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3 posts from January 11, 2013

January 11, 2013

Golden talks Cristobal hire, recruiting, Gionni Paul, NCAA cloud

UM coach Al Golden spoke with WQAM's Joe Rose Friday morning on a number of subjects including how he was one of the first people to call Mario Cristobal the day he was fired from FIU last month.

""My first thought was 'How did he get let go? Look at the Colts. Any coach is a quarterback away from having that type of year," said Golden, who said he was recruiting in New Jersey when he first heard the news. "I thought he deserved an opportunity to continue despite not performing up to his standards."

Golden didn't have a job to offer Cristobal at first, but one became open when former receivers coach George McDonald left for Arkansas about two weeks late. Golden told Rose he interviewed some other candidates, but "ultimately came back to Mario."

"The one thing he brings right off the bat is head coaching experience," Golden said before making the point that offensive coordinator Jedd Fisch will still oversee the offense and make play calls. "Mario is somebody I can count on for some of the ancillary head coaching things and see the big picture a little bit better. His expertise as a tight end coach; o-line coach; a guy that has coached many positions and cultivated talent and recruited talent in this are was too good a package to pass up."

Ultimately, Cristobal should help UM out immensely with recruiting Golden said -- from the northeast during his time at Rutgers to South Florida.

"We're kind of kindred spirits," Golden said. We both took over programs that were absolutely abysmal and kind of turned them around. We have mutual respect from the outside..."

"I didn't know what direction he wanted to go in his career, but when I knew he wanted to be a part of the University of Miami and obviously the love he has for this place and the passion he's going to bring, I just think we improved our football program and our coaching staff yesterday."

> Golden said he's excited about the job UM has done in recruiting thus far alluded to how the program is waiting on a few top local prospects to make a late decision before National Signing Day.

There's a curse and blessing about recruiting in South Florida. The blessing is a lot of the high-end talent is here. The curse is that a lot of guys don't decide until late because they are so highly sought after... You got to be patient and we've done that I believe. I think we've demonstrated to a lot of young men that we're willing to wait for them. We're committed to them and their high school coaches. I think we're going to finish strong here."

> As for linebacker and third-leading tackler Gionni Paul, who mutually parted ways with the program last week, Golden said: "It wasn't going in the right direction. We've decided a change would be best. Right now we're trying to find Gionni a new home and get a fresh start and move forward."

Golden said he doesn't have a lot of rules in place and doesn't want to "micro manage."

"It's always the two percent, three percent that take up the headlines," Golden said. "I walk into a team meeting room Sunday night and there 90 guys there that don't know what the rules are because they do things right. If you got to continue to micro manage those five to eight guys, if you can't trust them, that leads to total control. I don't want to do that to Stephen Morris, Brandon Linder, Allen Hurns, Phillip Dorsett, Anthony Chickillo. I don't want to do that because guys can't follow basic principals."

> Golden said running back Duke Johnson will be joining receiver Phillip Dorsett on UM's track team Monday. Golden said he would eventually like to "see a 4x100 relay team made up of Miami Hurricanes." He alluded to a few recruits in his next class who he thinks will also run track.

Golden said football players who participate in track will continue to lift and participate in drills. "But if they can help our track team out and make us faster or more explosive, I'm all for it," Golden said.

> Golden said he has no idea when the NCAA will finally send its letter of allegations, but feels the program has acted like "a beacon in terms of how you should operate if something occurs. Hopefully we'll be a model of how you self impose and how you make restitution to move a program forward."

"The way I feel is we're having a junior day on Sunday and having some kids coming down. That's going to be the third class I've had to deal with this. People want to talk about probation. We've been on probation. This has been probation, this has been recruiting probation; PR probation. I think we've exhibited class in terms of being open and honest and reaching resolution. We're ready to move on, there's no question about it. We've got great kids on this team. Our graduation rates were tied for first in the ACC."

> Golden said he's done a lot of out of state recruiting in the past and will close in on Florida, specifically South Florida over the final three weeks leading up to National Signing Day.

Cristobal ready to hit the ground running with the Canes

Mario Cristobal was about as shocked as the rest of the college football world was last month when he was fired as the head coach at FIU.

Mario CristobalThe sting still doesn't look like it has worn off -- even five weeks later. But the 42-year old former Hurricane, who turned FIU from arguably the worst program in the country and built it into a conference champion, made it clear Friday he's ready to move on and happy to be in familiar colors again.

