Coach Golden spoke to the media today, a day before the Canes begin preseason camp.
He's psyched, for sure. It really DOES seem like a new era at UM. Now, we'll see how the Canes respond.
> On the status of 6-8, 345-pound offensive tackle Seantrel Henderson, who will undergo back surgery:
Golden: "He is going to get surgery. There’s not a person walking the planet that knows what that’s going to mean. They won’t know until they actually do it. They won’t know what kind of recovery that’s going to be. And as in all these cases, if it looks like it’s going to be a long-term thing I will announce that, as we have with Shayon [Green] and several of the other players in the spring. But right now we don’t know what the extent of that actual pain or what they’re trying to relieve is. Hopefully we’ll get good news."
> We all were wondering about why exactly Eduardo Clements was moved back to RB from safety, where he was moved during the spring. Now we have a much clearer picture. Turns out that South Broward High star RB Kevin Grooms, who WILL be played at RB if he makes it to UM, is one of three incoming players with NCAA Clearinghouse issues.
Golden did not go into detail, other than to say Grooms, DT Corey King (West Boca High) and LB Antonio Kinard (Youngstown Ohio, Hargrave Military Academy) have NCAA Clearinghouse issues and he'll let us know if "it doesn't look favorable.''
> Golden's main message during fall camp: "Conditioning and unity.''
Can't go wrong there The conditioning part is huge, and will be key this season. And of course, unity is always important.
> What unit would you like to see the most improvement from?
"The quarterback position has to show the most improvement. Like many, I’m a firm believer that quarterback play really dictates the outcome of games for the most part. Our qb position has to be the most improved coming out of preseason camp and I also think our secondary has to be the most improved. We have some talent there. We’re inexperienced in certain areas but we have some maturity there, when you think of [Mike] Williams and [Lee] Chambers and JoJo [Nicolas] and of course the safeties. Our secondary as a unit, playing together and being cohesive and being confident with the defensive calls and not having any blown assignments will be critical for us."
> Will Jacory Harris and Stephen Morris have freedom to change plays, audibles, at line. What’s your philosophy?
"They will, they will, absolutely. You have to trust them to get us in the right look. It’s part of our system, so they will be doing more of that than they have been."
> Talk about you decision to move Eduardo Clements back to running back?
"For us it’s about getting the best players on the field. The coaches always rank the players on offense and defense and if a guy is not in the mix in a certain position or it looks like he can help us out at another position, and in Eduardo’s case, running back, kick returner, punt returner, special teams guy, all those things. It looks right now that his best chance to do that is at running back. Is that going to change during camp? I could change for a number of players. But our job as coaches is to get the best 22 on the field and we think right now that he has a better shot to impact this team and help this team on offense."
Between the qb competition, what’s the standards on which you’ll base your evaluation, what would you place the most emphasis on?
"Obviously completion percentage is critical. Interceptions – critical. Leadership, decision-making. All of those things will factor in, and they’ll be evaluated every day and as we start here. Stephen and Jacory will probably rotate series. It’s not like a scrimmage. In practice it’s segments. So, if we’re doing a seven-on-seven segment, Jacory may go with the ones and Stephen with the twos. And the next segment, if it’s a perimeter period they might just switch.
"They’ll both get ample opportunity to throw with the No. 1 receivers and we’re going to chart them everyday. We know what it needs to look like in terms of us improving, bringing the turnovers down, bringing our interceptions down and obviously making better decisions with the football most particularly in the red zone. If that doesn’t get fixed by one of them, that’s going to be an easy decision to make by us as a staff."
> Any one quarterback have an advantage going in? I think it’s a dead heat. I really do. And again I can say it publicly but I’ve also said it privately. There are people really close to me that say, ‘OK, now tell me the truth.’ And I said, ‘Here’s the truth. This is a dead heat and this will be decided here in the next 14, 15 days.’’’
Also, Golden said Shane McDermott and Tyler Horn "are in a big battle at center'' and Joel Figueroa -- "Figs'' -- "looks like he's really healthy. He'll have something to say at guard. And former guard Brandon [Washington] certainly looks like he has the feet to play in space and play tackle.''
>QB transfer Ryan Williams (from Memphis) has applied for an NCAA hardship waiver to play right away but Golden said he couldn't talk about it now and he'd let us know if the NCAA permits him to play this season. However, right now he is not eligible to play.
>Golden is adamant about the Hurricanes not getting excessive celebration penalties. This year if someone is celebrating as they approach the end zone with the ball -- en route to a touchdown -- the touchdown will be called back.
"It better not happen,'' Golden said. "It's very simple.''
--SUSAN MILLER DEGNAN