CORAL GABLES -- After a summer of "grinding" and "bonding," the Miami Hurricanes opened fall camp Saturday morning with what coach Al Golden could best describe as "a sense of urgency in the building."
"We have to get to the point we're physically and mentally tough. We have to be smart, execute at a high level in practice. You guys know where we're at with our penalties (119th in NCAA) and turnovers (117th), last in red zone efficiency. We have to get that fixed. We really want to come together as a team the next 22 days."
The Hurricanes, who spent the first of 22 consecutive nights together at a team hotel in Coconut Grove Friday, didn't arrive to Saturday's practice on a team bus. Players drove back to campus together in cars according to running back Eduardo Clements, all part of Golden's plan to continue building unity among teammates.
"He's all about unity and everybody coming together. He feels like if we're at a hotel and one of us is driving, everybody should get in," said Clements, who got a ride from [defensive linemen] Luther Robinson and Adewale Ojomo.
"Right now, we all like it. Until somebody misses practice. [Golden] said if it becomes a problem, then he'll get shuttles. But right now, everything we've done as a team since the spring, everybody got there on their own."
Golden, who had his players participate in team scavenger hunts, game nights and bowling nights over the summer to build unity, said he thinks having coaches and players stay together during camp will beneficial in the end.
"It's one night in the hotel so far, but the kids - everyone together there having snacks, doing things we haven't done together, studying the playbook, being with a roommate that maybe they don't know a lot about - those are all things that this program at this time needs," Golden said. "Moving forward I don't know, but right now we need that."
Clements said something else Golden has started at UM is a mentoring program for freshmen. Several veterans, Clements said, have been paired with freshmen who they are now responsible for getting to meetings on time and getting settled at UM.
"I have to take a freshman, somebody who doesn't know anything, get to know them, take them around, make sure they're get to meetings on time," said Clements, who is paired with freshman linebacker Denzel Perryman. "In the meetings, [Golden] will call on us, tell us to stand up and [ask] us what we know about your mentees. It's supposed to last all year."
> Golden said the first day his team will begin full contact in pads is Wednesday.
CLEMENTS HAPPY TO BE BACK AT RUNNING BACK: Clements (5-11, 190) said he was more than happy to get a phone call from running backs coach Terry Richardson on Monday, asking him if he would like to switch back to offense.
"Coach [Richardson] called me after a math test [Monday] asked me, 'How much do I want to play running back?," Clements said. "I said, 'I'll do anything for the team.' He told me 'Just come upstairs, get my playbook and be ready.'
Clements, who ran for 32 yards on eight carries last season as a true freshman, was moved to safety in the spring by coaches. But with incoming freshman tailback Kevin Grooms dealing with NCAA Clearinghouse issues (and Storm Johnson transferring to UCF over the summer), there was a need for added depth at running back.
"I was happy in the secondary," Clements said. "But I'm very happy with this move. I felt like coming into college I was a running back and to be moved to another position, I wasn't really with that. But right now, I'm very happy with my position."
Clements hopes to show coaches he deserves playing time along with Mike James and Lamar Miller. But Clements said right now he's at the bottom of the depth chart and has a lot of ground to make up.
"Lamar Miller, Mike James are great backs, and me being behind them to push them will make them even greater backs," Clements said. "But right now I'm starting from scratch. I'm taking that as a great thing. I'm taking that as I need to work and get better. I have to work my back way up."
> Miller told ESPN this summer that he expects to average 150 yards every 10 carries. Asked what he would average per 10 carries, James said: "I'll probably be right behind him at 135 [yards]."
SOME INTERVIEWS FROM THIS MORNING, FILMED BY HURRICANESPORTS.COM