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Al Golden's press conference transcript

Here is the audio and transcript from Al Golden's press conference Friday. It's 44 minutes long and covers a lot of recruiting, his Sun Bowl thoughts and much, much more: 

AL GOLDEN PRESS CONFERENCE (44 MINUTES)

COMPLETE TRANSCRIPT

Opening statement: "Thank you for coming out today. We really appreciate it. And obviously we appreciate your coverage of Miami football. It’s been a crazy three weeks for us, clearly with the  dead periods, the bowl game, shortened contact week this week and then obviously going into another dead period. We’ve been able to get a lot accomplished in a short period of time. I’m excited about our new staff additions. I’m excited about the staff members that have stayed on to continue with us – Micheal Barrow and Jeff Stoutland.

"We’re moving forward and I hope to have the whole staff completed by Tuesday morning at the latest – which, of course, we’re going into another dead period Sunday. We’ll be in the office all next week. We’ll use that time to finish this recruiting class and then also evaluate the next class. With that, that would just give you a quick overview of where we’re at as a football program and then I’ll open it up to the many questions you have forthcoming."

How difficult has recruiting been in the sense, negative recruiting about Miami, how difficult to both sell and battle back from what people are saying?
"I don’t know what they’re saying but I can tell you what we’re selling -- an incredible product. We’re selling the team with the most national championships in the last 30 years, the most first-round picks in the last 18 years, the No. 1 university in the state of Florida, a top-50 university in the country; an intimate setting which most power Division I programs don’t have in a 15,000-person campus. We are very much blessed to have kind of an insulated campus, if you will, a beautiful, picturesque campus but yet have access to the world right outside our doors; have access to a world-class city. There’s no shortage in what we have to sell here. What we have to get back to is communicating and building trust in our relationships with the high school community and our peers in all the high schools in South Florida, and as I said the night I was hired, supplement that with not only some of our roots up in the Northeast but also with Brennan [Carroll] and Jethro [Franklin] in both Texas and California; and we’ll do that. But our primary recruiting base is going to be here.

"In terms of what people are saying about us, they’re always going to say -- that’s recruiting. We choose to be a staff that doesn’t negative recruit. And that should be a show of strength, a sign of strength, a sign that you really believe in your product and you believe in what you’re going to do with obviously the opportunity that we have here in Miami."

How tough is it to get back the trust? Can you do it instantly? Does it take a while?
"I think, No. 1, your reputation with the student-athletes precedes you. So no matter where you’ve been you have a resume. And your resume with the student-athletes is by far the most important thing for both parents and coaches. And we’ve hired a staff that believes in developing relationships with the student athletes, with treating them fairly, with communicating with them on a daily basis and that’s what we built  a program on. That’s what we’re obviously going to build this program [on], and that’s how we’re going to change the culture here."

"I feel I’m fortunate to be at Miami at this time, because this is not like taking over some of the programs where there’s a transition where it’s two or three or four wins or five wins. This is a program that obviously won seven games but really had a chance to win two others in south florida and Virginia, so we could be, obviously, with the right kids in the right places, moving forward in this recruiting class and getting the team on all the same page. This doesn’t need to take a couple years to get this thing going. We want to get working on this on Jan. 18th."

What were your impressions of the Sun bowl? Did you leave there thinking there was a lot of work to do?
"Here’s how I left there: I left here thinking that the things we need to do are fixable.  We need to be a smarter, tougher, more disciplined and better conditioned team, and I didn’t see that. I didn’t see a team that executed with a high football IQ. I see a lot of  talent. I see kids with want-to. I saw a team that didn’t quit to be quite honest with you. had a goal-line stand and then finished the game, which means there’s a lot of pride in there and we’ve got to get it out.

