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4 posts from September 28, 2013

September 28, 2013

Canes QB Stephen Morris calls USF a dirty team, says Bulls were going after his ankle

TAMPA -- UM quarterback Stephen Morris was not a happy camper after UM's 49-21 win over South Florida and didn't hold back.

I asked him about signaling to the sideline to leave the game midway through the second quarter and he responded: "South Florida is a dirty team to say the least.

"I don't know man. When your down under [the pile] and everybody is on top they're going to try and go for your ankles and everything. We were already up three, four touchdowns so I was like there ain't no point for me to try to mess with these guys. They're dirty. It is what is. I wanted to score 70 points on them. They disrespected us. I had no respect for them at all. At that point I felt like we should just keep pushing it, keep killing them."

What were they doing? "Little stuff in the pile. Just dumb stuff," he said.

Who was it? "I don't know who that is. Whoever was on the defensive line," he said.

Were they twisting your ankle? "It's the game of football. The obviously got the injury report thanks to a certain group of people. It is what it is."

How is your ankle? "It feels great. Compliments out to Vinny and the [training] staff. I'm going to be in the [training] room all day [Sunday]."

Al Golden's post-game thoughts on USF; says Morris didn't go backwards with ankle injury

TAMPA -- Here is everything UM coach Al Golden said after Saturday's 49-21 win over the South Florida Bulls.

The offense came out firing... "We played well. We were efficient on offense. I don't think we had a punt if I'm not mistaken until the third, maybe later. Stephen [Morris] did an unbelievable job for the lack of practice that he had. He was efficient. I thought we ran the ball really well. I thought we called a good game early on and I think the defense settled down after that first 15, which is what I was concerned about coming off the bye week. They did what we thought they would do. They executed it better than we did, that's why they scored there. Good tough game on the road. Proud of our guys. Now it's time to go back and get ready for the ACC."

The offense went to the air a lot... "The ball wasn't hitting the ground. We were protecting really well. Stephen was making good decisions. Even on the one chunk he wanted then he came back to his back when they were on top of it. When your quarterback makes those kinds of decisions its easier to call pass plays for sure. [Maurice Hagens] picked up 15 on that play. We protected him well. They started to hit him a little bit there and it was time to take him out and move onto Ryan [Williams]."

How is Stephen Morris' health... "He kept saying he was good. But we had enough lead that I thought we could move on. You guys see what I see with Ryan. It's a lot different than last year. He's in a groove right now. He's playing with a lot of confidence. The team has a lot of confidence in him. So when he comes in its good and efficient. He did a nice job.

Stacy Coley had a big game... "He's coming along guys. He's making a lot of progress. He's more confident and more comfortable and relaxing. Again, he's a competitor, comes everyday, works hard and having success."

On bringing the heat against USF's offense... "It was a situation where we saw a couple things that we wanted to go after. Part of the pressure was the realization they really wanted to be a running team. They want to run the ball. You can get some TFLs there and can end up in an eight-man front in a lot of those pressures. It worked out well. They came out sharp, ready to go, stuck that early drive in on us. But again, we were ready to go. Now we got to get healed up and get ready for next week."

Shayon Green forced the fumble that led to a TD... "We're starting to get more active around the football. We had more guys around the football. The one the whole team is going to crazy on is the one we couldn't scoop and score. We couldn't pick it up. We're seeing the ball better. Again, I'm not talking derogatory about any one person but last year a lot of those were just sacks and you hit them in the back. Now guys are sacking and knocking the ball out and guys are going to scoop it up. And guys are there to pick it up, which is a big contrast from a year ago."

First career sack for Shayon... "I'm happy for him. He's a warrior. He is so unselfish. So much of what we're doing against the run right now is that he's unselfish and he gets the ball when he has to and does all the things he has to even though he's undersized against some of the tackles. But he does a great job."

Duke rarely fumbles and did twice today... "Terrible -- and in the situation [near the goalline]. He knows it. I can sit here and act like a tough guy coach and say -- he knows it. That's it, end of story. That's unacceptable. You don't reach the ball over the goalline. You don't do that unless it's the last play of the half or the last play of the game. So, that's cardinal sin No. 1 there. He knows that. We train the heck out of it. He freelanced the heck out of it. So, we've got to calm him down. The second one was bad from the get-go. The receiver in motion basically ran into Ryan. The mesh was bad. I don't even know if he got it or it was on his hip. You guys have more angles than me. But you've got to cover it up when it's not where it needs to be."

Ryan Williams again played well... "Again, we feel very good about Ryan. When I tell you I was like many of you watching pregame to see what kind of shape Stephen was in. I went to bed last night thinking it was going to be Ryan. That's how much confidence I have in him. If he plays, we're good. If Stephen gets dinged somewhere along the way, Ryan comes in we're good and we'll just move on."

Did you say anything to Duke after the fumble... "Yes."

Last time up here you beat USF 6-3... "I want to be fair to Coach Taggart. It's a transition year and he's taking over a new team. Again, I can't assess where they are at. I'm just know what we're trying to build. We have a lot of guys on our team that have been growing and building. We went through that year last year. We were fortunate to scratch and claw and get to seven wins. But that's was what we were facing last year with all those young guys. It was tough to look at a lot of times, but clearly a lot of those guys have grown up now."

