Al Golden addressed the media via teleconference at 4:30 pm et on Sunday afternoon. Among the topics covered were Stephen Morris’ injury, Al’s disdain for the amount of penalties his team had yesterday, and the thanks he got from walk-ons for getting them into the game yesterday
*questions may be paraphrased in order to make them easier to understand in type
Q: (Tim Reynolds AP) – You played something like 81 different guys last night. How much more goes into grading, and figuring out where to go forward with your twos and threes?
Al: I think the biggest thing was last night, it was crazy, from that standpoint. In addition to what you saw on offense and defense, we were trying to make multiple changes on special teams. The long run that Savannah State had was me trying to get someone into the game, trying to make a substitution, and being late, and not getting the call in. It’s just very hectic on the sidelines in a game last night just because of the number of guys you want to play.Certainly the guys we wanted to evaluate we got a look at and we’ll see how we rank them and how we proceed going forward into South Florida.
Q: (State of The U) How was Deon Bush feeling after the game, after seeing his first action of the season?
Al: I think he’s doing good. He’s going to learn a lot from that game for sure. He ended up playing about 26 plays and a few special teams plays on top of that. It was a good start for him. He came in today and got his treatment. It’s important that we stay on top of that and be proactive. I expect his biggest game to come now, going into South Florida, so hopefully he’ll stay healthy and really start getting back to the type of conditioning so he can play as fast as he wants to.
Q: (Christy Chirinos Sun Sentinel) What is Shane McDermott’s status right now?
Al: Yeah he did something to his foot in the Florida game and initially we thought he would make it back, and then it got to the point where he wasn’t making any progress and we put him on the “out list” Thursday. But he’s doing good. He’s going to see the doctor again [Monday] . I think he’s making a lot of progress. Shane is very tough. So we have to be smart, because if it were up to Shane he’d practice every moment of every day. So we have to be smart here and be prudent in terms of what the doctors say, but we do expect to get him back this week.
Q: (Beast CANEINSIDER) Coach, along those lines, how did Jared Wheeler look?
Al: What a great job he did. Jared played really well. He did well in his combinations and going to the right linebacker. He had good command. He did excellent with his snaps. That’s a very bright kid, who’s tough, who does everything right every day and here comes his opportunity and he was able to capitilize on it. I thought Wheels played really good so I was really happy for him.
Q: (Matt Porter Palm Beach Post) Is Duke’s durability a concern?
Al: No it’s not. He’s going to keep taking licks, that’s the way it is. His reputation precedes him. Kids see him and they want to go after him. It’s Randy Johnson and they want to go after him. He’s going to have to learn to handle that and be smart. At the same time we have to make sure we’re putting him the best position to be safe and be healthy. I think he’s fine. Sometimes he gets those licks and you get him up and you dust him off and he’d come back as hard as could be. Last night we were getting to the point where we were starting to feel comfortable so we wanted to get the rotation going.
Q: (Susan Miller Degnan Miami Herald) What is Stephen Morris’ status today?
Al: He’s doing good. To be honest with you it’s been classified as a bruise now so it’s really not even a sprain, it’s a bone bruise. There’s some soreness and some stiffness or certainly Stephen would have been back last night. Everything is positive. He got through treatments and everything. We’re going to be real careful with him over the next first 48 hours. IT did not swell over night, it didn’t go backwards over night. The young man did a good job getting on top of it last night and early this morning. This was a kid that a year ago we didn’t know was going to play against Florida State until he walked on the field. This is a kid that’s a tough kid and a fast healer, so we expect him to be back very soon.
Q:( Matt Shodell Canesport) Do you expect Stephen back for this coming game?
AL: Oh yeah. Oh yeah. Absolutely. I feel good about it, I really do. Again we might be careful with him tomorrow but our goal is to get him going for our Tuesday practice which obviously is our most demanding practice.
Q: (Chris Stock InsideTheU) Talk about Jimmy Gaines
Al: He always had the intelligence and the leadership and now I think he has the physical attributes to support his game. He’s playing physical on the inside, because he’s big enough, and he’s deceptively fast and his reads are so good that he can play on the perimeter. He’s got great command of the defense. He gets us in the right looks. I’m really please with him. In the plays that he played he was 100% and that’s hard to do. We don’t get that very often. He was 14 for 14.
Q: (Tim Reynolds AP) How would you assess kick coverage and kick return?