"I discussed at the site that I’m not going to apologize for how we played, but at the same time I do want everybody to know that transitions are very difficult. And certainly that was a difficult transition because it was one of Miami’s own and just because of the circumstances of which I took over and Jeff was the interim head coach. So there were a lot of things going on.  But if you have those kinds of penalties in the game – especially the personal fouls – and you turn the ball over, you don’t have a chance to win.We’re going to create value in that game by not burying it in 2010, but rather by showing it to our players as a kind of a paradigm if you will of what we need to do and what needs to be fixed, because talent alone is not going to get it done.

"But there is talent here, so from that standpoint I’m excited. But we’ve got to be a far more disciplined team, we’ve got to be a better conditioned team and we’ve got to get back to our roots here a little bit, which means we’ve got to get hungry. To be quite honest with you, we’ve got to get back to being hungry, and I think that’s what we’re doing right now in the recruiting trail.

"And again, this is my assessment: we’ve kind of become a clam in the recruiting trail, which means we open up and let all the food rush in. We’re going to go back to being an eagle. We’re going to go back to being hunters, and knowing that we have a good product and knowing that we have a tremendous legacy, and knowing that we have the most players in the NFL and knowing we have something that no one else, including anybody in this state, can sell And that is a program that has the opportunity to win a national title in football, produce NFL players and have both a campus and world-class city at its disposal, which is very unique. And it’s obviously something that kids are looking to do in this day. In this wired age, kids are looking to be connected. We have no shortage of positive responses out there I can tell you right now.

"What has been a little bit difficult, and it’s more of a psychological factor I believe, is that the kids that were committed and then decommitted and then looked – those kids are really struggling with the fact that they committed to a former staff and they can’t get by that. But all the kids that are either a commitment at Michigan or a Stanford kid or a kid that’s not committed or even some of the juniors that we’re getting responses from, the brand is strong, and we’re excited about that. You can understand how it’s like you see your prom date five years after the prom and you think it’s going to be the way it is. It’s never going to be that way again. Some of those kids, it was in their mind that it was going to be a certain way, and it’s changed. And if they could ever get by that, that there was a staff change and really defend their decision to be part of this university and be part of this alumni and be part of this community, they would come here. But that’s part of the negative recruiting that some of you alluded to. People keep saying you committed to this coach or that coach. Well, it’s over, it’s 2010, so we’ll get by it."

As far as BCS schools, you have a coach at FSU in second year and same thing at USF, does that present any sort of opportunities?
"Sure it does. I don’t think there’s any question it does. But just understand one thing. They can’t survive without South Florida. Those schools that you mentioned, I’m not going to mention them but they can’t survive without South Florida. We’re very fortunate where we’re located and the type of football that is played down here. We’re not going to get them all. There are probably going to be 100 kids from down here alone. So we’ve got to make sure we get the right15 to 20 kids every year that match our core values, that understand what this tradition is all about, that want to get an education. That’s the one thing that amazes me. As you go around the country, most people don’t understand how good Randy and his staff and the commitment they made, and Kirby and his staff and the commitment that they’ve made from an academic standpoint – a 100-percent graduation rate a year ago, No. 7 overall in the APR, so there are a lot of things in terms of a foundation that are in place that we can build upon and we will do that."

Do you have a plan for the weight room?
"I’ve evaluated that and I’m sticking with the current staff. I really feel good about Coach Swasey and what he has down there right now. Obviously he has been here for a long time and we’re excited about him. [Associate SID] Chris [Freet] had made me aware that there were some rumblings about changes down there and everything. And like everything else in this organization, I evaluated and I will continue to evaluate but I’m very excited about the staff that is down there and the commitment they have toward student-athletes. I’m also excited about the interaction that I see between the student-athletes and them, and that shows me something. And again our approach is going to be different. Coach Swasey gets his marching orders from the head coach. Our approach is going to be different. And as I said multiple times, we’re going to get back to butch davis, Jimmy Johnson, the off season is not going to be badminton."

