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October 17, 2012

Al Golden

COACH GOLDEN:  Clearly got a great challenge Saturday with a Top‑10 Seminole team coming down here.  A couple good days of preparation for us.  Still a couple days left, but at the mid week spot, we're making a lot of progress.  And they are a great challenge in all three phases.  I think everybody understands that, and we are excited to host the game on Saturday night at Sun Life.

Q.  This is obviously a great historical rivalry, in‑state rivalry.  Since you have taken over the Miami Hurricanes, how big is this match up for recruiting, especially instate recruiting?
COACH GOLDEN:  Yeah, I think it's always going to be big.  I don't think there's any question, it will be a great environment for us here at sun life on Saturday night, which will be great.  We'll have all of our top players and many high school coaches in attendance.  So from that standpoint it's great.
There's two camps of players, look at this game, some look at‑‑ right now Florida State is No.10 in the country and some look at that and say, I want to a part of that; and some look at us and say, well, I want to be part of the resurgence of Miami and I want to go and make an impact and bring them back to the top.
Again, I think ultimately, there's some guys in the state that are either a hurricane or a Seminoles and there are a whole bunch that you have to recruit and make sure that your values are the same as theirs and make sure they understand the value of a University of Miami degree and all of the things that we can afford a young man at the University of Miami.

Q.  In terms of the rivalry, it's not one that the national media talks about much the way that it used to; what's your perspective on where it stands?
COACH GOLDEN:  Well, again, I don't know if that's necessarily true right now, from a Florida State standpoint, we have to catch up to where they are right now.  They are ahead of us right now.
And that is what makes this game and this rivalry so good because the other teams have always responded, and if you look at through the years, it wasn't really just an every other year they exchanged wins.   It's somebody gets hot and the other organization has to respond, and then it turns around and then you have to do that.
So right now, they are ahead of us, both in years at the institution, but also in the rankings and they were favored to win the ACC and we have to catch up.  That's what we are trying to do here not only this week but with recruiting and everything else that you guys mentioned.

Q.  I wanted to ask you about your defense, seems like you guys have made improvements over the last couple weeks, but how far away are they from where you want them to be?
COACH GOLDEN:  Oh, we are not even close.  We are light years from where we want to be.  We are making progress.  I think clearly at linebacker, we had more productivity lately with Denzel being healthy and Jimmy Gaines getting healthy and Kirby getting healthy.  I think that's made a big difference at the linebacker position over the last two weeks.
But we are a long way away from being the type of team that gets the number of sacks that we are looking for and gets the takeaways that we are looking for.  But I am pleased with their progress and obviously we are playing 20 freshmen or sophomores over there so I am encouraged they are growing and developing.

Q.  Any change in your quarterback situation?
COACH GOLDEN:  Is there any change?  No.  Stephen threw from a stationary position today, but in terms of dropping back or anything like that, he's not ready to do that.  Ryan took all the reps under center today, Stephen threw a couple drills, but again, no push off, just very stationary.

Q.  Did you ever think you would see a day where defenses averaging, was giving up 500 yards a game, and up till now, what has been the reason for that?
COACH GOLDEN:  Well, I never thought I would see the day where I would play with 20 freshmen or sophomores on defense.  So, no, I didn't.  We certainly didn't see that coming.
But as you go through the list, you're investing in a lot of guys that are with you for a while.  So we are not disappointed, we are not discouraged.  We just have to keep growing and fighting.
All of these kids one day are going to grow up, get stronger, bigger, be experienced and execute at a much higher level and I think it's compounded by the fact that so far we play the hardest schedule in the country.  There is no kind of improvement games.  These guys have been baptism by fire.  There are no games where the ones that are playing half, and the twos and threes finish the game and they learn how to play with no pressure.  These guys have all been thrown to the fire, and I'm proud of the way they are competing.

Q.  Is a lot of that in light of the schedule you play, the yards you've given up you feel decent to be 4‑3?
COACH GOLDEN:  Obviously we are 4‑3 and 3‑1, and we lost a heartbreaker last week to North Carolina and we are just taking it one game at a time.  Like I said at the beginning of the year:  This is a no excuses year.  We are going to play a lot of people.  This is not about a stat year and all that other stuff.  This is about manufacturing wins.  And I give our coaches and teams a lot of credit for manufacturing the wins that we have won so far and do it so playing four of the first six on the road.

Q.  What have you seen in the defenses that have been able to slow or stop Florida State's offense?  What are your keys to stopping the different weapons that they have?
COACH GOLDEN:  Again, there have not been too many that stopped them, so that's difficult.  But I just think they are very balanced on offense, they have a very physical presence to them in terms of their offensive line and their running game.  We have seen all three running backs, I think Thompson right now has shown that he's an elite running back.  So I think they show balance.
EJ Manuel, his touchdown to interception ration is tremendous, so he's making completions.  His completion percentage is over 70 percent; which means he's either seeing it better and releasing it or he's tucking it and running it.  They have speed and length on the outside at receiver and a big‑time tight end in O'Leary.
It's a very complete offense and they pose a lot of challenges to you, and you've got to do well on third down, got to find some stops in the red zone and you have to take the ball away.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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