Tag:ACC Media Day
Posted on: July 28, 2011 1:59 pm

Al Golden is tired of talking about 'swagger'

Posted by Chip Patterson

Emptying out the notebook from the ACC Football Kickoff earlier this week:

Miami head coach Al Golden on "Swagger":

"I'm so tired of talking about 'swagger.,'" Golden answered. "Swagger, as it was said to me by Alonzo Highsmith and so many of the other former players, was the by-product. It wasn't the product, it was the by-product.

"Just like throwing up 'the U' is the by-product, someone's making money off that. They sell t-shirts on that. For us, the swagger was developed from demonstrated performance, having a chip on your shoulder, and from work ethic. From being the hardest working team and being a tough team, playing with passion. All of the sudden you have people saying Miami plays with swagger.

"It only takes a couple years where you have kids that think you put on the uniform and automatically get swagger because you wear 'the U.' But they don't want to do the other things that made the U special. We have to get back to that, we have to get back to doing all those little things."

Maryland head coach Randy Edsall on his practice philosophy, and how the Terps reaction to the new speed:

"I'm not one of these guys that likes to waste a lot of time in practice," said Edsall. "Our practices are high tempo. I think if you ask our kids I think that was a shock to them, in terms of how we practice and how fast we practice. It's an up-tempo practice where we are going to get a lot of reps in and we're going to coach them on the run. Do our explaining in the meetings, but on the field we're constantly moving."

Georgia Tech head coach Paul Johnson on the defensive struggles in the unit's first year under Al Groh:

"I think there were growing pains. With guys learning the terminology and the expectation level. But I'm excited about it, I think Al's [Groh] got a package. He's got a great reputation as being a defensive coach, and it's pretty evident if you're around the man for long he understands defense. I think that we'll have a good defense, their going to get better."

For more ACC Coverage, including much more from the ACC Football Kickoff in Pinehurst cruise over to the ACC Blog.
Posted on: July 26, 2011 6:19 pm
Edited on: July 29, 2011 10:21 am

PODCAST: Revisiting ACC Media Days

Posted by Chip Patterson

Finally back from the ACC Football Kickoff in Pinehurst, N.C., I sat down with Adam Aizer and J. Darin Darst to rehash some of the lessons we learned, best stories from the event, and take some time to preview the upcoming season in the ACC. From my experience playing Pinehurst No. 4 with Maryland quarterback Danny O'Brien to an introduction to "Jimbo-isms," we peel back the curtain on a conference in transition.

10 of the 12 teams in the conference have undergone a coaching change since 2007, and now the conference seeks to break through on the national stage. Adam, Darin, and I discuss how important non-conference matchups are for that breakthrough, and identify the most important showdown on the 2011 schedule.

Tune in below and don't forget to subscribe to the College Football Podcast on iTunes.

Posted on: July 26, 2011 5:00 pm
Edited on: July 26, 2011 5:09 pm

Miami 'buying in' to Al Golden's new culture

Posted by Chip Patterson

PINEHURST, N.C. - Miami head coach Al Golden is not an unfamiliar character to the college football scene. The former Penn State tight end has surrounded himself with football his entire life, never taking a year off from being a player, graduate assistant, assistant or head coach. But his arrival in Coral Gables to coach the Hurricanes marks his first stop as the head coach of a FBS program, not to mention one with the reputation of Miami.

Golden has no direct ties to the University of Miami, unlike his predecessor Randy Shannon. Shannon played for and coached for the Hurricanes for 21 years, most notably being a starting linebacker on the 1987 championship team. But once promoted to head coach, the Hurricanes began to slide into an uncommon mediocrity. Shannon's recruiting classes were among the best in the country, but his career record was just 28-22. Shannon was a great defensive coordinator for the Hurricanes, and will likely find himself on the sidelines again in the future. But what intangibles will Golden bring to the job to jump-start a sputtering Miami program?

"He's a disciplinarian, but he's a players' coach as well, explained senior center Tyler Horn. "He expects a lot from us, but none of his expectations are out reach. There's no reason we can't do things like go to class, and there is a zero tolerance policy."

Saying things like "going to class" seem foolish is correct, but it's also pretty foolish to be one of the most penalized teams in the nation. Last season, the Hurricanes shot themselves in the foot time and again because of a mental lapse that resulted in a costly flag. Golden is willing to accept a few holding penalties here and there, but the flagrant flags and personal fouls is where the Hurricanes' new coach draws the line. He believes that discipline is a big part of those penalties, and in order to develop proper technique and eliminate those lapses it will take some time and hard effort.

"I'm very process-oriented," Golden said. "I believe in putting my head down and going to work, doing the things that we need to do on a daily basis as an organization to improve."

