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Golden: Bye week not necessarily a huge help before Ohio State

CORAL GABLES -- Bye weeks are usually seen as an advantage. A team gets an extra week to heal up and prepare for their next opponent.

Al Golden But according to UM coach Al Golden, that doesn't necessarily apply this week for his team, which hosts 15th-ranked Ohio State a week from Saturday.

UM has only been able to practice twice since arriving back in Coral Gables Tuesday morning. And Golden said the Buckeyes, who beat Akron 42-0 last week and host Toledo Saturday in Columbus, likely won't have to show much on offense or defense before playing the Canes. UM, meanwhile, according to Golden "had to show every card we had Monday night."

"Maybe if we had material, but we really don't have any material to go on," Golden said when asked if an extra week to prepare for the Buckeyes has helped. "We don't know what they're doing. They obviously have some suspensions they're trying to work through too. [So, the bye] I don't think it's as big a factor as you want it to be.

"We're not going to chase ghosts. We're just going to be fundamentally sound. Again, we have enough issues ourselves that we have to fix. That's our focus right now."

Golden originally had three practices lined up for his team this week following Monday night's loss at Maryland -- Thursday, Friday and Saturday. But he said he decided to scratch Saturday in part because he was pleased with Friday's practice and because he didn't want his team to practice "seven out of eight days or eight days out of nine."

"If we were going to play all those young guys again we would have needed tomorrow. But clearly, we have some relief with the guys returning," Golden said. "Hopefully we'll get some more with some injured guys being cleared to play -- [defensive back] Kacy Rodgers included. He was going to start on three special teams and had an injury two days before the game."

Of what he has been able to gleam from the Buckeyes, Golden said: "I'm starting to get a fix on who they are from a personnel standpoint and it's impressive. It's a combination of talent, speed and toughness. They're a rugged team. They're tough. They try to make it into one on one battles. I'm learning a lot more about them. We're seeing how they're developing this year in terms of personnel. I think we've changed more on offense and defense and special teams than they have and they will. But again, we had to show every card we had Monday night, playing an ACC game and I don't believe they've shown many cards at all at this juncture."


> With three returning starters coming back on defense for Ohio State, Golden said the only freshmen he expects to still be in the mix for playing time on defense are linemen Anthony Chickillo who "is fighting for a starting job right now, Olsen [Pierre], [Jalen] Grimble ... [and linebacker] Denzel Perryman [who] really showed up."

"He has a good approach," Golden said of Perryman. "I think he studies. When you ask him questions about the game plan on special teams he has the answers. I think the coaches on defense are confident he is a guy who prepares. When he was in there the other night he did a really good job for a first timer being out there. Those are the guys and there is a whole boatload on special teams that will continue to compete."

> Golden said the return of linebacker Sean Spence and defensive tackle Marcus Forston will be big for UM this week, especially in light of leadership "that was clearly absent in the [Maryland] game."

"I thought [safety] JoJo Nicolas did an excellent job. But that was clearly a big part [of what was missing]," Golden said. "Again you have to give Maryland credit. They knew we didn't have a lot of depth and really didn't have leadership and those were the two things they went after. They made us run side to side early in the game, chase the ball. They knew we didn't have many replacements and they made all the formations really difficult, exotic almost because they knew we didn't have the guys out there to get us in the right formation."

> Golden said there has been no update on the playing status of senior receiver Aldarius Johnson, who was suspended indefinitely according to UM for breaking team rules. Johnson's name no longer appears on UM's roster. It was reported he lied to NCAA investigators when they questioned him about his relationship with imprisoned and notorious former booster Nevin Shapiro. Johnson's mother said her son also broke team rules for posting a tasteless message on Twitter.

"Aldarius is going graduate in December. We're committed to make sure he finishes his education," Golden said. "Other than that, I don't know what the NCAA investigation is going to yield."

Safe to say, I'm not counting on Johnson being back this season.

> Tight end Blake Ayles (head injury) and defensive tackle Curtis Porter (finger) have not returned to practice yet according to Golden. At the moment, you would have to assume both are very questionable for Ohio State.

> Golden said the sub-standard play of UM's offensive line Monday "had a big impact on the game. "You can't keep getting penalties because you have to abort your running playaction game and end up being a drop back team. And that's really not who we are right now," Golden said. "We don't want to be that type of team. That's it. Hopefully, a lesson is learned. It's my job to get it fixed."

> Golden had high praise for both Allen Hurns and Tommy Streeter Friday and said freshmen Rashawn Scott and Phillip Dorsett "are making it hard right now" to keep them off the field.

"Hurns is in a different league right now because Hurns is in tremendous condition. He's a finisher. He's a really reliable player, very consistent," Golden said.

"Streeter has made tremendous progress. That was evident in the game. Not just catches, but tough catches in traffic. So, he's made a lot of progress. Now, he has go to develop -- they all have to develop -- the consistency and mental toughness and approach that Allen Hurns has. He is the model for us right now at wide receiver in terms of what we're looking for. He'll block. He'll clear it out when he's not getting the ball. When he does get the ball, he'll tuck it away. He's physical. He's not afraid to lay out for balls. We need more guys doing that. Streeter is going in the right direction. But I really think he needs to take the next step, push his threshold this week."