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Al Golden defends D'Onofrio, Phillip Dorsett's Twitter "naysayers'' and Stephen Morris comments

GOLDEN DEFENDS D’ONOFRIO

    Fans have been highly critical of defensive coordinator Mark D’Onofrio, whose Hurricanes are ranked near the bottom nationally of every defensive category. Golden was asked Tuesday if he sensed any frustration on D’Onofrio’s part.

   Golden: “Any frustration that he has on his part… because there’s no fan out there that can match his intensity or his dedication in trying to get his trade right. The last two years the same guy had two Top-20 defenses in terms of scoring defense. So, as angry as everybody is, they’re not watching it, they’re not living it everyday like he is.

    “As I say to him and the whole defensive staff, we’re moving the team forward. Just keep moving it forward. As I said to you guys before, it’s not like we’re hiding a bunch of fourth and fifth-year seniors on the scout-team field. Where are they? There are no fifth-year seniors, there are no fourth-year seniors – only a couple – and there are very few juniors.

    “The guys we’re playing with right now are fighting every day, they’re learning, but they’re learning under fire. I think you go to Parris Island before you go to war, right? They’re learning on the battle field. Just stay positive, man. Just keep moving forward. We’ll get there. I promise you we’ll get there.’’

    I checked the NCAA statistics again and D'Onofrio's and Golden's last season at Temple in 2010, the Owls finished 16th in scoring defense (19 points a game allowed) and 16th in total defense (317.6 ypg allowed). Last year, the Hurricanes, under D'Onofrio and Golden, finished 17th in scoring defense (20 ppg allowed) and 29th in pass defense (198 ypg allowed).

    D'Onofrio's rushing defense last year at UM was ranked 68th (161.9). His rushing defense at Temple in 2010 was ranked 47th (139.5).

DORSETT BRUSHES OFF “NAYSAYERS’’

   Receiver Phillip Dorsett spoke Tuesday about his critical drops Saturday at Notre Dame, saying he was “really excited to get back on the field’’ and catch balls again.

  “I’m still confident,’’ Dorsett said. “I had a bad game last week, I know. But I’m going out there and working hard everyday, and I know I should be able to have a great game this week.’’

   Dorsett later told reporters about “naysayers, people threatening’’ on Twitter, but didn’t elaborate on specifics.

   “I just look past it,’’ he said.

   When asked by The Miami Herald about the criticism he took from the public, Dorsett brushed it off, indicating that fans are fickle and that he didn’t pay much attention to it.

    Dorsett, known as @BrickByBrick_4 on Twitter, posted Sunday:  “I had a bad game, I didn’t play to my standard, but you better believe that will never happen again.. It’s going down next week #hungry.’’

    Another one of his Sunday Twitter posts: “Games like yesterday shows who really supports you through the ups and downs of this game.’’

STEPHEN MORRIS TELECONFERENCE

    This is Miami Herald intern R.J. Rico’s last week with us, but I’m sure you’ve noticed some of his stories the past few weeks. R.J. was on Stephen Morris’ teleconference today, and transcribed these comments:

   On North Carolina: “They’re a very fast defense. They’re very physical. They’re extremely well coached. They’ve done extremely well in the red zone, on third downs, and situational football. They’re a very well-coached team. They know their insides and outs. They play fast and get to the ball very fast. It will be a great challenge.’’

      On Notre Dame: “After a game like that you really just have to take the positives out of it. Obviously it wasn’t the type of game that we wanted to have. The biggest thing to do is to learn from the mistakes that we made and make sure that they don’t happen again. We had too many costly mistakes and that led to bad drives on offense that didn’t lead to points.”

     On Phillip Dorsett: “I just want him to have a great game. I want him to bounce back extremely strong. We’re just looking to get him started. I know that he’s going to be excited to go out there and be able to play again. That’s the best cure for a game like that – just going out there and letting loose and having fun. I think that’s what he needs. I’m going to be behind him no matter what. It’s a growing pain. He’s growing and he’s going to make his own mark.’’

 STEP RIGHT UP!

    Per UM: Due to President Barack Obama’s visit to the Miami campus, BankUnited Center ticket office will be closed to walk-up sales Thursday. Instead, fans interested in purchasing tickets that day can visit the Hecht Athletic Center. The Hecht’s ticket office will be open from 8:30 to 5 p.m. Thursday. If you’re interested in the $9 before 9 a.m. special, and it happens to be Thursday, visit the Hecht from 8:30-9 a.m. that day.

SUSAN MILLER DEGNAN

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