Cristobal, hired on Thursday to become UM's new tight ends coach and the program's new associate head coach, met with the media Friday and expressed his gratitude to coach Al Golden, who was one of the first people to call him on Dec. 5, the day FIU athletic director Pete Garcia dumped him.

"I appreciate the opportunity here, the opportunity provided by coach [Al] Golden, President [Donna] Shalala and the University of Miami," he said. "It's always been an honor to be part of this family. It's a tremendous honor to be back."

"Moments like that aren't the most fun for a family [getting fired]. But the support always was strong [from UM]. What coach Golden has always done around his family is what he's doing right now. He's doing things the right way -- a true care factor which always goes far when you're a teacher. As coaches, that's what you are, a teacher. You're teaching these young men how to be better at everything, not just football. Just knowing what he is about, what he wants for this program, those things aligns pretty well. So when the opportunity was presented, I was thrilled."

Cristobal, who coached with UM defensive coordinator Mark D'Onofrio at Rutgers in 2001 and 2002, said he didn't get to know Golden until around 2004, 2005. He said their relationship strengthened over time, especially when Cristobal and FIU's coaches were invited to come and watch UM practices over the last couple years.

"He's an intense, relentless worker with a vision," Cristobal said of Golden. "That's the most important thing. A goal without a plan is a wish. You're looking at a man that set a goal, a regimented plan, a very specific, goal-oriented plan. I don't think coach Golden and the staff has got enough credit for putting UM back on track like it is right now. I know the excitement is strong. People can see that this young crop of players is talented and more are on their way and being developed and that's just as important as anything else. It's okay to come in with talent but you have to leave better than you come in. The plan from top to bottom is impressive. It's one that I'm blown away by it. I've learned a lot in a day and a half."

Here is a transcript of what else Cristobal was talking about Friday:

Q: What's it like to be back?
"The last day-and-a-half has been pretty hectic with all the stuff going on. It's an incredible feeling. I think everyone knows how I feel about the University of Miami. I'm excited about getting back here and working and getting to work right away. When I was a player here it's embedded in your mind about being relentless about everything you do. Now joining on a staff in the same way, shape and form is incredible. It's hit the ground running, assisting the staff anyway I can.

Q: Is it awkward going from a head coach to being an assistant?
"Well I was the same person as a GA, less gray hair. I was the same person as an assistant as a head coach. I don't think that changes. You are what you are when you wake up in the morning, when you go to bed at night. I don't think that changes. If it does you were probably raised the wrong way. I'm ready to accept and excel at each and every role I'm assigned to so we can do whatever possible to make sure we flat out win at everything we do -- football, classroom."

Q: When you left here did you envision a scenario where you'd be back here?
"The way it turned out I don't think anyone can ever envision stuff like that. You have to understand how special this place is. I think people in this room do. The focus is on the now. Everything is about the vision coach has set for this program. The way the culture is continually cultivated more and more toward just becoming a champion, a very aggressive mentality in a positive way of making sure good isn't good enough and when great gets here it's not good enough either. It's demanding in the right ways. When you're part of a staff like that it's a tremendous situation."

Q: What does associate head coach mean, your responsibilities?
"A trick question right away [laughter]. To me what it means is I'm part of a great staff. That's how I want to be viewed. That's how I want to approach it. I'm part of the staff. I'm an assistant coach with some duties that go with it."

Q: Do you remember your last practice as a UM assistant in 2006? Randy Shannon said you were deliberating if you should go to FIU or not.
"When you play here, I think I'm speaking the truth, you're kind of trained to be very, very different. You're trained to be something special. There's something special within these walls that's not seen outside of here, not relent for anything. It's persistence to the core. That's a tough decision. In this profession that's the one thing I've learned - it's an unforgiving profession. At certain times some decisions the outside world will never know how painful they are, but when they take place it's done for what someone thinks is the right reason. I've grown tremendously from it, learned a bunch by it. You can't ever learn enough in this profession or life. Those are things that can apply daily in my new position."