You said it's been a whirlwind the past three weeks with recruiting, but how have you dealt with team issues here? Guys leaving early for the NFL and possible transfers?
"You’ve got to do it all at once. Our team is going to be back the following weekend. We’ll have a team meeting prior to the start of school, and I’ll have a chance to sit down with every one of them. I’ve spoken to many of them. Many of them have come in after the bowl game to sit down with me, which was great. Many others have phoned. Even some parents Ive been able to stay in touch with. It’s been a little awkward in terms of not being able to just sit down and have a week where I can meet every player on the team and give him the time I want to, but we’ll do that. We’ve made a commitment for a long time of being a staff that communicates and makes sure that every kid has no gray area in their life and that they know where they stand. I do that three times a year with every player no matter how long I’ve been coaching. I sit down with every player three times a year. We’ll continue to make that commitment. It has been a challenge. I’m not going to say it hasn’t."

Can you talk about Brandon Harris' decision to leave early?
"Brandon Harris irrespective of what anybody in here thinks of his decision, you cannot fault somebody that makes a man decision, that doesn’t have to makie a decision because he did something illegal with an agent or anything like that. You’re talking about a guy who sat down with his family, got the information, made a decision, prayed on it, woke up the next day and came and saw me. That should give you an idea what kind of person he is. Brandon has a chance to just be an internship shy. He has agreed to stay here and finish his coursework and work out and get ready for the NFL, which I think is a great idea, and he just has an internship left. He’s a fine young man. We’re going to miss him, but he’ll always be part of our family. I tell them all, you go to The U or to college to get an education and to get a job. Congratulations you got a job."

There were rumors about Sean Spence and Marcus Forston possibly transferring or leaving early. Can you address those concerns?
"I don’t deal in the rumor business and I mean that respectfully. I’ve talked to Marcus, and Sean has talked to Coach D’Onofrio. If that’s something they choose to do, we’ll certainly evaluate it and make sure they get the information they need. We’re not going to prvent anybody from exploring that or making that decision."

How many scholarships do you expect to have -- 15?
"I think it’s going to be a little more. I don’t have a definitive number. We’re working thru that. Brandon puts that number up one more. There’s going ot be probably more than that when it’s all said and done. Honestly, it’s not as cut and dry as you think.We haven’t had kids coming in saying they want to transfer. I want to make sure we put that to bed. We have a lot of kids right now in this program that are excited about the direction, the energy and the organization moving forward."

Ryan Hill made a comment after the Sun Bowl about the players here being little boys, says u’ve got to weed out certain guys. How do you feel about that comment?
"I have a lot of respect for Ryan Hill and I don’t like to comment on something I wasn’t a part of. That would be tough for me to comment on. I will say this to you: I’ll challenge anybody that’s either an outgoing senior or senior or an upperclassman to make sure we handle that in house first. So if you're not prepared to go up in front of your peers and talk about that – and he may have, so that’s why I’m answer ing it the way I’m answering it. Certainly Ryan is one of our better players. He may have been a leader – I only saw three practices and then the game. But if that is an issue, I’m going to get to the bottom of it. Certainly, there’s going to be a price to pay in terms of wearing that U and putting on that uniform again moving forward. There has to be a greater commitment on the part of everybody and as coaches we have to lead by example."

Did you try to convince [defensive coordinator Mark] D’Onofrio to come here or leave it up to him solely to turn down Temple?
"When it comes our families and business, we really draw the line there. We talked briefly about the temple job and gave him the information he would need to make the decision. And that’s it. I gave him a hug and said ‘I’m going. This is a great opportunity for me and my family.’ And I said, ‘Mark, you know I would love to have you down there, but if u

want to be a head coach here I understand that and that’s not going to change our relationship. A little bit surprised [he came to MIA] but honored. And I understand it. Last night I got home at 3:30 and I was in here at 6:30 with a meeting. We all feel like if u’re going to be that passionate and work that hard, then we want to be at a school that feels the same way. And for all of you people to come in here and ask me questions about recruiting, that gives me a good idea that I’m in the right place, that the expectations are high. You want to be around a place that the expectations and challenge is to win championships. I think that’s what Mark saw. He saw that if he could take his intellect, his scheme, recruit the kids in south Florida and cultivate the kids that are here, I think he believes he can have one of the best defenses in the country."