Two very costly special teams penalties wiped out a kick return for a TD and a long punt return... "Again, I got to see them [on film]. But difficult. Too many penalties right now overall. I keep challenging the team with that. We got to get that cleaned up. Those two penalties that's got to be 160 yards in penalties. That's horrific. If a guy is being aggressive and using a technique we use, sometimes it just happens. But if we walk in there tomorrow and I'm being selfish and doing my own thing, we have no tolerance for that. Those two penalties really kept the game closer than it needed to be."

Are you ready for the ACC schedule to get going... "Yeah we're ready. We need to get a break. We need to get healed up. Of course they're ahead of us already on their rest. So we're conscious of that. We'll have guys get back early tonight and get a good day's rest and take it a little bit easier on them on Monday and get ready to go. We're excited. We've done what we've needed to do on the first third of the regular season. We've played a lot of guys, we've grown up. Now it's time to get into the ACC."

Gus Edwards ran well but couldn't score... "We just got to keep working. That's just part of having a little bit more poise down there in going where he needs to go. We certainly have to do a better job blocking for him."

Are you going to handle Morris' ankle injury the same way... "He'll be far better off tomorrow than he was last Sunday. We didn't go backwards today. That's the one thing doctors told me right away. He didn't go backwards. We're just being cautious with him. I said OK, it was 28-7. I felt good. Ryan was moving the ball. Defense was playing good. But he'll be markedly better. To answer your question we didn't go backwards and he should be good to go on Monday."

Gameday blog: Miami Hurricanes at USF Bulls

TAMPA -- You know the drill.

Your Miami Hurricanes (3-0) are playing at Raymond James Stadium against the winless USF Bulls (0-3). Kickoff is at noon. Today's game can be seen on ESPNU. Hope you have it. 

Al Golden has played up USF's defense. Bulls coach Willie Taggart is a good coach and eventually should right the ship. But it shouldn't be much of a contest today.

Vegas lists Miami as an 18.5 point favorite. I've got the Canes winning 44-7.

Q & A with John Congemi: Hurricanes No. 1 nationally in turnover margin. USF No. 114. Uh oh.

Good morning!

Nothing like game day.

I chatted on Thursday with ESPNU college football analyst John Congemi.

John, a former star quarterback who finished second all-time in passing yards at Pittsburgh behind Dan Marino, played at St. Thomas Aquinas High School in Fort Lauderdale. He will be part of the broadcast team today that calls the UM at USF game.

Q: Miami is No. 1 in the nation in turnover margin and USF is 114th. How does that translate?

Congemi: “Problems for South Florida, that’s what those numbers tells you. If the Miami Hurricanes can continue to generate turnovers and protect the football and South Florida doesn’t get better play from their quarterbacks, because you don’t know who’s going to play in that position, it lends to the Hurricanes getting easy points or field position that leads to easy points.”

Q: USF announced that Steven Bench will start at QB vs. UM. What have you seen from the USF quarterbacks?

 Congemi: “I did the South Florida game when they played against Michigan State (Note: Michigan State won 21-6.) Bobby Eveld (now 17 of 47 for 205 yards and two TDs, with one interception) didn’t get a whole lot of help in that game -- but he struggled. Steven Bench (now 8 of 24 for 128 yards and a TD, with one interception) came in and played pretty well. But it’s their pass percentage (37.4 percent combined) that has to come up. Whatever quarterback combination has to complete a better percentage of passes than they have. That position needs to improve to give the other guys around them a chance to make plays.”

Q: What do you think is most important, besides winning, for UM to accomplish in this game --  knowing that Georgia Tech is next?

Congemi: “I think it’s another game that they can continue to build their craft. They’re starting their ACC schedule soon and that’s the most important thing. I know in the bye week (after Florida) and week of practice, Al Golden has been harping on these guys to drill down, resist experimentation and get better at what they do best. That has been his motto the last couple weeks, just to get better at what they do because they’re on the verge of getting to the meat of their schedule and their goal is to win the ACC and get to a BCS game. They have talent, but they have to get better at what they do best, focus in and execute and minimize penalties and mistakes. That should be enough to win this football game.

Q: Stephen Morris has a bruised ankle. Should Al Golden let him sit more than he plays?

Congemi: “In my opinion, if Stephen Morris is healthy enough to play, he should probably play until the game is in hand just to continue to get him some reps. But what is that marker? Is it a three-touchdown lead? Is it the third quarter when you feel like the game is in hand? The best thing about football is you never know what’s going to happen. South Florida, on the defensive side of ball, has athletes. I’ve seen them in person. If you took their colors off and put them in another uniform they run as well as Miami. They’re just not as deep and maybe not quite as talented but the defensive coordinator does an excellent job with that side of the football. They do a good job of getting to the quarterback, have  two quality ends and a heck of a linebacker in DeDe Lattimore.  If you were going to attack them, you’d attack them with balance. If Stephen feels 100 percent or close to it, you let him play.”

Q: Your prediction?

 Congemi: “I won’t give you a score, but I can tell you that the huge matchup will be Miami’s offense against South Florida’s defense. If they can continue to score points and move the football it’s going to be tough for South Florida to keep that pace. A low scoring game will favor South Florida, but if you get it into the high 20s I’m not so sure South Florida can keep pace.’’