Q: With recruiting, how involved are you in that already? Is Brennan Carroll still the recruiting coordinator?
"All of that stuff is going to be settled. The entire staff works on recruiting. There's always a recruiting coordinator title. Not everyone can sit in recruiting meetings, but you'd be amazed the detail and work that goes into it. The short time I've been here, it's been awesome. You look at a group of guys that are detailed in every single facet of what it is to be a recruiter on top of your assistant coach duties. Everyone's involved 24/7. And that's the way it should be. You see the overhaul of the roster. To me with three weeks to go in recruiting it's about attack mode. Wherever I need to go, where I need be sent, need to accomplish in 2014 and 2015, let's go. There is no time to rest. The contact period is on and we're rolling."

Q: How different is the program now vs. when you left it?
"Completely different. The facilities different as well and they're changing. Until you sit there with coach Golden, go step by step with the plan in detail, the expectations he has for himself, assistant coaches; players as well; it's a legitimate program built to win championships, it's not just football. When development on the human side goes hand-in-hand with the human side that's when you build a locker room full of winners. That's certainly what the goal. It's getting done."

Q: What's it like to have to not move anywhere?
"When you're in this profession you may as well live on the moon. The only time you see your kids is when they wake up at 3 a.m. and play wrestlemania on you. It's home, you know. It's a tremendous honor."

Q: How surprised were you that you were fired by FIU?
"It's surprising. Like I said `It is what it is and the focus is on the now.' To me, for those assistant coaches and taking what was considered the worst program in America to a conference title and a bowl game, every year sending guys to the NFL, all the kudos to the assistant coaches and the players. That's really about it in terms of what I have to say about it."

Q: Did coaching and knowing defensive coordinator Mark D'Onofrio from Rutgers help in the transition?
"He's on the road today, but we worked together over there in a different scenario. That was one of the tougher situations in America. We were under the same professor in coach [Greg] Schiano at the time. All those bits and pieces show up again. He's a great man, great coach, great father. As you walk down the hallway you'll find the same similarities in all the men that are on this staff."

Q: Rob Chudzinski was named the Browns coach. You worked with him. How happy are you for him?
"Very proud of him. He's obviously a great football coach. He got himself a great shot. I know everybody is excited for him. He's been working for a long time. You always have to applaud a guy who probably didn't come in as a the highest ranked player in the class, but somehow, someway he's starting the Orange Bowl against Oklahoma. You know his pathway through here. Not only is it well deserved, he'll do extremely well."

Q: How much have you seen your current tight ends on tape?
"Not enough yet. I watched a bunch of games last night. Everyone reports on Sunday, so that's critical to establish relationships, establish standards as well. They understand what's expected. It's another semester now under the program, the off-season program, which is very demanding."

Q: Are there certain areas of the state you'll recruit?"I don't know yet. I'm still trying to focus on how to long on; get my phone number still."

Q: Is there some overlap in recruiting at FIU to now at UM - it's a different recruiting pool, but you have relationships with coaches and things like that.
"Always. You're looking at - it starts as the same pool, ends up being a different pool. But that's okay, there are relationships formed. We'll work at it hard. We take a tremendous amount of pride in it. One of the gifts I thought I received here was learning how to work, learning how to really work and get after it. When you do that you can't help come across people you form relationships with. Sometimes it's a great get or an assist in getting a guy. All those things are being looked at to the max to help out in any way I can."

Q: You have two sons -- 3 and 1 1/2 years old. How are they?
"I feel like being a father has helped me as a coach. My mantra is treat every player like they are your own son. But until that little coconut head popped out, it just wasn't the same. As a coach, you are a teacher."

ACC announces Hurricanes' opponents in 2013 -- plus UM's nonconference opponents

Here's the release from the ACC everyone:

Basically, know that Pittsburgh is joining Coastal Division for next season, and Syracuse is joining the Atlantic.

Also, Miami will be at Duke, home vs. Ga Tech, at UNC, at Pitt, home vs. UVA, home vs. Virginia Tech, at FSU and home vs. Wake Forest next season. 

Miami's nonconference games, per UM, are FAU, UF, Savannah State and at USF.

The complete 2013 ACC football schedule, including specific dates, will likely be announced in early February.


ACC Announces 2013 Conference Football Opponents

Pittsburgh, Syracuse Join Coastal, Atlantic Divisions

Balanced Eight-Game League Schedule Allows for

One Primary and One Rotating Crossover Opponent 


Release: http://theacc.co/13FB-opponents-0111

Graphic: http://theacc.co/13FB-opponents-pdf


      Greensboro, N.C.—The Atlantic Coast Conference Friday announced the football conference opponents and sites for the 2013 season incorporating new members Pittsburgh and Syracuse into the 14-team league. As the conference did in its previous expansion schedule model in 2006, this year’s schedule of league football opponents is entirely a new scheduling model that is not based off the previous schedule.    