You wanted former players to get more involved. Have they? And how do you see former players being involved move forward?
"First of all, it’s been overwhelming already, the number of former players who have reached out or dropped by. But really what we need them to do – we’re going to have an alumni function this spring – is to come back and fill up these rooms and be a part of our family. Some of them we would love to have them talk to our current players to make sure they understand…it’s such a microwave generation where everything is instant and they see ray lewis, ed reed or andre Johnson on a little soundbite or 20 second clip, but they don’t really see the work ethic those guys have and had when they were here, how much Ed Reed studies film. I’m a football fan and a coach so I’ve talked to many peers who have coached here and have been around those guys. Some of their workouts are legendary. Michael Irvin’s workouts are legendary. People want to choose to focus on ‘The playmaker’ and all that. That guy worked hard to be the kind of player he was. We have to get back to that. So I want to make sure the former players talk to our current players and that there’s a connection. I would love to have them come out to practice so our players understand the tempo we need to get. It’s been great. Just to see guys like Tony Fitzpatrick, who I watched growing up. He came up and said coach we’re behind you and support you. Or Dan Sileo. Any of these guys that have reached out to support the program. It feels good and there’s a sense of family there."

Who is your recruiting coordinator now that Aubrey Hill is gone?
"During that first two weeks, Mark [D'Onofrio] was spearheading it because I was doing so many other things organizationally from a staffing standpoint and human resources. Mark was spearheading that even when Aubrey was here. But Terry Richardson will be our Florida recruiting coordinator and Brennan Carroll will be our national recruiting coordinator. So we’ll have two. We’re looking to focus all of our energy here in South Florida. If we go out of state, it’s going to be for the best of the best and Brennan had done that in a similar capacity at SC. Now we’re fortunate to have him here."

[UM national recruiting coordinator] Brennan Carroll talked about this yesterday. How do you feel about recruiting kids who’re already committed elsewhere?
"I’m not real excited about doing that, to be honest with u. I don’t want to be sitting here a year from now having to do that. But there’s obviously a shakeup in some programs. There’s probably one or two kids on the Maryland or Pitt lists that we’re looking at, there’s more on the Michigan list and a couple of more even on the Stanford list – we don’t know how that’s going to shake out. Many of them, if not all of them, have agreed to take visits. And there are a lot of kids around the country still that are taking visits. It’s been incredible. We have 45 visits scheduled this month. The last couple of years, I don’t even think they got out of the 30s in terms of total visits. So there’s been a great response. We’ve got to make sure we get the right ones. We’ve got to get to know them as people. I’ve been fortunate to have been thru this a couple of times, going to BC after that scandal, going to Virginia after George Welsh was replaced by Al Groh, taking over Temple. I understand that sometimes the bloggers and the fans and the websites, they worry about every single guy that goes somewhere else. I’ve learned A. to not pay attention to any of them and B. most importantly, make sure the ones you get can play for you. Don’t worry about the herd effect of just recruiting guys because they have an offer from an SEC team or one of the big three in the state of Florida. It’s far more important to get somebody who matches your values, that wants to get an education, wants to be a part of your program, comes from a good family and can help you in your system. From that standpoint, we have a lot of poise right now. We’re not trying to make anybody’s Rivals list or anything like that. We want to make sure the 15, 16, 17 guys we get can play for us and that we don’t have any mistakes when we wake up on Aug. 8 and we’re doing training camp."

