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Coach Al Golden speaks on ACC Teleconference about weather & other topics heading into Pittsburgh

Coach AL Golden spoke on the ACC Teleconference this morning, and the first question involved the pre-winter blast of extremely cold weather forecast for Pittsburgh. It's snowing there today, I'm told, and it will be clear for the game with temperatures that start at about 31 and head into the high teens at night. The sun will set early into the game, and any wind converging with the three rivers toward the open end of the stadium will undoubtedly make it brutally cold conditions for both teams, but especially daunting, obviouslly, for the Hurricanes.

Here's Golden's transcription:


COACH GOLDEN: We're in the middle of
our preparation, getting ready to go to Pittsburgh,
first time seeing them as a coastal opponent.
Great challenge for us, great opportunity.
With that I'll open it up to any questions
that you have.

Q. Obviously major weather issues on
the East Coast today. I know it's 48 hours
before you play. I know the Miami Dolphins
were famous for not performing well in cold
weather. Have you seen your team in adverse
weather conditions before? Probably going to
be cold Friday. Is that a concern going up
there in these conditions?


COACH GOLDEN: I think more than a
concern, I think it's a challenge. It's a challenge to
the way we want to operate. It's a challenge to our

mindset. I don't think there's any question. It's a
challenge to everything that we want to be as a
football program.
We want to be a team that's
process-oriented. We want to be a team that
focuses on two-acres and a ball and blocks out
everything externally. In this case the weather is
one of those external challenges.
It's going to be a great challenge to our
team's mindset, mentality and their commitment to
each other for four hours on Friday.

Q. I know the passing game is very
important to you guys. If it's tough conditions
like that, how big an adjustment do you have to
make offensively to perform?


COACH GOLDEN: Well, again, I think we
all know it's going to be tough conditions. It's going
to be tough conditions for both sides. We just
cannot allow any excuses to come into the game.
We got to make sure we're throwing the
ball well. We got to make sure we're catching the
ball well. We have to protect the ball when we're
running it.
I don't think there's any question that we
cannot allow an excuse mentality to creep in here
because at the end of the day it's going to come
down to protecting the ball well and finding a
running game against obviously the great Pitt
defensive front and connecting on the passes that
you throw. We can't have a lot of incomplete balls
because it's cold, windy, whatever the case may
be.

We know there's going to be elements that
are going to be a challenge on Friday. We have to
accept the challenge and execute regardless.

Q. You started out 7-0, ranked 7.
Things haven't gone well since then. Has it
been a product of better competition or things
you're not doing now that you were doing
earlier?


COACH GOLDEN: Again, it's always a
function of us. Some of the things perhaps we
were doing better earlier in the year, like taking the
ball away, playing better red zone defense.
Certainly we did that better against Virginia this
past week. Hopefully we'll be able to continue to
do those things.
It can't be about the opponent ever. It's
got to be about the things that we're doing and
what we're not doing. We haven't converted as 
well as we needed to on offense or third down.
That's really hurt our time of possession and left
our defense out there.
All three units are responsible. We have to
continue to play better. Hopefully we'll play better
than we played last week, as well.

Q. Last week there was talk about
Dorsett possibly playing. Are you still holding
out hope he'll be able to play Friday?


COACH GOLDEN: I still am holding out
hope. Can I say right now definitively? I can't. I
wish I could. He'll be practicing today. I think the
biggest thing is that he feels comfortable and
confident. If we see that today, we'll move forward.
Ultimately it will be the young man's decision
because medically he's cleared.

Q. Their guy Aaron Donald is one of
the best. Can you talk about the problem he
presents.


COACH GOLDEN: Again, when you see
players like this, you admire them. Obviously you
have to deal with them on game day, which you
have to find ways to do that.
You just admire players like this because
he's just not a talented kid, he's a skilled kid. He's
a young man that knows how to play double-teams
really well and he plays with a motor, of course.
They move him around to get him in the right
position to rush the passer. He's got excellent
pass-rush skills, as well.
Again, I think this young man has really
worked hard at his craft. I think that's the thing I
admire about him. He's taken his talent and
cultivated it into skill. The result is a heck of a
football player, one that's going to be a great
challenge for our offensive line.

Q. Tell me about your guys. Make a
case for a couple of your guys.


COACH GOLDEN: Again, you always
hear about who you leave out. I think I'm on
record as saying that [Brandon] Linder is playing at a really,
really high level right now. I'll leave it at that. The
rest of it, you guys have to sort it out and evaluate
it. I'm record on that one, so I stand behind that
one. I think Brandon Linder is playing an elite level
of football right now at offensive line.

Q. I know you play Friday, your fate in
the Coastal Division will be up in the air. If you
win the game, you still have a chance. I guess
you become a UNC and Virginia fan on Saturday. 

COACH GOLDEN: Again, we're just trying
to prepare and execute today and get better
tomorrow, obviously play well against Pitt. The
rest of it will take care of itself, will sort itself out.
It's really important for us to play well this
week and try to get win number nine, then we'll
move forward as a program. If we have the good
fortune on Saturday, we'll go forward from there.
For us to speculate on any of that is just
premature. It's really about playing better this
week than we did last week and getting ready for a
Pitt team on the road.

Q. If Duke wins, that game is at noon,
are you worried your kids might drop off a little
bit, put their heads down a little bit because
they can't win the coastal?


COACH GOLDEN: Duke's game is
Saturday.

Q. I apologize.


COACH GOLDEN: We'll be there Friday,
too. You're good. I thought I was going to play a doubleheader (laughter). 

Everybody have a great Thanksgiving.

 

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