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November 5, 2014

Al Golden

AL GOLDEN:  We're in the middle of a bye week trying to get the guys caught up academically and trying to get them rested up, and obviously as a staff, we're moving on for the remainder of the season, just making sure we're tidying up some things and examining ourselves and just seeing if we can get better here in the next couple of days.

Q.  Just looking a little bit ahead here, obviously you have this bye week, but with having the matchup against Florida State coming up, just what you've seen from them this season, what you've been able to take away from maybe some of the things you've seen on film, and how important it is to have a rivalry like Florida State and Miami grow in the ACC.
AL GOLDEN:  I think the biggest thing for our team this week is to take care of the things that we need to take care of.  Really our focus for the first half of the week has been on us and what we need to do better and looking at every one of our first nine games and taking care of our in‑house issues.  Now we'll spend the next couple of days turning our focus to Florida State.

Q.  And as far as your rushing attack, what you can say about Duke Johnson and how he's excelled, and at the beginning of this season, he said this was his team and how he really wanted to establish some leadership.  What can you say that you've been able to take from him throughout the majority of the season so far?
AL GOLDEN:  Well, he's obviously backing it up.  He's backing it up every day by the way he practices, the standards he's setting.  I think he's a great teammate.
And there's three plays in that game last week, two pass protections and one block about 20 yards downfield, that says it all, how unselfish he's playing right now and how he'll do anything to win and do anything to help his teammates.  So I'm happy for his success.  He's a very skilled player right now, and he's playing at a high level.

Q.  Just wanted to ask you we're in award kind of preseason you might say‑‑
AL GOLDEN:  Awesome.

Q.  Right.  And I know your focus is going to be anywhere but that, but just do you think Duke Johnson right now has a Heisman case?
AL GOLDEN:  Again, Matt, you're talking to the wrong guy.  I don't even watch TV during the week or anything.  I mean, I was able to watch some games last week because we had an early game, but you guys are the ones that watch all the different teams and get all the different stats.  I'm just focused on our program and our team.
I know he's playing at a high level.  I've said it before.  We're privileged to have the opportunity to coach him every day and be around him, and we're very grateful for his attitude and the way he's practicing.  It's hard to imagine anybody playing better right now.
So I'll leave the rest of it up to you guys, respectfully, Matt.  I think he's having a heck of a year.  I know he's got a lot to prove in his mind over the next month or so.

Q.  Talk about the homecoming experience last week with Jim Kelly and everyone there.  What did that mean for your club?
AL GOLDEN:  Obviously, we were celebrating, not just Jim Kelly and the Kelly tough game, but also Jerome Brown and‑‑ who else?  Was it Cortez?

Q.  I think Russell was one of them.
AL GOLDEN:  I'm so confused now.  Anyway, but it was great to be able to celebrate three great Hurricanes.  Obviously, it was great to see Jim and his family.  I know it was very emotional for them.  He brought everybody back and had an opportunity to be part of the homecoming parade and address the students and everybody.
So it was great to have all those‑‑ Jerome's family and Jim and everybody back.  Obviously, it was great to have a win to go along with it.

Q.  Now next Saturday night is the big primetime game against Florida State.  What's that mean for you guys, being on primetime on a Saturday night?
AL GOLDEN:  Again, for us, we've just got to take care of our‑‑ everything that we need to take care of to play well.  We started that process today.  As a staff, we've got to continue to fix the things that are holding us back, and as players, we've got to accept coaching and continue to be unselfish.
We're playing very good, unified football right now, and hopefully we can stay focused and stay together and continue to be unselfish.

Q.  As an outside observer from a long way away, it looks like something has really clicked with your team in the last month, since that Georgia Tech loss the first week in October.  The offense has really played strong.  The defense has been impressive.  Is that a correct observation?  If so, what kind of turned the corner for this team?
AL GOLDEN:  I think they're playing unified.  I keep saying it.  But they're very unselfish right now, and they're seeing how they impact each other.  They're seeing how third down offense impacts the defense in number of plays played and time of possession.  They're seeing how taking the ball away or third down defense gives the offense a better probability of scoring because of field position, and now they're doing it.
Obviously, special teams, we're playing better.  We're not where we need to be yet, but we're getting a lot of really good individual efforts, like Vogel on the punt team, he's having an outstanding year and doing a great job.  He must have like 20 kicks inside the 20.
So I think we're playing better team football.  I don't think there's any question about it.  We're getting really good leadership, and we're very unselfish right now.

Q.  There were times early this year where you had to ask your freshman quarterback to carry a huge load.  It looks like, at least the last two games especially, your running game has been so good you've been able to take some of the pressure off of him.  He hasn't had a turnover the last two games.  Can you talk about Brad's‑‑ is that working for Brad?
AL GOLDEN:  I don't think we're asking him to do anything less.  We just had success in all three phases the last two games, so we didn't have to throw very much in the second half of either game.  But that would not be possible if it wasn't for his decision making at the line of scrimmage, getting us in the right play, and obviously protecting the football.
So we're protecting the football better.  Brad's protecting the football better.  He's certainly a better position in the quarterback, you can start to see his personality come out, his leadership, all of those things.  Once we got back from Atlanta, I think he grew, our team grew, and we're really making some progress now. 

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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