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August 29, 2012

Al Golden

COACH GOLDEN:  We have a great opportunity to take on Boston College and Chestnut Hill.  They've won the last two versus the Miami Hurricanes.  So we're going to have a great challenge up there, especially given the number of young people that will be playing and obviously given their experience at the returning, including an excellent quarterback and a trio of running backs.
So a very tough and physically strong team, a very rugged team, excellent against stopping the run.  Don't give up explosive plays on defense.  Smart and patient, and disciplined with their lack of penalties.  So going to be a tough challenge for us, and one that we're excited about on Saturday.

Q.  I'm curious, playing a league game in opener, if you were playing a quote unquote lesser opponent, would you be able to hold some things back schematically?  Are you at a disadvantage now that you really need to have your full playbook available and be willing to use it, because it is a league game?
COACH GOLDEN:¬† If we were going to hold anything back, it be because of how young we are and because we don't want to make mental errors and confuse them.¬† First game is always a difficult one, but obviously it's going to be made more difficult because we're playing Boston College in a place that I think they're 12‑3 in the last 15 openers.¬† So it's going to be a tough task.
Again, I don't know how we would prepare for a lesser opponent, so to speak, because traditionally Miami has been playing an ACC game in this spot.  So that is something that we have to get used to.

Q.  Are you okay with that opening with an ACC game, or would you rather kind of ease into things?
COACH GOLDEN:  That's what's on the schedule.  That's for you guys to debate and the fans to debate.  As I've said all week, the time to complain about the schedule is when it's being made, and not when it's released.  Right now we have Boston College, and they whooped us here last year, now we have to go up there and play them.

Q.  Could you talk about how your quarterbacks have looked in the preseason?
COACH GOLDEN:  I think Stephen Morris has had an excellent preseason, and he's poised and ready to go.  He's come back healthy, so physically there are no ill effects from his surgery in the spring and sitting out this spring.  He's healthy, he's strong.  He's got his weight back up.  His arm velocity is excellent, and I think his overall depth and breadth of our offense is showing.  So I'm excited about him.
Ryan Williams was very accurate in the preseason, and if we have to go to Ryan, we have a lot of confidence in him.  He's a kids that played a lot of football, and someone that sat out last year.  He's technically going into his third year, though he's a sophomore.  So we're excited about where that's at, and down the line, those other guys will continue to compete and grow.

Q.  When we talked to you in Greensboro, it seemed like you were a little distracted and a little bit stressed out.  How has the preseason been?
COACH GOLDEN:  Me?  (Laughing).

Q.  How about intense?  I think you were kind of intense?
COACH GOLDEN:  No, we've had a great preseason.  We've been able to focus on the task at hand.  I think we've been able to grow as a team and unify as a team.  Obviously, we have a steep challenge for us to open up with an ACC opponent on the road in a tough environment.  So we'll have to be tough, we'll have to be good, and disciplined and not beat ourselves.
But certainly I think we've been able to achieve a lot despite our youth and inexperience in this training camp.

Q.  I was just wondering at the safety position next to Vaughn.  I know Kacy Rodgers and Deon have been competing there.  Can you just talk about those guys and if you've made any decision about who might start the game?
COACH GOLDEN:  We have not.  Kacy overall has had a great summer and a great camp.  He's strong, obviously, with coming from the corner position.  A little more coverage ability than most safeties, so we're excited about him.  He's become more physical.
Deon is extremely talented and long and challenging them as is Highsmith and Jenkins.  So I think there is a good chance you'll see all five of those safeties in the game at some point on Saturday.

Q.  You mentioned last year's game.  What do you need to do better to beat BC this time around?
COACH GOLDEN:¬† We didn't play smart, and we didn't protect the football.¬† We weren't disciplined enough.¬† It's a very disciplined team.¬† They have a very‑‑ I wouldn't say simple formula, because it is tough to do. ¬†But they're among the Top 10 in penalties against and least penalties against.
They hold the ball with their running game.¬† They pushed us around up front a year ago.¬† Their rush defense has been among the nation's best over the last seven years and that is a function of the strength of the defense.¬† These two linebackers and I know they're excited about their middle linebacker, but Devito and Pierre‑Louis, I thought were as good as anybody in our league a year ago.¬† They don't give up plays and they're very patient.¬† We were not, to be honest with you.¬† So we turned the ball over and they did a great job changing the field on us.¬† They beat us on special teams.¬† As I said, they beat us up front on both sides last year.

Q.  Last year every one of your losses was one possession.  Is there a potential for a major turn around there just by a sleight improvement?
COACH GOLDEN:  Again, this team is a completely different team.  We have 64 freshmen or sophomore on the roster and 34 in the two deep.  So we lost 24 lettermen and most of our starters.  So we have, someone said we have 34 or 35% of our offense returners coming back, so our production on offense.  This is a completely different team for us.  So there really is not a big correlation to last year.

Q.  You talked about the quarterback situation a little bit.  Can you talk about the tailback a little bit and the preseason battle between your veterans and a pretty highly touted freshman?
COACH GOLDEN:¬† I'm excited about Mike James.¬† This is the best Mike James has looked in 19 or 20 months here.¬† He looks quicker.¬† Physically I think this is probably as lean‑‑ even though he didn't lose weight, this is as lean and quick as he's been.¬† He's comfortable in his own skin right now.¬† He's not trying to be Lamar Miller.¬† He's kind of doing his own thing, and we're excited about the way he's running.
Eduardo Clements is one of those guys every coach loves to have on your team.  He just figures things out.  He's done a great job for us on third down.  He's a problem solver for us.  He can go in and do anything, whether it's catch the ball in the back field, short yardage, goal line, third down.  He can do a lot of different things.  He's a great special teams competitor.  And Johnson, you know, we're just trying to get him going.  He's heading into it.  Don't give him too much, but certainly we'll get him into the game.

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