Al Golden addressed several issues seconds ago in his day after press conference, following Thursday's 34-23 loss at Cincinnati. Some of his thoughts:
### On how his defense could have looked so bad early coming off a bye week: “The second drive was a one-play, 10 yard drive because of the punt return. We obviously missed a tackle that led to the first one.”
### On what concerns him: “We’ve got to get better on the offensive line in protection. Even when they dropped eight and rushed three, they were able to collapse our pocket....
“We took a lot of points and a lot of scoring opportunities off the board [with penalties]. We have to get that fixed....
“We kicked the ball out of bounds and gave them a short field. Obviously the punt return was huge. When we have a punter of that caliber, we have to do a better job of protecting him."
### On Corn Elder getting beat on a deep ball in the second half: “We had allowed five yards [to that point]. I was telling the defense, we will get our three points and hold them and get the ball at midfield. It was a 2nd and 8. It was a double whammy.”
### He said lineup changes will be considered. Where?
“We’ve got to keep working the combinations up front to make sure we have the right combinations on the o-line. That includes [reserves] Joe Brown and KC McDermott.... With both safeties back, there’s an opportunity to play most of our safeties. I was proud of Raphael Kirby. He played WILL linebacker most of the night and played it really well" with Jermaine Grace missing the second half.
### Why not give Trayone Gray a chance at short yardage?
“It’s something we talked about at length. Trayone is getting closer. Walter Tucker is getting closer. On the 3rd and half a yard, we got knocked back up front [Joseph Yearby ran that] and the same thing happened on the third and 3. In those two cases, it doesn’t matter who the back is. In terms of a short yardage back, we’re looking at those two options.”
### On the play-calling in the fourth quarter:
Why a field goal on 4th and 5 on the 16 in the second half?
“They gave us the two high-look we wanted on third down and we didn’t cut off on the backside like we needed to. The running back [Mark Walton] cut back too quickly. We had positive yards to be had there. If we had gone down to 4th and 2 or 4th and 1, I may have gone for it.”
Golden also said he felt his defense would get a stop on the next series because Cincinnati had only five second-half yards up to that point. Instead, the Bearcats scored a touchdown.
### Golden said Grace (ankle) and Stacy Coley (hamstring) have a chance to be ready for the FSU game Oct. 10. The time for that game will be announced Saturday night or Sunday morning.
When Dwyane Wade and Heat players spoke in recent days about how the roster has changed for the better, they always mention the improved depth.
The upshot of adding skilled veterans Gerald Green and Amar’e Stoudemire and 10th overall draft pick Justise Winslow, along with the return of Josh McRoberts from knee surgery, means the Heat’s second unit --- which could potentially include those four and Mario Chalmers --- is “obviously a big upgrade from what we had last season coming off the bench,” Wade said.
But Wade also cited this potentially uncomfortable flip side of adding depth: fewer minutes for players unaccustomed to that.
"Everyone talks about how excited we are about our depth, but you've got to understand at times the depth will get in the way of your playing time,” Wade said. “How are we going to get past that? Those are the things people don't look at that affect teams. We've got to be able to get over that hump."
Two players who stand to be most affected by that: Chris Andersen, who played in 60 of the 65 games he suited up for last season, and Udonis Haslem, who played in 46 of the 77 that he was available for.
If McRoberts joins Stoudemire on the second unit as expected, then Andersen’s minutes would be curtailed significantly. He said he’s not concerned.
“I am just going to go in and do what I do,” Andersen said. “I can’t control that. I did what I had to do to make sure my conditioning was good,… to make sure I don’t get injured as [much] as last year.”
Haslem, too, could spend a lot of time on the bench for a team in the enviable position of having six proven power rotation players.
“It takes a special person to do that,” Haslem said. “When it takes a hit on playing time, it takes a hit on your ego. My job is to walk guys through who haven’t experienced it. I can instill a positive influence, keeping guys engaged in practice.”
Erik Spoelstra said the Heat does research to make sure it doesn’t sign players who are likely to complain about playing time. Asked about the six power rotation players, Spoelstra said all are selfless.
“This type of situation might not be for every veteran player,” Spoelstra said. “We try to over-communicate that early in the process of recruitment. When we sign them, we over-communicate the role. With any great team, it’s necessary you have talent and depth.
“But you have to be willing to sacrifice to leverage all of that depth. We haven’t gotten to that point yet with [defining] roles. It’s not about minutes, it’s not about shots, it’s not about opportunities. It’s about an opportunity to come together and do something special.”
At the wing positions, the players who might not play as much as they’re accustomed (in college) are mostly young players --- Justise Winslow, Tyler Johnson, James Ennis (if he makes the team) and Josh Richardson.
But Mario Chalmers, who has started 383 of 519 games, must also now adjust to being a full-time backup, with fewer minutes.
“I feel [that second unit] can be a starting five on any other team,” Chalmers said. “Amar’e is a proven All Star. Justise is just now coming into his own. He’s big. Gerald is a prolific scorer.
“You know me – I’ve got the championship background and know what the Miami Heat family is about. It will be easy for me to translate to those guys and be able to lead that second team.”
McRoberts said: “We have a lot of potential with that [second] group. We’ve been talking about that. You can never have too many options. That’s my option to be out there and get it to the hot hand and make sure everything runs smoothly. I can help in that role and keep everybody involved and putting the ball where it needs to be.”
That second unit, Wade said, “is different from what we had in our championship years coming off the bench. There’s talent in that group. They might not do the same thing the first lineup does. But that lineup can be very effective if you give them the right offense and the right things to do.”
### Hassan Whiteside (calf) sat out practice for a fourth consecutive day. John Lucas III (leg soreness) and Greg Whittington (illness) also skipped practice.
### Chris Bosh said Friday he’s “more surprised than anybody” about how great he has felt during practices, as he returns from February’s blood clots in his lungs. “My soreness is limited.”
### Sun Sports will televise five of the Heat’s preseason games, including the 6 p.m. Sunday opener against visiting Charlotte. ESPN picked up the Oct. 21 game against Washington. The two untelevised preseason games: Wednesday against Orlando in Louisville and Oct. 17 at Houston.
Please see the last post for thoughts on UM's debacle last night... Twitter: @flasportbuzz