      The complete 2013 ACC Football Schedule, including specific dates, is expected to be announced in early February.


      Each ACC team will play eight conference games in football (four home and four away), six games within their division (three home, three away) and two games (one home, one away) with crossover opponents from the opposite division. In 2013, all Atlantic Division members will host their primary crossover opponent while Coastal Division members will host a rotating crossover opponent.


      Each school’s primary crossover opponent does not change, while its rotating crossover opponent will change each year. With the exception of Pittsburgh and Syracuse, all schools will be playing their rotating crossover opponent for the first time since 2009. Pittsburgh joins the Coastal Division while Syracuse will compete in the Atlantic Division and the two schools will play each other annually as primary crossovers. The other primary crossovers will stay consistent. The primary crossovers are:


      Atlantic Division………………  Coastal Division

      Boston College…………………  Virginia Tech

      Clemson………………………..  Georgia Tech

      Florida State……………………  Miami

      Maryland……………………….  Virginia          

      NC State………………………..  North Carolina

      Syracuse………………………..  Pittsburgh

      Wake Forest……………………  Duke


      Also, as in 2006, the new model of conference opponents will result in repeat site games in order to balance home and away schedules. This year, taking into account the existing schedule, there will be a total of just six repeat site games, all limited to the 2013 football season.


The games with opponents traveling to the same site as in 2012 are: Duke at Wake Forest; Duke at Virginia Tech; Miami at Duke; Georgia Tech at Clemson; Virginia Tech at Boston College; and Virginia Tech at Miami.


      Though the conference is releasing just the 2013 ACC opponents at this time, this schedule model may be used as the basis for a full, multi-year schedule in the future.


      Below are the 2013 conference football opponents for each ACC school. The games are listed with divisional games first in alphabetical order, followed by primary crossover (pc) and then rotating crossover (rc) games:


Atlantic Division

Boston College           Clemson                     Florida State              Maryland                  

at Clemson                  Boston College            at Boston College        Boston College

Florida State                Florida State                at Clemson                  Clemson

at Maryland                 at Maryland                 Maryland                     at Florida State

NC State                      at NC State                  NC State                      at NC State                 

at Syracuse                  at Syracuse                  Syracuse                      Syracuse

Wake Forest                Wake Forest                at Wake Forest            at Wake Forest

Virginia Tech (pc)       Georgia Tech (pc)       Miami  (pc)                  Virginia (pc)

at North Carolina (rc)  at Virginia (rc)             at Pittsburgh (rc)          at Virginia Tech (rc)


NC State                     Syracuse                     Wake Forest

at Boston College        Boston College            at Boston College

Clemson                      Clemson                      at Clemson     

at Florida State            at Florida State            Florida State

Maryland                     at Maryland                 Maryland

Syracuse                      at NC State                  NC State

at Wake Forest            Wake Forest                at Syracuse

North Carolina (pc)     Pittsburgh (pc)             Duke (pc)

at Duke (rc)                 at Georgia Tech (rc)    at Miami (rc)


Coastal Division

Duke                           Georgia Tech             Miami                         North Carolina

Georgia Tech              at Duke                        at Duke                        Duke  

Miami                          at Miami                      Georgia Tech              at Georgia Tech

at North Carolina         North Carolina            at North Carolina         Miami

Pittsburgh                    Pittsburgh                    at Pittsburgh                at Pittsburgh

at Virginia                   at Virginia                   Virginia                       Virginia                      

at Virginia Tech          Virginia Tech              Virginia Tech              at Virginia Tech

at Wake Forest (pc)     at Clemson (pc)           at Florida State (pc)     at NC State (pc)

NC State (rc)               Syracuse (rc)               Wake Forest (rc)          Boston College (rc)


Pittsburgh                  Virginia                      Virginia Tech

at Duke                        Duke                           Duke

at Georgia Tech           Georgia Tech              at Georgia Tech

Miami                          at Miami                      at Miami

North Carolina            at North Carolina         North Carolina

Virginia                       at Pittsburgh                Pittsburgh

at Virginia Tech          Virginia Tech              at Virginia

at Syracuse (pc)           at Maryland (pc)          at Boston College (pc)

Florida State (rc)          Clemson (rc)                Maryland (rc)