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November 7, 2012

Al Golden

COACH GOLDEN:  We're excited about the opportunity this weekend in Charlottesville.  We've been working hard, practicing well, and clearly we've got our handsful with a Virginia team coming off a victory in Raleigh, and played really a flawless game, a tremendous game.  Six sacks, four takeaways, tremendous third down unit, and clearly on offense, they had everything working, including 250 yards on the ground.
So it will be a tough task for a team that beat us here a year ago.  We've got to saddle up and get ready for a great ACC contest.  So with that, any questions you have, I'm ready.

Q.  What impressions have you gotten from the film of Virginia's defensive line in particular?
COACH GOLDEN:  Well, again, I think the first thing that jumps out at you is how good they use their hands.  I said it a year ago, I think they're well‑trained in terms of their hand to hand combat.  They're very rugged and strong.  I think you're starting to see Mike Moore and Eli Harold, and some of those young guys step up.  Brathwaite and all those guys are starting to step up and see more action.  That's allowing them to stay fresher.  I thought they really got after the quarterback last week.  Not just six sacks, but they must have hit him a dozen times last week against N.C. State.

Q.  Overall their defense is really young, but is this the time of the year where you're past being a freshman or true freshman or whatever it may be?
COACH GOLDEN:  Again, I think that's a Coach London or Coach Reid question, because I don't know how the young men are practicing or what their reps are for the year.  What I can say is a guy in Greer in the middle that makes it go.  I think he's leading the league in tackles.  He sees it.  He's physical.  He's decisive.  He runs the show.
Reynolds comes off the edge a lot, number 9.  He's active, a very physical player.  They are a defense that challenges you.  They are a really, really good defense.  They have over 43 and outs this year.  They're 29% on third down.  I think the key for them last week is they protected the ball on offense and took the ball away.  So they did a great job.

Q.  I'm thumbing through media guides here trying to figure out when you were last with Virginia.  And when you were last in Charleston.  Am I looking at this right your last game against Virginia was against Miami in Miami?
COACH GOLDEN:  How about that?  I didn't think of that.  You're exactly right.  I think it was in the Orange Bowl.  I'm pretty sure it was.  I think that was my last game, and I accepted the Temple job the next week or next weekend or however it worked out.

Q.  Then the last home game at Virginia would have been against Virginia Tech.  Not a real close one.  But have you been back to Charlottesville at all since then?
COACH GOLDEN:  Boy, oh, boy.  I don't believe I have been.  I don't believe I have been, to be honest with you.  I don't believe I have been.  I'm searching through my mind right now.  But, no, you're right, I haven't been back.

Q.  How do you remember those years?
COACH GOLDEN:  I have fond memories of the University of Virginia and Charlottesville community.  A lot of good friend there's to this day.  Obviously, close with members of their staff and the administration:  Craig Littlepage, John Oliver, Michael London, Anthony Poindexter.  Just really classy people.  I have fond memories.
I just haven't been back.  It's exciting to come back now as a head coach and bring a team into Charlottesville.

Q.  With you guys now in the driver's seat for the coastal, have you noticed any of the few senior leaders that you have step up and make sure their teammates realize just what a big accomplishment this would be at Miami given it would be the first time it's happened?
COACH GOLDEN:  I think there is some sense of that.  Number one, I don't agree with you in terms of the driver's seat.  We're just trying get better today.  So I don't want that to be linked with any of my quotes, with all respect.  But I do think that the guys understand that we've lost some guys along the way this year, some injuries.
Our team understands that you're not guaranteed anything.  You're not promised anything in this game.  You couldn't have the type of team that could go 12‑1 next year, and the one game you lost prevents you from having an opportunity to win the ACC Coastal and playing in Charlotte.
So I think our guys understand there is urgency here and these games are important in November.  We're trying to teach them this process, and kind of impart to them that this is the only thing that holds up this time of year is the discipline and the regiment and the process.

Q.  Since you have such a young team, do you need to rely on some of the seniors that you do have to help you out with that message?
COACH GOLDEN:  We do.  There is no question about it.  Mike James has been tremendous.  Shayon Green is another young man that's doing a great job leading for us.  Brandon McGee, and there are others.  There are other guys in the younger classes that are stepping up for us.  And that's what we need.  We need that guidance because it's something that hasn't been done.  For all the great players that have come through here over the last eight years, we have not won our division or won the Coastal.  The only thing that we can do about it today is practice well, and obviously play well on Saturday.