When will you start spring practice?
“What I’m going to try to do is, does anybody know when spring break is? March 10? I was going to try to get in three practices that week and then break for spring break then go basically on Tuesday, Thursday, Saturday schedule. And then the spring game is going to be that Saturday which I think is around (April) 15, 16. Right in there. A little bit later. Moving forward I want to make sure both coordinators and staff have a chance to get their systems in place including special teams. And I also want to insure that we have a real good 7-, 8-week period here where the guys can lift, get stronger and then go out there and get back to doing circuits and everything the way the Miami Hurricanes used to do.”

How much is doing that going to help you know what you have?
“It’s important that the first time we install a play is not the first day of spring ball. We’ll start to get a couple of hours a week prior to that we have a chance to meet with the kids and develop them from a football standpoint. So we want to make sure we do that. I’m sure there will be some position changes, I’m sure there will be some depth changes as we implement our systems. My philosophy has always been that the person who prepares and practices the hardest starts the game and the person that plays the best, finishes the game. It’s always been that way. The first phase of building a team is the offseason program and that starts Jan. 19. From Jan. 19 to the first day of spring ball, they will be evaluated on a daily basis. Whoever performs the best in that off season program is going to be a starter going into the spring. It’s up to them to hold onto that job. That’s going to create a lot of competition right there and that’s the only standard that we have – you’lll be measured on performance as we all are.”

Are you solid on that spring game date?
“Chris says absolutely not. I think we’re going to have everything in place by next week in terms of our staff.  I’ll actually be in here for the next 6 or 7 days which will feel weird, but I’ll be able to get you all those dates."

How difficult or easy has it been to attract assistant coaches?
“It’s easy. It’s easy. Wonderful place to live, climate, the tradition and the same thing we’re feeling now as we go on the road,  you get a sense as a coach that you want to be a part of that as well. Again, from that standpoint, it’s not hard. We’ve got some work to do. But that’s why we’re here.  I wouldn’t have had this opportunity if everything was perfect. There’s things we can fix, there’s things that are fixable and that’s what drives me every day. The fact that I’m at a place that you don’t have to worry about anything else. You don’t have to worry any jobs, any anything on the outside other than chasing a championship. Which is great. That’s what drives coaches to pick up the phone and say, ‘Coach, whatever position you have available, I want to be a part of it.”

How much has the recent moves among NFL staffs impacted your search?
“It has. It has.”

Have their been names that might have seemed unlikely that now seem more likely because they’re available?
“Correct. Is that tentative enough. There’s guys under contract, there’s guys in the playoffs, there’s all kinds of guys and really, we’re just trying to do it the right way. We’re going to do everything here the right way and we’re not going to cut corners and putting rumors out there and all those other things."

Do you envision the offensive coordinator being the quarterbacks coach?
“I do. That’s safe to say.”

You talked about the former commits struggling with a new staff and not being able to get that. Do you commit to a staff or a program?
"Here’s what I do believe; I believe that one of the biggest mistakes student-athleties make in the recruiting process is identifying with only one of the three aspects that you’ll encounter, that you’re seeking in a college football program – either football, academic or social. If only one of those is present, you’re in a lot of trouble. For instance, if you’re a great studen-athlete and you pick a school solely because of a stadium or because they promised you a jersey number or they promised you to start right away, the first time you turn your knee and you go back to the dorm and you don’t have anything in common with that place and then you go to class and you really don’t like the school as you wlak arouund the facility or campus, that’s when things can go south quickly.That’s when you see all those stories of guys leaving campuses, returning home and those types of things. You better evaluate academically, socially and athletically because you’re only in that stadium seven times a year and the other 359 days you better like where you’re at, you better like the school that you’re going to. The way I’m answering your question is, that people are important, I really believe that, but I’m a conduit to something that’s bigger than all of us. That’s the University of Miami and our football program. We just believe we have a way of communicating and recruiting from a culture and organization standpoint that’s going to help us get back to that.”

Are you recruiting more junior college players because of getting into the recruiting process late?
“A couple. Most particularly on defense because of the depth issues there. I would say that we’re looking at more than we normally would.”

