Al Golden spoke with reporters for roughly 20 minutes this morning about a lot of different topics in the aftermath of Miami's 41-31 loss at Nebraska that dropped the Canes to 2-2.
He was asked plenty about Miami's porous defense, which gave up 343 yards rushing to the Cornhuskers. But it was the last question from our Susan Miller Degnan that brought out maybe one of the more interesting responses from the coach, who continues to defend the scheme Miami is running.
Q: I know this has happened before during your tenure but regarding the defense, fans are being very vocal and open and upset regarding [defensive coordinator] Mark D’Onofrio and the job they think he doesn’t do, or does do. How do you deal with that and keep that out? It’s obviously out there. How do you keep that pressure from getting to everyone?
"We don’t read it. We don’t listen to it. We don’t look at it. I think the biggest thing for us is to just move forward. We’ve got a great opportunity here. We haven’t played a Coastal game yet. If we’re really honest, from what I understand there were a lot of the same people that wanted [offensive coordinator] James [Coley] fired after the first game.
Again, I think for us, we’ve got to block all of that out. I’m sure there were people that didn’t believe in Brad Kaaya the way that we believed in him. I can go down the line of those decisions that we have to make. Obviously, you can’t please everybody. It’s really not about that. It’s about doing whatever is best for your ball club. Our guys right now, we have to move forward. We can’t sit around and complain. It’s not going to help execute. It’s not going to help us win the game against Duke.
Really, right now what we need to do is just stick together and everybody, starting with me, take accountability for what didn’t go right.
But let’s also take a deep breath and say, ‘Alright, man, how close were we to winning that game in that environment?’ And be proud of the guys that played the way we want them to play, and get those guys to grow, because a lot of guys did grow up in that game. So, make sure we don’t throw that out with all the negativity.
Get those guys to grow, take accountability for our errors, fix them, improve them and then let’s move forward on a unified front going into Duke week. That make sense?”
Q: Saturday night was it scheme or execution on the defensive side or was it case that Ameer Abdullah was that good?
"[Ameer] Abdullah is good. It's an offense that was averaging 600 yards coming into the game per game and 47 points. So we knew exactly what we were looking at. The kid was good. Did we help them by making some unforced errors? Yeah. The first touchdown that they threw to [Kenny] Bell was an error. So we got them off to a fast start through the air. So now you're trying to defend the air, plus the running quarterback. Again, there's no excuses. It starts and ends with me in terms of that. We didn't make them. It's as simple as that. We pressured close to 60 percent on first and second down. We didn't make them pay with tackles for loss. That 17-play drive they had I think we only forced two third downs and they converted both of them. We did not get them off track enough. We did not create more third and long, which would have been advantageous for anybody against what amounts to an option team. You can't put that much time into those aspects of the game and the running game like they are. We didn't force that. At the end of the day, we have to do a better job -- that's everybody. That's tackling, play calling, personnel, whatever it is. We have to look at everything and learn from that and then move forward and get ready for Duke tomorrow."
Q: Were DBs, safeties playing too far off the ball?
"No. I don't think we were too far [off the ball]. There weren't too many passes. We allocated a lot of people down [in the box]. We were zone pressuring 60 percent of the time on first and second down. You're in eight-man fronts the whole time. So we missed a lot of tackles. We did not make them pay by getting [a tackle for loss]. The quarterback ran proficiently, which we were worried about. Him in conjunction with an All-American tailback they both get going and it causes you problems. Again, we have to look all that take responsibility for it and move forward."
> Golden said the family emergency he had to deal with Sunday will not affect the team's preparation for Duke.
Golden didn't want to get into the specifics of what he was dealing with, but said: "We have a good staff around us. We're still working through something, but again we have a good staff. I'm trying to work as much as I can between deals here."
> Golden said players came in for treatment Monday and that he asked them to spend 90 minutes with their position coaches. But he wanted them to take the day off and rest for the most part. The team will resume practice and preparation for Duke on Tuesday morning.