Here's a quick preview of what could be in store next Wednesday, National Signing Day.
> NOTE: I wore the old Cubs jersey in honor of the late great Ernie Banks.
You lost 48-30 but had over 500 yards of offense. How difficult is that?
"We just look at it as another challenge. I didn’t even know we had that many yards. It gives us a good plateau to jump from. We see we can do it. We’ll focus on the little third downs that we missed, get back at it on Monday and see if we can fix our problem."
Did you know that Maryland had beaten Virginia Tech while you were playing, putting the Canes in control of their Coastal Division future?
"Myself personally I didn’t hear anything about it. I don’t know what happened but I didn’t hear it. About five minutes ago, after I got out of the shower. We weren’t really worried about that. We were just focused on taking care of Duke. Virginia Tech had no play on what happened."
So many things went well on offense -- you averaged six yards a carry and the passing game was clicking for a lot of the day but it seemed like things broke down on third down and maybe the offense buckled a little bit trying to play under so much pressure to score points?
“We have to just focus in. Third down is a critical down – the most important down. We have to focus in and pay attention to the small details. Usually when we watch film it’s just either one person out of their gap that usually causes the whole play to be off. We just got to watch film and fix it and keep going.”
What keeps you going now. You know you’re pretty much out of ACC race?
“The seniors. The seniors. They put in a lot of work and have been through a lot. We just have to do this for the seniors. That’s our motivation right now.”
SUSAN MILLER DEGNAN
Al Golden on Saturday after 48-30 loss to Duke
On Duke’s interception, trailing 17-7 in the first half:
“You could say the momentum changed there. It was unfortunate because we had a chance for a completion, and they got the ball with some good field position. There were so many other things that we did wrong. It’s my responsibility. The penalties. We didn’t tackle well enough. We didn’t get enough red zone stops. It was really disappointing.”
On Miami’s re-evaluation of coaching defense:
“I think it’s fair to say we’re evaluating every component of [the team], every step of the way. That includes defense. There’s enough blame to go around in this game. We didn’t punt the ball well. We weren’t good on kickoff returns. We had too many penalties. We didn’t answer. We needed to answer them on offense, if it was going to turn into that kind of game, and we didn’t do it. It’s all three phases. The buck stops with me. I have to get it fixed.”
On commonalities through the last three Miami losses:
“I don’t know. Obviously we’re giving up too many points. That’s changing the way we play the game on offense. We had more penalties in the first quarter today than I think we had the last two weeks. We’ve been punting the ball well, but we didn’t punt the ball well [today]. There’s too many explosive runs. Too many missed tackles. We have to dig deep and look at everything and see what we can do better, and see what direction we want to go here, starting tomorrow.”
On the defense allowing 358 yards rushing:
“Disappointing, for sure. No excuses. Too many explosive plays on the ground. They weren’t throwing the ball very much. We didn’t make enough stops. They got into too many third-and-shorts and converted them.”
On Virginia Tech’s loss earlier in the day:
“Somebody mentioned something. That’s not going to change anything we do. We didn’t execute well enough. Give Duke credit. They played really well. They’re playing really well right now. We have to get back to work and improve … I think maybe the players were aware. I don’t know. I don’t know if they saw a score, or announced it, or what. I don’t know what happened. It’s immaterial. It’s really about executing, and we didn’t do that well enough. Duke did.”
On Duke’s two-quarterback system:
“In terms of them staying fresh, that was difficult. I don’t think there was much difference when each was in the game. They’re both running the ball well. Obviously they used a lot of running backs, and ran the ball well, and we didn’t tackle well enough and they wore us down.”
On Miami’s preparation coming into the game:
“We started well. We just aren’t doing a good enough job of answering on defense. When you get into this kind of game, you really need to be perfect on offense. We weren’t, they were. We had one turnover, they didn’t have any. Obviously we aren’t generating enough turnovers right now. We’re not creating short fields. There is no excuse. It’s my responsibility.”
On coaching methods to use following three consecutive losses:
“Obviously it’s the seniors’ last home game. I think it’s important to rally around those guys. They’ve been through a lot. It’s important that we respond. Virginia will be coming off a week off, so they’re going to be fresh. We need to get our guys healthy. We have a lot to play for. Obviously this team has not been able to go to a bowl game the last couple years. We have to get our minds right and finish the season. That’s my responsibility to get them focused and recentered and get going.”
SUSAN MILLER DEGNAN
Sophomore receiver Herb Waters caught nine passes from Stephen Morris on Saturday for 116 yards and two touchdowns, including one that went 50 yards in Duke's 48-30 victory.
And Waters played with an injured groin during the game, said UM coach Al Golden. But Waters refused to pin the blame solely on the defense.
"Everybody’s down but we can’t be,'' Waters said Saturday night. "We’ve got plenty more ball to play. So we have to get back on Monday and get back to work.
"We had a great week in practice. It’s just that we came out and missed some opportunities. Duke capitalized on a lot of opportunities."
Reporter: "Herb, you’re going to look at the stats eventually and see you had 9 catches for 116 yards, you guys threw for 379 and had 565 yards of total offense and came up 18 points short. How much pressure is that on the offense? Obviously you’re under a lot of pressure to score a lot of points."
Waters: "With those kind of stats you’d probably think we’d overcome that with a victory. But like I said before, we missed out on some opportunities. Duke capitalized on some opportunities. You’ve got to get back to work. I’m pretty sure we’ll go over the film and fix what we messed up on."
Reporter: "Third downs are a problem again – 5 of 15. Why is everything so good on first and second down but you struggle on third?"
Waters: "To be honest, I don’t really know. I mean we practiced hard on third downs. We just didn’t execute on some of the plays that Coach [James] Coley called."
Reporter: "Early in the game it was learned that Maryland beat Virginia Tech. Did you guys know about that?"
Waters: "Yeah, it got out. I feel like if we wouldn’t have [known], we would have continued to play like how we’re supposed to play. I feel like we knew and some people let down. We’ve just got to get back to work and like we always say, keep everything on the outside and just keep grinding. In my opinion I feel like it would have been better had we had not known. I just feel like – lack of poise. We knew what we had at stake but we didn’t execute it. That’s why I feel like it would have been better if we did not know.’’
Reporter: "How did you find out about the Virginia Tech game?"
"To be honest I can’t really remember. I forgot who said what. It just leaked out. It is what is it. It was little by little."
Reporter: "A couple of your teammates tweeted during the game that this was embarrassing. Would you say this defense is embarrassing for the team?" Note: Waters was not told that the teammates were Duke Johnson and Phillip Dorsett, both of whom didn't travel with the team because of injuries.
Waters: “I mean if a couple of teammates tweeted that in the game then I feel like they don’t want it bad enough. If they’re teammates with everybody on the team, no matter what else they’re saying I have faith in all my teammates and everybody. It wasn’t just on the defense, it was on us; it was on special teams. Everybody didn’t come through how they’re supposed to. I give all full credit to Duke. They’re a great team and they just came out and played. They wanted it badly enough.’’
SUSAN MILLER DEGNAN