For the Hurricanes, that process began in spring practice. Former Hurricanes like Michael Irvin traveled down to South Florida to help Golden kick-start the new attitude for Miami football. That hard-nosed attitude continued after spring practice as the Canes went through a rigorous offseason training program. There were horror stories floating around players' circles about guys running and working harder than ever, often pushing themselves to the point of having to stop to vomit. This kind of story happens at football camps everywhere, but it was apparently noteworthy enough to be pointed out by the players. Senior linebacker Sean Spence did not have any puke stories, but he did say on Sunday that he feels the team is in the best shape of their lives right now.

That team, particularly Spence and the senior class, is made up of All-Everything-caliber recruits. It's a class that was heralded upon arrival, but has yet to see a season with double-digit wins. Golden said that he's been through four different regime changes since he started coaching, and more than any other situation, this group of Miami seniors have shown total support for the new staff.

"The seniors are usually the ones that spit you out, who don't buy in, are skeptical and mistrust," said Golden. "This group pretty much has said 'since we got here, here's what we came here to do. We haven't done it, we're running out of time, show us how to get there. We'll do whatever you need us to do.'"

Golden's description of the seniors' attitude echoed the sentiments from Tyler Horn the day before.

"We realized last year 7-6 just wasn't going to cut it," Horn said. "Obviously we were doing something wrong. We realize that now."

So here is their chance. Players like Horn, Spence, Jacory Harris, Travis Benjamin, Harland Gunn, Ramon Buchannan and so many more won't have another chance to accomplish their goals in a Miami uniform. Since 2006, Miami has never even finished higher than 3rd place in the Coastal Division. With Virginia Tech and Georgia Tech looking to break in new quarterbacks and re-stock defenses; Miami could be a dark horse for their first Coastal Division crown in 2011.

Miami has played for, and won, more national championships than any team in the ACC. The only problem is that none of it has happened since joining the ACC. No one expects the Hurricanes to be title contenders in 2011, but competing for a conference crown can certainly be a great start.
Posted on: July 26, 2011 12:28 pm
Edited on: July 26, 2011 12:29 pm

Davis: Randy Shannon will get back into coaching

Posted by Chip Patterson

When Butch Davis resigned as head coach of the Cleveland Browns, the former Miami head man decided he would take some time away from coaching. At the ACC Football Kickoff on Monday, Davis told stories of how NFL coaches such as Dick Vermeil, Herm Edwards. and many others invited him to come sit in on team activities. The process of watching how "another coach skins the cat" (as he so eloquently put it), allows for a head coach to learn a little more about his own process and tactics.

That was the reason, Davis explained, he offered the same opportunity to recently removed Miami head coach Randy Shannon. The two have been friends for some time, and Davis said that Shannon visited with the team for a few days in the spring to sit-in on practice and other activities. As for Shannon's return to the sideline?

"[Shannon] will get back into coaching," Davis remarked. "He won't be out long."
Posted on: July 25, 2011 8:54 pm

Clemson getting used to pace of new offense

Posted by Chip Patterson

When Clemson head coach Dabo Swinney brought in Chad Morris to be the program's new offensive coordinator, everyone suspected the change would result in a new fast-paced offense for the Tigers. The high-octane attack that Morris used at Tulsa in 2010 produced 1,006 plays across the season. That total not only would not only put them near the top of the ACC, but was also significantly higher than Clemson's 865 play count.

But that kind of attack requires top-notch conditioning by everyone on offense, particularly the offensive line. Clemson center Dalton Freeman is the new ring leader of an offensive line that will be expected to hustle down the field after every play, living little-to-no time between whistle and snap. Freeman explained that getting used to Morris' new system has not been easy.

"We've always been a no-huddle team, but it was a little bit sluggish, Freeman explained. "I'll say we were a little bit faster than a team that huddled up, but we were never real up-tempo real upbeat. Now as soon as the whistle blows the play dead, I'm running up to the ball getting down, and we're moving. Conditioning-wise we've had to be in a lot better shape. Going into camp we're gonna try to really stretch ourselves so that the game feels like slow motion."

Morris was hired shortly after the season ended in a disappointing bowl loss to South Florida. The transition from the old system to the high-stress work ethic they are planning for camp began when the team reported to spring practice.

"We started out in the spring pretty slow compared to where we got to at the end," Freeman recalled. When we started out, [Morris] said 'this is half speed' and I was like 'you gotta be kidding me, this is full speed.' So for us to be able to get to where we want to be we have to be in great shape. That's coming together."

Of course another big part of that offense's production will be reliant on the quarterback play. Sophomore Tajh Boyd emerged from spring practice as the starting quarterback, but his inconsistencies from 2010 have Tiger fans also keeping an eye on touted freshman Cole Stoudt. There will be pressure on Boyd to put up big numbers in the system early, which is unfortunate considering the Tigers' schedule. Clemson faces Auburn, Florida State, and faces Virginia Tech in Blacksburg all in the first month of the season. Those are three tough defenses to face, even if they weren't breaking in a new offense.
Posted on: July 25, 2011 8:52 pm

Duke avoiding big game hype in 2011

Posted by Chip Patterson

Since head coach David Cutcliffe's arrival in Durham, Duke has made a habit of trying to schedule some big-time non-conference opponents. Playing a top-notch opponent presents the Blue Devils a great chance to test themselves, and possibly pull off an upset that could boost the program's status (even if temporarily) on a national scale.

