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September 19, 2012

Al Golden

MIKE FINN:  We're now joined by Miami head coach Al Golden.  We'll bring on coach, ask for a brief opening statement, then go to questions.
COACH GOLDEN:  We're in the middle of our preparation right now for Georgia Tech.  Clearly this is a mature, physically rugged team on both sides of the ball.  I think they're markedly bigger and stronger up front, the front seven on defense.  Their offensive line, probably his biggest team on both sides.
Led by an excellent decision maker at quarterback in Washington.  Big play potential both at the slot position and big long receivers that can catch and post, but are unselfish enough to really block on the perimeter.
On defense, a 3‑4 look.  We're getting multiple pressures in front, which is kind of a trademark of Coach Groh.  Four strong linebackers, two inside guys very active, one of the best players clearly in the conference, if not the country, in Attaochu, and a very active, physical secondary.
Again, it's a mature team, a team that is going to be quite a challenge for us on Saturday.
MIKE FINN:  Questions for Coach Golden.

Q.  When you watched the film from last week's Georgia Tech game, did it look like more of a problem to deal with than when you looked at film last year before your game?
COACH GOLDEN:  It's always a problem to deal with Georgia Tech.  I just think he's got this personnel exactly the way he wants it after five years, four years, whatever the case may be.
I think they're always physical and relentless up front.  I think the biggest difference on the offensive line right now is they're big and strong.  Uzzi and Jackson on the right side are physical guys, strong guys.  Finch is as relentless as any center we'll see.  On defense they're 6'6", 270, 6'7", 345, 6'4", 300 with their down three.  They're a mature group and clearly present a lot of problems.

Q.  What must you do better on defense than you did against Kansas State a few weeks ago?
COACH GOLDEN:  I think that's the challenge.  Clearly we can't give up explosive plays.  We have to try to take the ball away.  I think that's critical in this game.  They're going to get their rushing yards.  The biggest thing is to try to get some takeaways, try to create some negatives.  You have to tackle really well, play assignment football.
You can't get paralyzed by the option.  Defeat low blocks.  Have eye discipline.  Tackle really well.

Q.  Given your background with Al Groh, does that make you any more inclined to give input into the offense or is he hard to read?
COACH GOLDEN:  That's it.  I think he's multiple.  Clearly I think you know from covering Coach Groh, when he feels really good about the maturity of his team, then he feels like he can do more.
Clearly in the first three games we're seeing a variety of ways that he's attacking people.  Then you look at the depth chart and it's clear it's because he's got a mature group and everybody that runs the 3‑4 knows that as your maturity and your football intelligence within the defense increases and improves, you can do more because it's really an interdependent defense.
I think right now they're executing it really well.  They're really personnel‑ed right now in terms of the size of the linebackers and the size of the guys up front.

Q.  Could you talk a little bit about Duke Johnson.  He's currently third in the ACC, second nationally in all‑purpose yards.  It's special being a freshman.  Talk about some of his talents.
COACH GOLDEN:  I think his greatest talent is that he's humble, a team player.  He's unselfish.  He prepares like a veteran.  I think that's the starting point.
We're trying to keep his odometer down.  We're not overloading him with plays, but at the same time when he's in the game, he's explosive.
Again, we're going to continue to find ways to get him the ball, plus his kick returns.  He's had two sizable kick returns already, one for a touchdown and another one 72 yards I think.
Again, he's doing a great job.  He catches the ball in the backfield, he blocks.  He's running hard.  He's unselfish on special teams.  That's what has given him an opportunity to make an impact with the all‑purpose right now.

Q.  A housekeeping issue.  After seeing practice today, are you sure that Allen and Vaughn are full go for Saturday?
COACH GOLDEN:  Well, Allen is definitely a full go for Saturday.  We're monitoring Vaughn.  We're hopeful that in the next 72 hours he'll get over the hump.  But he has made considerable progress during the week here.

Q.  As of now, you intend to take him up there?
COACH GOLDEN:  I do, yes, sir.

Q.  You've had some pretty good success against Georgia Tech.  What do you think have been some of the key factors the past couple years?
COACH GOLDEN:  We've only played them one time.  I think last year anybody that would have watched the game would say we made some plays on special teams and got the takeaways.  Then we were able to play with a lead.
Again, to me I look at that as an anomaly.  To me, this is a different team on both sides, us and them.  Don't really draw too much from last year.  Clearly there are parallels in terms of how they run their offense and defense, how we run our offense and defense, because we both had continuity with coordinators.
But I don't really draw from anything in the past.  This is going to be a great challenge for our team.  This is a very mature and physical Georgia Tech team.
MIKE FINN:  Coach, thank you.
COACH GOLDEN:  Appreciate it.  Thank you.

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