Al Golden vows fix for Miami Hurricanes’ apathetic play

If the Miami Hurricanes were a corporation, CEO Al Golden might be distributing pink slips right about now.

But even without the pink slips, the Miami football coach told reporters Monday that in preparing for Duke at home Saturday, he already has “made a lot of changes in every aspect of what we’re doing,’’ including “personnel moves,’’ though he wouldn’t specify players.

Earlier Monday, his first day back to practice since UM’s 28-21 loss to 14-point underdog Virginia, Golden told 560 WQAM host Joe Rose that some “guys on the team still think this is intramurals.

“That’s what we’re fighting right now,” he said, describing some players as “clock-punchers.”

Golden praised others, such as quarterback Jacory Harris and receiver Tommy Streeter, for “working their tails off’’ in their spare time.

But, said Golden, “we still have some clock-punchers and intramural guys and we’ve got to get it fixed.

“I will get it fixed.”

A few hours later, Golden told reporters he needs players to “take ownership” and spend whatever free time they have doing whatever it is that will help them improve, whether that be to “grab lunch and watch film, …grab lunch and sit with their position coach or coordinator, …do things on their own to learn the game plan.”

He indicated the Hurricanes (4-4, 2-3 Atlantic Coast Conference) need to feel pressure from within the program to excel, not from the outside.

“It’s critical,” he said. “If you’re always looking for external affirmation, now what? What are you getting from the outside right now? This is a great time to just say, ‘OK, we need internal peer pressure, because nothing outside the building should motivate us or demotivate us, if you will.

“You’d like to think after a win you have momentum and you’ve got them buying in and moving forward, but clearly somewhere along the way we went awry last week and I’ve been trying to examine it.

“We got beat in penalties, in turnovers, on third down. We got outexecuted and as I said this morning, I thought in a lot of instances we got out-physicaled.”

Limit distractions

Does he tell his players not to listen to outsiders or read the gobs of material on the web or in publications?

Duke (3-5, 1-3), for instance, is often the butt of jokes in football circles. On Saturday, however, the Blue Devils stayed close with Virginia Tech until finally falling 14-10.

“Yeah, but I’ve always told them that,” he said. “It’s not like I told them last week, ‘Hey, make sure you soak it all up against Georgia Tech,’ and then this week, ‘Don’t listen to anything.’

“See, this can be a vicious cycle here. Because at some point we have to understand that [former national title quarterback Ken] Dorsey is not walking through the door here today. He’s not. That team is gone. As soon as we understand where we’re at, and we plot the course, and fit our personnel and move the team forward, we’ll go that way.

“You can get in a vicious cycle trying to live up to years past. We just have to say, ‘OK, where are we right now? And, ‘What do we need to improve today?’”

Personnel moves ahead

Golden said coaches will change some of their plays “in all three phases, and the way we’re going to practice this week. There’s more than I can tell you, obviously, but we’re making changes.”

He specifically talked about the Hurricanes’ offensive line underperforming, especially in short-yardage situations; the tight ends underperforming, including in their blocking duties; and the running backs needing to be more patient, more physical and getting “downhill” without getting “too cute” with the happy feet shuffling.

He said he will examine some of the personnel moves “in the next couple of days and see where the competition leads us.

“You can’t play like that on Thursday night and not do something about it.”

 

Source: Miami Herald