How do you see the quarterback situation?
“I see it as 2011 and both young men I’ve already spoken with and both know it’s performance based now. I’m not saying it wasn’t prior to that. All I’m saying is that everyday they’re going to compete. I think Jacory maybe arguably his best season was the year he was competing with Marve. I think he knows now there’s going to be a competition but that’s not just isolated to the quarterback position. There’s going to be competition at every position. Those jerseys and those numbers are owned by the University of Miami and the former players that built this program and they better understand when they put on those numbers, what that represents and they better be ready to compete every day. Certainly that applies to the quarterback position as well. I’m excited to have two guys who are experienced at the quarterback position. I’m scared to depth as I go to sleep every night that we just don’t have the depth at cornerback that you need to get through a season. That’s something obviously that we’re trying to fix in the recruiting process right now.”

Is Spencer Whipple not coming back?
“No, I have every intention that Spencer Whipple is coming back. I was focusing on the two that played in the game.  Certainly Spencer is coming back as far as I know and we’re looking to add two quarterbacks in this recruiting cycle.”

Has your family settled in South Florida yet?
“You mean I’m a father and a husband too? We hope that everybody will be down here by Friday the 14th which is wonderful that they’ll be able to start school here, that we’ll have everybody together. They’re excited.. My wife’s excited. Hopefully from that standpoint, I don’t have to worry about that aspect of it. I’ll worry about these 105 here but not my three at home.”

Have there been any surprises you've encountered with this job being in South Florida?
“The one thing I can tell you – I know you guys sometimes live in the doom-and-gloom part of it – but you go out in the road now, it’s exciting. I mean kids are excited about the University of Miami football program and the opportunity to come here when it is a transition whether that means you’re part of this class of the next class, you have a chance to be on the ground floor. Obviously, everybody knows what the ceiling is here. The ceiling is the best that you can be. That’s the ceiling here. There’s a lot of kids that are looking at it as an opportunity. I know the negative recruiting and sometimes you guys have to write about the negative things, but the positivity when you go out to those high schools about kids who want to have an opportunity to come in and play during a transition where there usually is a little bit of attrition, where maybe the numbers are down, there’s going to be great opportunities both in this class and the following class to stake your claim to a position that might have been four or five-deep four years ago or four years from now, once we get it back to where we want to get it.”

Is being more of a celebrity something you have to get used to?
"It's a little new. My Burger King stop at midnight last night was a little unique. But again, it speaks to the power of the brand and the power of this university. Really, how respected how the university and the football program is. I want to make one point perfectly clear to everybody. A bad year or a couple years that fell short of our expectations is not going to erase the last 30 years. It's not going to do it and we won't let it do it. And we've made commitment to make sure we get this place back to where it needs to be. Certainly, that's a little unique from that standpoint. I'm living right, so I don't have anything to worry about."

What happened in Burger King?
"Nothing. The guy recognized me and I was flipping fries before you knew it [Laughter]"

Have you had a chance to watch all the games on tape and is that something you plan to do?
"No. We're looking forward to doing that. I don't even know if we'll be able to do it this week to be quite honest. We're really recruiting two classes right now. But we'll be real aggressive in the spring with our junior days and evaluating those young people. We'll have five camp dates that we'll get out to you here. There will be a little different approach to our camp, which obviously we think will be a good feeder for us and a good public service so to speak for the high school kids and youth kids in South Florida. But I probably won't even get to looking at that until February 3rd, 4th in that range."

From a talent standpoint is there a position group that stood out to you during the bowl practices?
"Yes. Offensive line. I think the offensive line looks the way a Miami offensive line should look. Again, I don't think we're satisfied anywhere with our depth.That's a position I think looks good. The running back situation obviously looks good and there are some other positions that look good. But there's not the depth we need on the second and third team and we need to create that with competition. We'll do that with recruiting with how we place the athletes here in the spring moving forward.

