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April 23, 2014

Al Golden

COACH GOLDEN:  We're excited.  We just finished spring ball a week ago.  Had a chance to sit down with all the student‑athletes on the team individually.  We are getting ready for exams.  Guys will get a little break, then we'll come back for summer session, obviously get ready for the 2014 season.
So any questions, we can start now.

Q.  Can you talk about what units and what players are most improved from the start of the spring till the end.
COACH GOLDEN:  I don't think there's any question on offense the runningback position and the tight end position made a great deal of progress.  On the defensive side, we probably made the most progress really in the secondary.  Then our depth at linebacker, made a dramatic improvement clearly with the development of JaWand Blue, the arrival of Juwon Young and Darrion Owens.

Q.  What is your confidence level in the quarterback position after the injury to Ryan?
COACH GOLDEN:  I think we're not going to change what we do.  We need to do a really good job of establishing the running game, keeping it simple, doing what we do best.  Getting into more third‑and‑manageables.  We were in way too many third‑and‑longs last year to possess the ball and convert.
Clearly the two young men we have here on campus right now can do it.  The two coming in will also have an opportunity to compete.

Q.  Is Kevin the guy right now?  Is that undisputed?
COACH GOLDEN:  Yeah, Kevin finished ahead of Gray Crow coming out of the spring.  Whoever is at the helm for us on Labor Day night we'll have confidence in, we have to rally around.  We're not going to change who we are and how we operate.

Q.  With spring as a whole, what did you take away as the things that maybe the team improved the most on?
COACH GOLDEN:  I think we improved a lot on our tackling on defense.  I thought our tackling was good.  Even in the spring game, I thought our tackling was good.
I think we developed the depth that we need at certain positions.  Positions that jump out for me, safety, linebacker position, wide receivers.  All of those guys improved from a depth standpoint.
As I said multiple times during the spring, this group came to work every day.  They had a good focus.  They're not a team that screws around a lot.  They're pretty matter of fact.  They got down to business and got a lot done during the spring.

Q.  What is your assessment of the receiver position at this point?
COACH GOLDEN:  I think we're making progress.  We don't have the total numbers that we would like.  Most programs have 10 or 11 guys on scholarship.  We're not there yet as a result of what we've had to go through here the last couple years.
Certainly I think there's five or six guys emerging that really could be a starter at any given point.  So I'm anxious to see how that plays out over the summer and in training camp.
But there's a number of guys there who have started, who very well could be the starter depending how the competition goes this summer.  I think those guys have done a good job.

Q.  With Ryan, what have you been talking to him about in terms of when he's hoping to get back?
COACH GOLDEN:  Ryan, everything they're telling me, everything is going really well.  He hasn't had any setbacks yet, which is great.  Again, it's clearly going to be the doctor's call.
His rehabilitation is going really well right now.  Knock on wood, it will continue to do that.

Q.  As the league looks ahead to Amelia Island, the spring meetings, it sounds like the eight, nine debate on conference games is going to be front and center.  What is your sense on where the league is heading and how do you feel about it?
COACH GOLDEN:  Whatever we do, we need uniformity in terms of cross‑over opponents, out‑of‑conference opponents.  Whatever the decision is, again, I've been in favor of going to nine.  I think it would help balance our schedules.  I like the way the league has grown, the new membership.  Clearly it's going to make us better.  Very attractive markets that have helped our league out.  I'm in favor of playing nine if we can.
But we'll see how it develops here in the next couple weeks.

Q.  You'll see more people in the league more often.  A young man who comes to Miami would get the chance at least once in his career to play teams from the Atlantic.  Is that your primary motivation there?
COACH GOLDEN:  Well, I think the primary motivation is to make sure everybody is playing the same type of schedule, that it's balanced with who we're playing.  Clearly there's a great disparity right now in out‑of‑conference play, not just between the ACC and other leagues, but within our league.
We all need to understand better what the parameters are and what it's going to take ultimately to get into a playoff and what those parameters are.  It's really hard for us as a head coach or as an organization or athletic director to make those decisions on a schedule when we really don't know all the parameters that make it up.

Q.  An update on Brad and (indiscernible).
COACH GOLDEN:  They're busy right now completing all the things that they have to do to graduate, then clearly to make the transition, which is never easy for anybody.  Their focus is on that.  Our focus right now is assisting them doing that, to make sure that transition is seamless as possible.
Once they get there, we'll start talking about football and those things.  But both young men are bright.  They both take care of business off the field which allows them to really have complete focus on what they need to do.
We're excited for them to get here.  I think that's going to help move our program forward and create the competition we need at that spot.
We really don't have a lot of interaction at this point.

Q.  Are you about to get any transfers, maybe senior transfers?  We heard about a kid named Justin Vogel from Florida punting‑wise, and if there might be any at the quarterback position, upperclassmen that don't have to wait a year.
COACH GOLDEN:  I think this time of year we always have our eyes open, are looking for guys that can help improve our team.  We're clearly not in the situation that we were in a year ago when we were just looking for enough guys to get us going.  I think clearly at this point we're looking for guys that can improve our team and we'll evaluate each one of them.
In terms of guys that have already decided they're coming here, until they're ours and are registered, I'm not allowed to comment on them.

Q.  That's including the quarterback position, you can't be specific?
COACH GOLDEN:  Again, I just think in general if there's a young man out there that is leaving a program for whatever reason, has interest in us, we're going to examine it, just like we would do for any position.  Quarterback's no different.

Q.  Are there any changes in the roster we should know about at all, additions or subtractions?
COACH GOLDEN:  There's no changes to the roster right now.  Again, if those come up, we will release them accordingly.  In terms of if a guy's going to leave or another guy wants to come on, until that actually happens, it's impossible for me to comment on it.

Q.  What is the biggest way the team has changed or developed?
COACH GOLDEN:  The biggest way?  I think this was a team that was really focused and improved.  There was a lot of individual improvement which resulted in team improvement in a lot of respects.
It was a team that took care of business off the field.  Hopefully will continue that trend.  Avoid distractions, just continue to improve.
I think overall there were certain aspects of the game that we needed to improve both positionally and then by unit.  I thought we had a very productive spring relative to that.
Ryan Williams' injury notwithstanding, we stayed very healthy through the spring, which is a credit to our trainers, student‑athletes and coaches.

Q.  To train a team to go no‑huddle, is that something you really can only do by practicing that or does it start in summer conditioning workouts?
COACH GOLDEN:  To train a team that goes against the no‑huddle?

Q.  To go no‑huddle.
COACH GOLDEN:  Again, it just depends.  Just because you're no‑huddle doesn't mean you're up‑tempo.  It depends on your communications, how verbose they are, whether or not you want to be that team.
There's just as many teams that are successful huddling these days.  It's just a function of what you're trying to achieve.  If you're trying to snap the ball early, clearly that's going to take a little bit more work.  If you're going no‑huddle, to have the ability to vary your tempos, slow it down if you want, that's a different story.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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