guys on the Internet. I went on a website and I brought them all up and they’re such a talented array of guys. I said the beautiful thing about football is it’s a constant learning environment. I don’t want to think of myself as old because I think I’m young. I might be the oldest guy on this staff but I want to learn from all these guys because they have so much to bring to the table. Jedd’s been around Dom Capers and Billick and Shanahan and, of course, Pete Carroll. And Brennan, man, he’s a young guy he has a wealthy of knowledge and experience and how can you do anything but learn. George McDonald and Terry Richardson, they’re unbelievable. They have unbelievable ties here. They worked for good people all over. It’s a good situation and we’re having a lot of fun already so I can tell we’re going to grind and it’s going to be a lot of hours but we’re going to have fun and we’re going to find a way to win and we’re going to get it across to our kids.”

Did you watch Miami play much over the last few years?

“Every chance I got but it’s hard sometimes to see them. Like those Thursday night games on ESPN. Sometimes you’re at the end of you’re work week and usually you’re working on tip sheets and scouting reports and reminders and stuff. But I couldn’t help it. I had to get a little touch of the ‘Canes.”

How much has the game changed on the o-line since you were here or is everything the same?

“For me, I got really confused. I don’t want to sound like a dummy or anything. In five months I went from Ole Miss to Lambeth University, an NAIA school, and then a guy got sick at Louisiana Tech, Petey Perot, and I went to Lousiana Tech. And then I was in the UFL. Every system is different. It’s like going from French to Italian to Spanish. The verbage is different for formations, for motions, for shifts, for fronts, for blitzes. I would be confused and going, ‘No, that’s that other system.’ Heck, when I went to Lousiana Tech I was already at Lambeth, helping out there line coach for Hugh Freeze. When I got to Louisiana Tech they handed me a picture of all their O-linemen and thank god I had a good graduate assistant that did a great job for me because they’re all sitting right there and they just handed me a playbook and in the middle of two-a-days you got to start coaching them. It’s a great experience. It’s good.

"But that part of it causes you a some confusion getting in different systems. All these guys are from different systems. We’re going to use Jedd’s system I’m sure and coach Golden’s with their mix. I’m anxious to find out. As soon as this recruiting breaks, we’re going to go into deep, hard think tanks and try to get this all resolved. It only matters what you can teach your players. We’re all teachers. So no matter how involved you get with formations and personnel groupings, you want to be able to teach each other the system and learn from each other and incorporate that into your system of teaching. Heck when I got to the UFL with coach Green under Mike Kryzcek that was a tough, West Coast…we didn’t have the resources and we were putting together a nice playbook…you just have to find a way to simplify constantly, condense and reduce and get it across to them so they can play aggressively.

"When we were talking, Jedd and I, I think that might have gotten this thing over the hump when I talked to Jedd. People that helped me were like Rob Chudzinski, who knew Jedd, and Mike McDaniel, whose like a young guru. He was a running backs coach with me. He was with the Houston Texans and the Denver Broncos as a quality control guy. He graduated from Yale and we were in the same system together. Those guys all called Jedd and Jedd had working relationships. Tony Wise, who was my mentor, also had a good working relationship with Jedd. When they called him up, they said…Here’s what I know. I might not know all about football and recruiting or be the best at either one of those, but to me it’s all about trust. And someway in this short time with coach Golden and coach Fisch, we had to develop some trust. And it helps with a guy like Rob Chudzinski and McDaniel and Tony Wise call Jedd. We just hit it off right away. He said, you know Art I have been in some systems too. And I have a lot of knowledge but what I’ve learned as a young coordinator is that throwing it all in their ain’t the way to do it. The way to do it is get your staff working together and put in a concise gameplan in their and eliminate as you go down so you can focus against a bunch of different looks on a few plays rather than a lot of plays. I like the way he’s going to package it with formations and motions. Like tony Wise said, blocking is blocking and tackling is tackling. Some of the drills I learned from him I still use. A lot of the teaching methods I use to.”

Did you say you talked to Jeff Stoutland?