Q.  I want to follow up on this youth movement that was just asked about previously.  With a guy like Duke Johnson really stepping up, do you think having those young talented players, especially guys from the Miami area playing and making an impact makes it easier for you to sell your program to perspective student‑athletes?
COACH GOLDEN:  Sure it does.  We're one of the view programs in America that if we can just cultivate from within three or four hours or three to five hours of our home that we can put together a championship type team.  So certainly it does.
There are a lot of teams that aren't blessed with the type of depth and talent level in terms of high school players and having access to recruits.  So I don't think there is any question.  Guys like Duke Johnson, playing the way he's playing or Deon Bush playing the way he's playing, or Ereck Flowers playing the way he's playing, I think all of the guys.  Tyriq McCord, all of those guys coming in and playing significantly and having an impact is certainly going to impact our recruiting moving forward.  Guys understand that that's the type of nucleus it takes to get Miami back to where we want to be.

Q.  What do you think your current perception is for players in Miami and Miami‑Dade County and Broward County?
COACH GOLDEN:  I think the perception is that we're looking for young men to join our program and put Miami back where it belongs in the national scene.  I keep saying it, but I confront the facts.  I know exactly where we are right now as a program.  It's not where we want to be.  We're building it.  We have a long way to go.  But it's important to address the facts and not gloss over anything.
We understand what we need to do both here in our program and also in recruit to go achieve our goals and get us back to where we want to be.  That is the beauty of Deon Bush or Tracy Howard or Malcolm Lewis and Randy Johnson.  Those guys know exactly what the University of Miami is.
They know that when you go to Miami, if you're Duke Johnson, you're going to be compared to Clinton Portis and Edgerrin James and Willis McGahee, and he accepted that challenge.  He loves that challenge.  Certainly I think we have a lot of young men down here that can relate to that, and they want to be compared to the best ever, and they want to be responsible for being the foundation of this program and getting it back to where we need to go.

Q.  I've heard the term self‑imposed.  Not necessarily from anybody in the know.  But I wonder if that's an issue for another time or whether it's an issue at all as far as looking forward?
COACH GOLDEN:  I'm sure it's an issue.  It's not my issue.  I'm out of that conversation.  That conversation is between our President, our legal counsel and the athletic director, to be quite honest.  I'm charged with getting a team ready this week, and ultimately to play well against the University of Virginia who is coming off their best game.
We've got our focus squarely on them, and then our long range, obviously, is on the Coastal Division.  There is nothing else that we can control.  We're trying to prevent all excuses and anything external from getting in the way of what we're trying to achieve.  It hasn't been done here.  We have a brutal schedule.  We're fighting our tails off and we're growing up.  We have a big challenge in Charlottesville.

Q.  How is your parents' beach house?
COACH GOLDEN:  It's standing.  Had significant water in it, but it is standing.  We're one of the fortunate ones up there.  I have close friends that have lost everything, and they're in our thoughts and prayers.  We're trying to help them.  Certainly my brother Shaun, for a week, hasn't really slept with the emergency services and trying to get New Jerseyians back on their feet.  Now they're bracing for another Nor'easter tonight from what I understand.

Q.  You've been in the northeast and extreme southeast.  We've seen the power of college football shift more and more south, and more and more west.  Do you see anything that's going to reverse that trend, that divide that we see in talent and rankings and that sort of thing?
COACH GOLDEN:  Yeah, to be honest with you, I'll help you answer the question.  But is that statistically proven that that balance has made a shift, number one, and then also has it been cyclical overtime?  I don't know.

Q.  More SEC teams have finished number one in the AP poles in the last three decades than they did in the previous three decades.
COACH GOLDEN:  Got you.  There is no question that right now, certainly in Alabama they're playing at an elite level, and I don't think there is any question about that.  But that is the beauty of college football.  There are always coaches or organizations that set the standard.  You're either going to back down from that or respond to that.
So it's the job of everybody else out there to get your team, build your team, your program, and your organization to the point where you can knock some of those guys off.
Again, from our standpoint, we've played for more National Championships than anybody in the last 30 years and we've won more.  That's what we're charged with.  That's our task to build our program.  I don't pay attention to anybody else and what they're doing.  We just focus on getting the type of recruits and building the program that we want to build that our family and university can be proud of.

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