There was no significant news delivered by football coach Al Golden on today's ACC spring teleconference. But I transcribed it nonetheless (So, did the ACC, and it appears we both finished at about the same time!).
Here it is, for your edification.
OPENING STATEMENT BY AL GOLDEN: “We had a chance to sit down with all the student-athletes on the team individually. We’re getting ready for exams. Guys will get a little break and then we’ll come back for summer session and obviously get ready for the 2014 season.”
Q: What units and players most improved from start of spring to end?
GOLDEN: “I don’t think there’s any question on offense, the running back position and tight end position made a great deal of progress. On the defensive side we probably made the most progress really in the secondary and then our depth at linebacker made a dramatic improvement clearly with the development of JaWand Blue and the arrival of Juwon Young and Darrion Owens.”
Q: What’s your confidence level in the quarterback position after the injury to Ryan Williams?
GOLDEN: “High. We’re not going to change what we do. We need to do a really good job of establishing the running game and keeping it simple and doing the things that we do best, getting into more third-and-manageables. We had way too many third-and-longs last year to possess the ball and convert. Clearly, the two young men that we have here on campus right now can do it and the two that are coming in will also have an opportunity to compete.”
Q: Is Kevin Olsen the guy right now? Is that undisputed?
GOLDEN: “Yeah. Kevin finished ahead of Gray Crow coming out of the spring and whoever is at the helm for us on Labor Day night [against Louisville] we’ll have confidence in and we’ve got to rally around. We’re not going to change who we are and how we operate.”
Q: With spring as a whole, what did you take away as the things that maybe the team improved the most on as you head toward the summer?
GOLDEN: “I think we improved a lot on our tackling on defense. Even in the spring game I thought our tackling was good. We developed the depth that we need at certain positions. Positions that jump out for me are safety, linebacker, wide receivers – all of those guys improved from a depth standpoint. As I said multiple times during the spring, this group came to work everyday. They had a good focus, they’re not a team that screws around a lot. They pretty matter-of-factly got down to business and got a lot done during the spring.”
Q: What’s your assessment of the receiver position?
GOLDEN: “We’re making progress. We don’t have the total numbers we would like. Most programs have 10 or 11 guys on scholarship. We’re not there yet as the result of what we’ve had to go through here the last couple of years. Certainly there are five or six guys emerging that really could be a starter at any given point. I’m anxious to see how that plays out over the summer and then in training camp. There are a number of guys there who have started and who very well could be the starter depending on how the competition goes this summer. Those guys have done a good job.”
Q: What have you been talking to Ryan Williams about as far as when he’s hoping to get back this year?
GOLDEN: “Everything they’re telling me, everything is going really well. He hasn’t had any setbacks yet, which is great. Again, it’s clearly going to be the doctor’s call. But his rehabilitation is going really well right now and knock on wood it will to continue to do that.”
Q: As the ACC looks ahead to its spring meetings, it sounds like the eight-nine debate on number of conference games is going to be front and center. How do you feel about it?
GOLDEN: “Whatever we do we need uniformity – uniformity in terms of crossover opponents; uniformity in terms of out of conference opponents. I’ve been in favor of going to nine. I think it would help balance our schedules. I like the way the league has grown and the new membership clearly is going to make us better. They are very attractive markets that have helped our league out. I’m in favor of playing nine if we can. We’ll see how it develops here in the next couple of weeks.”
Q: So, you’ll see more people in the league more often – so a young man, say, who comes to Miami would get a chance at least once in his career to play a team in the Atlantic Division. Is that your primary motivation?
GOLDEN: “The primary motivation is to make sure everybody is playing the same type of schedule more than anything. It’s balanced. Clearly there’s a great disparity right now in out-of-conference play – not just between the ACC and other leagues but within our league. We need to all understand better what the parameters are and what it’s going to take to ultimately get into a playoff. It’s really hard for us as a head coach or as an organization or athletic directors to make those decisions on the schedule when we really don’t know all the parameters that make it up.”
Q: Wanted an update to see if you’ve had a chance to talk recently to quarterbacks Brad Kaaya and Malik Rosier and gauge how their progress is going as they get ready to get on campus soon?
GOLDEN: “They’re busy now completing all the things that they have to do to graduate and to make the transition, which is never easy for anybody. Their focus is on that. Our focus is right now assisting them to do that and making sure that transition is as seamless as possible. Once they get here then we’ll start talking about football and those things. But both young men are bright. They both take care of business off the field, which allows them to really have complete focus on what they need to do. We’re excited for them to get here. I think it will help move our program forward and create the competition that we need at that spot but we really don’t have a lot of interaction at this point.”
Q: Are you about to get any senior transfers? We had heard about a kid named Justin Vogel from Florida punting-wise, and if there might be any at the quarterback position, some upperclassmen that don’t have to wait a year to play?
GOLDEN: “This time of year we always have our eyes open and are looking for guys that can help improve our team. We’re clearly not in the situation that we were in a year ago when we were just looking for enough guys to get us going. But I think clearly at this point we’re looking for guys that can improve our team and we’ll evaluate each one of them.
“In terms of certain guys that have already decided they are coming here, until they’re ours and are registered I’m not allowed to comment on them.”
Q: Does that include the quarterback position, or can’t you be specific?
GOLDEN: “Again, I just think in general if there’s a young man out there that is leaving a program for whatever reason and has interest in us, we’re going to examine him, just like we would do for any position. So the quarterback is no different.”
Q: Any changes in the roster we should know about, any additions or subtractions?
GOLDEN: “There are no changes to the roster right now. If those come up we will release them accordingly. In terms of if a guy is going to leave or another guy wants to come in, until that actually happens it’s impossible for me to comment on it.”
Q: The biggest way your team has changed or developed over the spring?
GOLDEN: “I just think this was a team that was really focused and improved and there was a lot of individual improvement which resulted in team improvement in a lot of respects. So, it was a team that took care of business off the field. Hopefully we’ll continue that trend, avoid distractions and just continue to improve. But I think overall there were certain aspects of the game we needed to improve both positionally and then by unit. I thought we had a very productive spring relative to that. Ryan Williams’ injury not withstanding we stayed very healthy through the spring, which is a credit to our trainers, student athletes and coaches.”
Q: To train a team to go no-huddle, is that something you really can only do in practice or can you start in summer conditioning workouts?
GOLDEN: “It just depends. Just because you’re no huddle, doesn’t mean you’re up tempo. So, it just really depends on your communications, how verbose they are and whether or not you want to be that team. There are just as many teams that are successful huddling these days. It’s really just a function of what you’re trying to achieve. If you’re trying to snap the ball early then clearly that’s going to take a little bit more work. But if you’re just going no-huddle to have the ability to vary your tempos and slow it down if you want, then that’s a different story.”
SUSAN MILLER DEGNAN