"I have talked to Jeff. He's super busy. Coach Saban is probably a little bit busy. He called me back. I called him and I've known Jeff for a long time and wanted to talk to him about you know. It's going to come down to me working with my own players and developing my own ideas. But I want to have as much input as I can have going into that and learn about these guys. Evidently, from what I'm listening to, he's done a terrific job recruiting and acquiring talent and they're young. They're kind of fun. Vic and Andrew are saying they're awesome to work with in the weight room. And that's a big part of it. We're trying to change the mentality. It's going to be Al Golden's mentality. It's going to be his vision and his plan. All of us have to be on board. Some of the players I know that were here before or that were here, but some that I know through recruiting or whatever, touched base with them during different meals during recruiting I kind of pulled them off to the side and I go 'Hey, get everybody in on this. Don't miss the boat, don't try and rock the boat. Just get on board, understand the schedule, be early, work hard, do all the Cane kingdom was about.' It's about team, competing, whether its the classroom, whether its the weight room, whether its the film room. I want to create that same type of environment that Coach Golden is talking about in my room. That offensive line better know it's all about competition. The depth chart is etched in sand. Just because you earn a job you better keep that job. I can't tell you how happy I am to be here and how excited I am because I know we're going to win. I know it. Let's get there and we'll see it happen."

How valuable is that you have the institutional knowledge of what it's like when you go into Tallahassee? How valuable do you think that part of is going to be to this new staff?

"I think it will be invaluable and I think that's part of the reason he brought me back. Just from the other guys that I played with, that I coached, that came back here and wanted to meet coach Golden, they all feel the same way. This isn't something like Art's got a good relationship with the guy, everything is hunky-dory. This is a lot of people talking to Al Golden and he's bringing the same message over and over. Is it inputed yet? There's no way. It's not there. You're dealing with 17, 18, 19, 20-year old guys. They're gonna have to figure it out. And they will. Because this is a great place. It has a tradition of winning. They know. Micheal Barrow, there's other people here, and the whole athletic department is going to contribute to this. To win, you have to win as a team. To win the recruiting battles, it takes the whole university. To win on the field, it's a lot more than just the guys on that field. It takes everybody in this building. That's the other good thing. The guys coming in here saying 'God, we're geeked. We're at Miami.' We're coming from Temple and we're going to Miami and 'Wow.' He wants to learn and he wants to bring the old back. He's already talked to Melvin Bratton, Alonzo Highsmith and Michael Irvin about coming back and talking to his team. And he understands how this was built. He's definitely a student of the game.

"The first thing he said to me when we sat down. He looked at me. He has those ice blue eyes man you know. I'm going 'Wooh.' He looked me right in the eye and said 'Art, I'm walking down the field and I see you working in your individual period. What am I going to see?' I thought that was a heck of a question. I told him, 'First of all your going to see a prepared bunch of guys. We're in our meeting, we're going to discuss what we're covering that day. We're going to cover it with film. We're going to know every place, the where the why and when on that football field. We're in whatever area we're in. So they're going to be hustling and I"m going to be hustling to that next drill. And they're going to be sweating when they get to team periods. And they're going to be working and we're going to consume ourselves with effort on the field and preparation.' I said, 'That's what you're going to get from me.' I know he expects that out of everybody. We probably got a lot of things to work at here. What I've been hearing, what I've been seeing, what I've been listening to -- I like."

Have u allowed yourself to daydream what will be like going back to FSU this fall after u never thought u’d go back there again?

"I haven’t gotten to that point. I've been thinking about a lot of stuff but -- you know what’s funny? When we were let go in 2005, that night, I never talked to Florida State guys. I’ve seen them in high schools my whole life, Coach Bowden. I respect them immensely. I think we played them 28 times during my tenure and we were 17-11. And they were the most dynamic crazy football games. The heat -- I remember -- it’s crazy, those games are crazy. We could sit here for days if we’re going to talk about Florida State and Miami.

"I remember one of my last games, it was double 90s in the Orange Bowl – we just pulled it out with a wide right, maybe, I’m not sure – and I’m leaving and I see all the equipment guys with a gigantic push cart of hundreds of pounds of ice. We have 15 guys literally on the floor of the training room with IV bags coming out of their neck, everywhere. They’re in total cramp, total exhaustion. I don’t want to compare it to war, but it looks like a battlefield.