But last season, the Blue Devils seemed to take a step back after defending champion Alabama put a 62-13 hurting on them on their home turf.

"Physically, we probably got beat up a little bit," Duke quarterback Sean Renfree explained. "They are more physically dominating than any team we saw. To get beat like that, it's tough to come back from. It took us a while to get our confidence back."

The Blue Devils will take on a similar challenge this fall, hosting Stanford on the second weekend of the season. The Cardinal, led by returning quarterback Andrew Luck, will likely be ranked in the top five heading into the season. However, Renfree predicts that the team will have a better reaction to the high-caliber opponent.

"I think we're going to be more prepared," Renfree said. "I think everyone on the team including myself got a little caught up in the hype. At the end of the day we have to remember we are just playing another team. I'm not taking anything away from Stanford at all, they are a very good team, but you can't get caught up in the hype."

Renfree, a junior, took a while to get comfortable in the starting quarterback role but seemed to hit a stride by the end of the season. A pro-style passer with a big arm, also said that he thought Andrew Luck's return was "good for the game of college football."

RELATED: At the same table, Duke safety Matt Daniel caught my ear referencing himself in third person. What really caught my ear? "Matt Daniels loves the rain," the senior safety told a group of reporters. I was intrigued, and made a note. Thankfully Jim Young of the ACC Sports Journal caught the entire explanation. Why does he love the rain? "Because it soothes me."

Of course it does.
Posted on: July 25, 2011 8:51 pm

BC's Montel Harris still holds grudge against FSU

Posted by Chip Patterson

When it came time for the media to select the Preseason ACC Player of the Year, there was overwhelming support forBoston College running back Montel Harris. It didn't come as a huge surprise, the senior is 1,003 yards away from becoming the conference's all-time leading rusher. Harris recorded 1,242 yards in 2010, and 1,457 the season before that - so it's not unreasonable to think that he'll chase the record if he can stay healthy. But even with the record in his sights, Harris says that the backfield should be much more diverse in 2011.

"I'm not expecting 30 carries a game, we've got too many good running backs with myself, Harris told media on Sunday. "We should be splitting carries and also spreading the ball around a lot. You should see a lot of new faces in the end zone this year."

But one game where Harris might not mind seeing 30 carries will be against Florida State. Harris has played exceptionally well against the Seminoles across his career, and on Sunday he revealed one of the inspirations for his extra effort.

"That's my dad's favorite team," Harris said about Florida State. "I always wanted to put put the best numbers I can against them to make him proud. Even though I didn't get to go to his favorite team.

"I would think of it as a chip on my shoulder, they didn't even give me a look so I wanted to show them what they were missing every time we played them."

He'll get his chance to shine against the Seminoles on national television this season. Florida State travels to Chestnut Hill to play the Eagles in primetime on Thursday night in early November. Hindsight is 20-20, and I guarantee that more that just Florida State wishes they would have offered a scholarship to the Jacksonville, FL native. Nationally, Harris' 3,600 career rushing yards leads all returning players heading into the 2011 season.
Posted on: July 25, 2011 7:19 pm

Golden: QB decision coming Aug. 19-22

Posted by Chip Patterson

It took no time at all for new Miami head coach Al Golden to get a question about the ongoing quarterback battle between Jacory Harris and Stephen Morris. The battle had no clear-cut winner in the spring, and Golden announced before the offseason that it would continue into spring camp. Although the question is the same, at least this time Golden was able to give Hurricanes fans an idea of when the decision would be made.

"I think we're going to allow the quarterbacks to continue to compete, and we'll make a determination sometime between 19th and 22nd of August," Golden explained to the assembled media at the ACC Football Kickoff on Monday. "If one distinguishes himself prior to that time I'm not afraid to name one sooner. I'm going to let them compete and go from there."

The reason for that deadline is that it coincides with the beginning of school and the end of fall camp. Miami's first matchup will be a Labor Day primetime showdown against Maryland, and the staff would like to have decided on a starter by the time game preparations begin.

While the beginning of fall camp at Miami will re-start the quarterback battle, it will begin likely without two big-name lineman who have been dealing with injuries. Defensive tackle Marcus Forston is still recovering from surgery, but there were some question as to why offensive tackle Seantrel Henderson was also included in that group.

"Seantrel has a back issue that has been bothering him since the middle of March, Golden explained. "That's something that we've been dealing with."

Apparently, that back problem has been an issue that has been connected to his weight. Golden was pleased to report that Henderson was down to 341 pounds (from 388), and has developed some maturity as he has been faced with these health issues. According to Golden, both players will be out 7-10 days.
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