Originally posted on Fox Sports Florida  |  Last updated 10/7/12
A day after being handed yet another ugly beating by a top 25 team, Al Golden, the University of Miamis second-year coach, wasnt looking for excuses, sympathy or what ifs. He was looking ahead. We lost to the sixth- and seventh-ranked teams in the country right now, on the road, Golden said, referring to Kansas State and Notre Dame, respectively, and now we have a chance to be home for the next month, so thats what were excited about. The good news for Miami (4-2, 3-0 in the Atlantic Coast Conference) is its next four games hosting North Carolina on Saturday, hosting No. 12 Florida State on Oct. 20, hosting Virginia Tech on Nov. 1, and visiting Virginia on Nov. 10 are against ACC opponents. The Hurricanes are the only 3-0 team in the conference, and to this point theyve positioned themselves well to win the Coastal Division and get into the ACC title game for the first time since joining the league in 2004. But thats far from a sure thing. What do they say? Golden said, using a golf reference, The tournament doesnt start until the back nine on Sunday? Well guess what? We just finished No. 9. Were getting ready to make the turn. Miami is obviously nowhere close to matching up against the nations best. It was blasted on Sept. 8 52-13 by sixth-ranked Kansas State (who was ranked No. 21 at the time), and then by now seventh-ranked Notre Dame 41-3 on Saturday at Chicagos Soldier Field. But Golden said his team was in a better mindset for the Notre Dame game than it was for Kansas State a month earlier. It felt so much different going into it, he said. We approached it as a much more mature team our look in the lockerroom, our look in the pre-game, even as we started the game. Our defense was really hanging in there in the first half. They gave us a chance to make some things happen, and we didnt make it happen. The young Hurricanes, who list 26 freshmen and sophomores among the 44 players on their two-deep depth chart, froze in the bright lights of the nationally televised game against the Fighting Irish. When they werent self-destructing with unforced errors, they were being manhandled to the tune of allowing 587 yards, 376 of those on the ground. Yes, Golden admitted, perhaps the game might have turned out differently if wide receiver Phillip Dorsett had caught one of those two potential touchdown passes he dropped in the first quarter. Or if Miami hadnt committed that crucial roughing the punter penalty that Notre Dame turned into its first touchdown, or if the Hurricanes hadnt had a touchdown run by quarterback Stephen Morris called back due to penalty, or if the Canes hadnt been called for 76 yards in penalties. The list goes on. Any of those things change and its certainly a different game, Golden said. I dont know if we would have played well enough to win the game, (but) I certainly know that it wouldnt have ended up the way it did. Miami had major breakdowns in all three phases against Notre Dame. The offense dropped six passes. The defense, which ranks among the nations worst in most major statistical categories, lived down to its billing by allowing Notre Dame to hold the ball for 39 minutes of the 60-minute game. The Fighting Irish had two 100-yard rushers. And on special teams, kicker Jake Wieclaw misfired on a 47-yard field goal attempt. The previously reliable senior, a Lou Groza Award semifinalist last year, has now missed five of his last six field goal attempts. Now you can better understand why Golden has opted to look ahead. I keep telling them theres going to be a day were all going to be on the same page, and were going to turn that corner, he said. I dont know when thats going to be, its up to them, but weve got to keep working on it.
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