"They were coming back with the ice, and they said ‘you think this is bad? Go over there. they’re spread out all around the locker room. Guys haven’t taken their pants and pads off yet and it’s 35 minutes after the game. I’ve already showered.

"I think we could play them on the beach down here in Key Biscayne and get a couple hundred thousand (fans) for the game."

"But I remember the night we were let go, Bobby Bowden and Odell [Hagans] and Coach Amato all called me at my house. They said, ‘Bro, we just want you to know it a'int going to be the same.’ Odell Hagans, everytime we played them on either field, sometime during the warmup he would find me…and he would point at me like, ‘It’s on baby, get ready. Yes, it’ll be beautiful, it’ll be awesome. And they’re recruiting good and that’s another thing about coach Golden. He said, ‘Hey Art, I don’t like guys that are just going to go, ‘Well, he’s going to Florida State or he’s going to Florida.’ I said, ‘You won’t have that problem with me, man. I’m going to fight to the end.’” I can tell these guys are good at that, too. They’re scrambling because they got into it late, but they’re doing fine."

Before you started talking to Al, in the last 5 years or so, did you think this was a real possibility u’d be back at UM or just fantasy?

"Never. I never thought it would happen -- you get to come home. That’s what he said when he called. It’s a funny thing. I live in Taylor, Miss. Which is about six miles from the {Ole Miss] campus. And you’re really like in Mars. I get no bars on my phone. So I’ve been trying to chase jobs, and my office is the Subway at Walmart up in Oxford. And he called me and said, ‘Are you ready to come back to the family?’ And I screamed, I screamed. And I said, ‘Are you serious?’ He said, ‘I’m dead serious.’ And I screamed out my window. It was raining, cold, about 27 degrees. And I’m thinking this is awesome. I told him, I’m going to go home, kiss the kids and my wife and pack up and I’m going to drive. I’ll see tomorrow about 5 o’clock."

You drove?

"Yeah, I wanted to bring my stuff so I wouldn’t have to make a trip back and waste any time. I did it on no sleep, too, which is fun. But it was worth it. I was excited. He made it fun.

"And I can tell already – the first staff meeting, there’s a lot of preparation, a lot of grinding going on, but he makes it fun, too. We’re going to be around each other for 14, 15, 16 hours a day. U’re going to get tired of each other. So we have to have some fun. That’s a big part of it."

A lot of coaches move around every three, four years, you fortunate to been at UM almost three decades. How tough was the instability last five years on you and your family?

"Actually, we’ve been staying. I was the one that was moving. Dee probably liked that actually. We’ve been in Taylor, Miss. And it’s been really tough. I miss them, man. You go away for 5 months or 6 months and u miss a lot of their lives. Right now we’re probably going to have to go another 7 or 8 or 9 months. I’ll try to sneak up there a couple of times. But I’m anxious to get us all back together. It’s a terrific thing to come back to Miami and bring all of our family home."

Do you see similar traits between Golden and some of the great coaches at UM in the past?

"That’s a great question. It’s a weird combination of maybe Howard and Jimmy. I see some of that in there. I see some Butch in there. We were fortunate all of those coaches were really good. But I see maybe Howard and Jimmy in him. Howard always used to tell us about ‘This is the vision. This is where we’re going to be.’ [laughs] and it happened man. And it happened at a place where nothing like that ever happened before. He talked about it all the time in that strong monotone, very deliberate, never get excited, you’re out on the field, you’re sweating and he’s just pounding on you. Then he calls everybody up and he’d start talking about these visions. You start to listen and it just seeps in there. He gets into your head. And Jimmy was a mind-game guy, too. With Howard, it was always about where we’re going to be and how we’re going to get there. And with Jimmy, it was always about what he put on the wall in the weight room – positive mental attitude plus effort equals performance. And he talked about it all the time. He took each section of that and broke it down to little lectures. I could see a lot of that stuff in Al Golden. I’m really really looking forward to working for him and these coaches because I think we have a good bunch."

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