Al: We’re going to get a great test this weekend, Tim, with South Florida because they run so well and they are very physical on their kick and kick return units. It’s one of those things where I thought when I turned on the tape of Coley’s long return where it was a deal where he made a couple of guys miss but we didn’t block well. As we turned on the tape, we blocked it really well and there were extraordinary efforts on that and generally when you get a long run like that there are extraordinary efforts. And on the first one that Randy returned, we had practiced that all week, that particular return, and had done it all week, so I was really proud that the guys brought their preparation into the game. On kickoff coverage we were pretty good and then we just started subbing like crazy Tim, and to be honest with you to get guys into the game to protect some of the first and second unit defenders. I think that Pat O’Donnell with the exception of one kick, placed the kicks really well.
Q: (State of the U) Can you talk about Dallas Crawford?
Al: He is really making a lot of progress and is getting really comfortable with his reads. He’s always a guy that’s been unselfish in blocking and on special teams . He’s a great cover guy for us on special teams. He’s accepted his role on special teams and accepted his role in the backfield and because of that he’s getting more touches and more roles. And I was really happy for him last night to get three touchdowns and he’s doing really well with his reads. Overall it was a very good night for him and there was a lot of progress made.
Q. (Christy Chirinos Sun-Sentinel) What are the next steps for Jermaine Grace?
Al: Just to play with a little more quiet mind and a little more poise and the only way that’s going to happen is from taking the preparation and practice to the game, number 1, and number 2, studying the game more. We’re really trying to teach him the process of studying the game. He’s got great mentors around him in Denzel and Jimmy Gaines and Kacy Rodgers, and so many of the other guys on the defense who are trying to teach those guys how to go about your business. Jermaine is very fast. He’s explosive. He plays with his feet under his hips all the time, which gives him excellent bounce and the ability to close and make tackles in the open field. Now we just have to get him to really execute his role better on special teams. He was better in this game than he had been. Between special teams and defense he played 25-30 plays, which was a good outing and now he can see that and take the next step.
Q (Beast CANEINSIDER) Talk about the 10 penalties last night.
Al: I’m annoyed and you know I’m annoyed and you know how to get me on a Sunday and you got me. We really spent a lot of time last week not just showing the things that we did wrong Beast, but showing the penalties we saw in other games during that bye weekend. We came in on Monday and showed a lot of the penalties that other teams had that cost them, and before every accident there’s a warning, and if our guys don’t start heeding the warning, it’s going to cost us. We had some selfish penalties and some foolish penalties. We got to eliminate those. Sometimes you get an aggressive penalty and I understand that. But the one’s that are selfish where you are retaliating with a guy or you’re getting dead ball fouls of that nature. I’ve got no time for. We’ve got to get that cleaned up Beast, there’s no question, and that’s one of the focus points of this week.
Q: (Matt Porter Palm Beach Post) Can you break down Mo Hagens’ game?
Al: He’s doing a good job. Mo, he does a good job blocking inside. What he’s done a good job of this year is blocking on the perimeter. He can catch the ball in the flat for us. He can be a one back. We really didn’t get to it last night because we wanted to get the other backs work, but he can also be a one back if we wanted to go with a bigger group. He’s one of our most unheralded players and he’s also one of our most valuable players, he really is. He has a great attitude. He’s unselfish. Mo’s doing a great job for us.
Q: (Susan Miller Degnan Miami Herald) How does it make you feel being able to get the walk-on’s in the game?
Al: I got a number of texts last night from guys thanking me and being grateful for that opportunity. They work really hard. One of the ways we can get them into the game is on special teams…is on kickoff return or kickoff coverage. Certainly towards the end on offense we were getting those guys in. There were a lot of guys grateful for that opportunity. it doesn’t come around often in college football, where you get that kind of win and can get everybody in. I hope we didn’t miss anybody. The freshmen walkons, we don’t put them in there, so we allow them to retain their redshirt if they want it.
Q: ( Matt Shodell Canesport) Talk about Beau Sandland and his role.
Al: I think he’s very gifted. I think he’s gifted athletically. He’s got loose hips, he can get his body around and he’s got soft hands. The thing we didn’t know is how he was going to be with the run after the catch. Obviously at 260 and with as nifty as he is , he’s doing a lot of good things for us. The one thing that Beau has is vertical speed down the field. So whether he’s running a drag route, a vertical route, a corner route or on a seam, he does have vertical speed. We’re working like crazy to work on his in-line blocking and his line of scrimmage blocking and those types of things. But I was really happy to see his development.
Q: (Chris Stock InsideTheU) Do you think Artie Burns is making that push?
Al: I do. He played over 30 plays and graded out pretty well. We have to get more production from him with pass breakups and tackles and things of that nature but he’s really working hard right now. It’s been a group that has worked hard. I think Artie did a good job in his opportunities and I thought they did a good job as a group. There was a lot of guys that came in and showed a lot of pride when they came in.
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