Do you have a special teams coordinator already?
"Yes. We're going to announce all this. But I'm going to announce it right now. Micheal Barrow is going to be our special teams coordinator. I'll assist him with that. Micheal has done a great job. He's approached me about it. I know he's excited about it. So, I'll assist in that aspect of the game as well. Cuz that's always been something that's fun for me. I get a chance to touch everybody on the team because everybody is a part of special teams."

You mentioned quarterback, but do you see kicker/punter and specialists as needs in recruiting?
"Can you wait until after my wife moves in to bring all that up? My goodness. I can't speak to specific prospects. But you guys can put it together. We feel like we're going to have a really good punter joining us. We have place kickers on our team right now that are looking to compete. But I'm also looking to add a kicker or a kicker/punter or field goal guy to that mix and really create the competition there to find somebody that is going to help us win some games. It's going to be like every position. Whether you're a walk-on or scholarship player, it's immaterial to me when we go on the practice field. Whoever practices the best is going to start. They'll be competition. So to answer your question, I am looking for a scholarship punter and kicker. We have a commitment from a punter right now. And I'm looking to get a commitment from a kicker."

With the Heat, Dolphins, South Beach, do you have a sense of what football means in South Florida?
"I think you know. When you get this rolling and back to where we need to be, I think the evidence has shown it can be pretty special. Again, you guys sound like the recruiters sometimes from Gainesville or Tallahassee, but I'm going to remind you: ' What did you just say? I can go to a Heat game. I can go to a beach? I can go to South Beach? I can do all that?' Well, so can the student athletes. That's the greatest selling point of this place. We can have a self-contained campus that is on the doorstep of one of the greatest cities in American. And again, that's something we have that's special."

Do you consider the 30-for-30 film (The U) a sales film for recruiting?
"Which part? [Laughter] I think if I slice it up, it will be good. It's like anything else. If they did a documentary on what we were doing in college, too, it wouldn't be pretty all the time either. All you guys that are laughing right now, you know what I'm talking about. The reality of it is, they had a passion for each other. They had an us versus the world mentality. They worked really hard. That's one of the things that's legendary. All the scouts that used to come through here and all the coaches that used to be here said the same thing: it's an incredible practice. And we have to get back to doing that. And they created that. There was a bond there we have to get back that we don't really have. There was a unity there, a cohesion, a commonality that maybe is not present right now that we're going to work on fixing. We'll get back to that. We'll get back to that. Maybe not all of it. We got kids that are graduating now and doing a great job in the community, but there are a lot of those elements we want to get back to."

Recruits have opened up their options, taking visits, high school All-Star games make it tougher as a coach?
"No. We're not one of the teams that's hiding kids out. I think if you recruit at a certain level. I've recruited at all different levels. Virginia. Temple. Penn State. Boston College. I've recruited at all different levels. If you're at one of those next level programs and you're recruiting a kid hoping that somebody doesn't come in and scoop somebody up in the last couple weeks, your worried about that. But for us, really, we just want to make sure we get the right guy. We have great guys visiting. We have national kids visiting. If kids were maybe involved with a Michigan or something like that, or kids that made it at these All-Star games. That's not really a worry for us."

Will Mark D'Onofrio be the associate head coach at UM like he was at Temple?
"I haven't made a decision on the rest of that right now. But certainly, he's capable of doing that. I just want to make sure once this whole thing is finished here we'll be able to release that early next week."

What have you been looking at in terms of the offensive coordinator?
"Just like I've been saying: we want a pro style offense, so I'm looking for a quarterback that fits that. Again, just watching Stanford the other night we want to get back to that, that kind of quarterback here at Miami. Certainly we feel like we have two coming back that can do those type of things. We're looking for a coordinator that believes first and foremost being a tough, physical football team. I think if you get to know me and my philosophy evolves here, I don't believe you can do anything without being tough and disciplined. So, we have to start eliminating the things that cause you to lose before we can start to win -- the penalties, the sacks, the turnovers, those type of things. So, we want to be a physical football team, we want to be a dynamic, shock team, playaction team. And obviously we want a guy that can stand in there with the offensive line we have and throw a three-step in a drop back setting. Obviously, we're asking the quarterback to do a lot but we want to go back to having year after year after year guys that fit the pro system, that want to be pro system quarterbacks and come in here and learn that as an apprentice as they move forward. That was a staple here for decades and we have to get back to that."

