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Al Golden discusses injuries to Grace, Coley, 3rd down woes, the wind and more after loss at Cincinnati

UM coach Al Golden addressed reporters Friday following his team's 34-23 loss at Cincinnati. 

He talked injuries, breakdowns and much more.

Q: How did you come out of the game healthwise?

"Obviously Jermaine's injury hurt us based on how they were operating on offense. He seems to have an ankle. If we didn't have nine days I don't think we'd even be talking about it. I think he has a shot, but it won't be on the front end of the week for sure. Other than that, everybody else seemed to be good this morning."

Q: Reshawn Scott took a shot is he okay?
"He's good. All reports are that Coley is doing good too. There's a chance we could get him back this week too."

Q: Overall, your thoughts after having time to digest the film, anything new you saw on film you have to work on this week?
"We obviously have to get better up front on the offensive line in terms of our protection. Even the times that they did drop eight and collapsed three they were able to collapse our pocket. Again, I mentioned last night just the penalty and just how untimely they were. But we took a lot of points off the board and a lot of scoring opportunities off the board. We have to get that fixed. Obviously we kicked the ball out of bounds and gave them a short field again. Jon's doing a good job kicking. He's just got to get the first one jitters out of the way and just relax and trust his leg there. Obviously the punt return was huge and something that when we have a punter of our caliber we have to do a better job protecting him and covering the punt. I mean there's other things. There's a lot of things."

Q: I noticed a couple times Dallas Crawford getting beat in coverage and other breakdowns in secondary. What happened?
"For sure. When we're rotated down on a double seam pass. Again, it's trivial to me who the player is. We had the rotation to hold the seam on the backside coming from height. In other words, there's two ways to hold the [receiver]. One is from a linebacker who has a little bit more of a difficult time holding a vertical rout that's running away from him. Or, you get on top of it from a safety standpoint. For that one to be completed just before the half when we had the call we wanted was a back breaker."

Q: The other big pass breakdown one was on Corn Elder getting beat on the 52-yarder before Cincinnati's last touchdown. What happened?
"That was a tough one because I had just decided to kick the field goal there because at that point we had only allowed five yards to that point. 21 minutes into the second half, I think we had only allowed five yards. But I know it wasn't a significant number. I was basically telling the defense 'Hey I know I've got the wind now and we're going to get our three points here, kick it off, hold them and get the ball back around midfield.' If I'm correct the play it happened on it was 2nd and 8. It was a double-whammy. That one hurt."

Q: A lot of fans probably want to know how coming off a bye week in a game you are favored in it almost looked like the defense wasn't ready for the quarterback?
"Yeah, so again, from that standpoint, the second drive was a one-play, 10-yard drive because of a punt return. Obviously, we missed a tackle that led to the first one where if we could have held them to three there that would have been a big stop there. But we missed a tackle and I think it ended up being a 25- or 30-yard play there. Then we let the seam up right before the half which hurt."

Q: Are you going to make any changes personnel wise or strategy wise?
"I don't think there's any question. Clearly with both safeties back now there's an opportunites to play more of our safeties that have been very productive. I was really proud of Kirby last night because when Grace went down Kirby played [weakside] linebacker most of the night. I thought he played it really well. Clearly, with Grace down and Gayot down, we're down to our third WILL right now, which is Kirby who wasn't getting a lot of reps. He went and did that during the game. Obviously, we had more flexibility in the second half with the two safeties back. So, we utilized it. There's certainly some things we're looking at on the defensive side. On the offensive side, we got to just keep working the combinations up front to make sure we've got the right combinations in the o-line -- that includes Joe Brown and Kc McDermott. There's other things we're looking at. There's no question about it."

Q: Obviously not having Gus Edwards in short yardage situations hurts this year. Has Trayone Gray done enough to enter the equation? Who is the best option?
"It's something we talked about at length during last week. Trayone's definitely getting closer. I think Tucker is getting closer. But I think at the same time on the third and half a yard we got knocked back up front and the same thing happened on the 3rd and 3 when we ran it to the left there on the fringe. In those two cases it doesn't really matter who the back is. But there's no question in terms of a short yardage back we're looking at those two options."

Q: When you look back on the third down conversion rate offensively this season, is it more execution? Is it playcalling? Is there a theme?
"We're looking all of it. As I look at this here, we had nine plays that were 3rd and 6 or more, six of which were 3rd and 8 or more. The five penalties had an impact there in terms of being in 1st and 15. We were 2nd and 20, 1st and 15, 1st and 19, 2nd and 13. So, those definitely have an impact. If we can get more third and manageables, our short yardage will definitely help that. We have to improve our short yardage. We're looking at all of it, including who were targeting and what we're calling and what we have to move to in terms of personnel and what our quarterback does good."

Q: Florida State has been a focal point the last couple years and the players said they didn't want it to be this year because it could impact this season. How do you change that mindset?
"Again, I didn't hear or see them say that. Again, this obviously a big game for us and something we're excited about. In terms of how we respond, regardless of the outcome on Saturday night because you can treat both of those same. You get a big win or have a tough loss, the fact remains we have to be consistent and move forward. It's not really about this game. This game is always going to be a big game. It's really about response and our quest to be a consistent team week in and week out and we weren't last night."

Q: How about the playcalling in the fourth quarter last night. You had 4th and 5 at the 16 and went for the field goal. What was the sequence in that? Did you think about going for a touchdown or just one of those get the points on the board?
"They gave us the two-high safety look we wanted on third down and had the call we wanted. Looking back at it, we got cutoff on the backside that we needed to. We just needed to be a little wider on our aim point. I think the running back cut back too quickly. We had positive yards to be had there. If we did and gotten into a 4th and 2 or 4th and 1, I may have gone for it there. But we had only let up five yards in the second half to that point in time. So I said let me get the points here, get the ball back with the wind, stop them and get the ball back in good field position. Obviously that didn't happen because they flipped the field on a pass on it."

Q: Badgley did well kicking at home, but on the road he struggles. What gives?
"I think we analyze the distance of those kicks. Obviously he has enough leg. But from that range, we need to a little bit more accurate. But it is a bit of a difficult challenge for him. From that standpoint, I believe in Badge. He does a great job for us. Obviously we would not have won last week if it wasn't for him. We lost last night as a team and I know he wishes he had a couple of those back. There's no question about it."

Q: You mention the wind a couple times. What were the conditions that the wind was a factor?
"Because I believed we wanted the wind in the fourth quarter, I chose to kickoff into the wind in the third quarter. Just because of the type of ballgame we were in. I knew it was going to be a four quarter game. So, from that standpoint if we were kicking towards our locker room the wind was going that way in terms of kickoffs and things of that nature and punts."

Q: Was it actually windy? I didn't notice it windy at all?
"Again, if that's your opinon, whatever. But I go by what the kickers tell me. From our standpoint, in terms of kickoffs and punts, it was definitely different going in one direction."

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