What was your reaction to Andrew Luck's decision to stay in school?
"I don't really know. God bless the kid. I think he made the decision for all the right reasons and he and his family and his education. Whatever he wanted to do. Better to see that than when we see a bunch of kids leave early and not go in the first or second round, which is not advisable either. I wish there was a little bit better way to do this. I don't know if the basketball motto isn't a little bit better, which I think if you don't get picked up, you can go back in. I don't know precisely. Maybe you guys know it better. It's tough. A lot of the NFL teams really aren't done with all the evaluations. And we're asking the kids to decide in the middle of January which is a little bit tricky."

What is your feeling [about leaving early for the NFL Draft] -- first or second round?
"Oh yeah. And again, we just had one at Temple that left and we thought he would. He'll start off as a second rounder, Muhammed Wilkerson. He declared I believe. He's a second rounder to start. In the defensive line, you have a chance to move up with a good combine and everything. If your not a first or second rounder, it's not worth coming out."

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offering weatherford would be a HUGE mistake not because of size or ability, but because of his off-field incidents (2 of them). FROM THE ST PETE TIMES:

Stevie "Bebe" Weatherford, a star junior quarterback at Land O'Lakes High, spent Friday night in a juvenile detention center in Hillsborough County, Gators head coach Matt Kitchie told the Times on Saturday.

Weatherford was charged with burglary of an unoccupied dwelling and grand theft, both felonies, according to a Hillsborough County Sheriff's Office report.

-----------------------------------------

The "situation" involved Weatherford getting into trouble in November for throwing around a bottle, which was confiscated and thrown away, in the school commons. Questions about the contents of the bottle, which was said to have contained alcohol, and the way Kitchie, Hatcher and Cook handled the situation led to their suspensions.


http://www.tampabay.com/hometeam/blog/matt-kitchie-officially-out-land-olakes-football-coach/7918/

http://www.tampabay.com/hometeam/blog/gators-qb-stevie-weatherford/4817/

yo manny stop beating off to Susan D Miller and update us on Ricardo and other stuff. geez.

Also what guy, teenager or otherwise has the nickname Bebe. Have some self respect kid. I wouldn't offer him for that fact alone.

If talking could win games Al Golden and crew would National Champs already...does this blow hard ever shut up?..enuff already

Well Shannon could not talk or win for that matter, so I'll take my chances with a guy who can talk and proven he can build a program into a winner. And as far as Weatherford is concerned, I could care less what the kid did. He's a kid that screwed up one time, big deal. As long as he has learned from his mistake, and can throw the ball to our team and not the others, I say go get him if he has brains and the skill set.

weatherfords stature does concern me though. he has no where near the build his brother drew had. he MIGHT weigh 180 and isnt anywhere close to what he's listed. he's like jacory in that area. except hes a few inches shorter.

i lived in the tampa area as well and saw him play firsthand. taking him is a risk and his hype is due in large part to his brother. i personally would look elsewhere for a quarterback but thats just me. theres a reason we're the only major school recruiting him.

Illuminati, those are good points. How is his arm strength and decision making in regards to Harris? He may be a late bloomer but I like U am concerned that he may be getting hype from being Drew's brother. I like that Nova kid and wonder what's going on with him and our recruiting of him. I know he wants to be a Cane but we haven't offered him yet.

well as far as his decision making... his competition is weak. so he gets away with throwing into coverage at times because of it. arm strength is decent. but to be honest, his brother drew was a better player. stephen very

much reminds me of his other older brother joe weatherford who was a former ucf commit before he transferred out to some d2 or d3 school.

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