Miami’s first camp under Golden gets under way
Al Golden has told his Miami Hurricanes plenty about the pace
he’ll demand from them during training camp.
And in their first practice together, he showed them what he
Roaming from spot to spot during various drills, stopping every
so often for a few words with players before moving on to see
another group in a frenetic opening practice, a sweat-drenched
Golden was in constant motion Saturday morning when Miami formally
opened its first training camp under the new coach.
Golden’s plan is simple: He wants the Hurricanes to set the tone
for the season quickly, stressing conditioning and tempo.
”There’s urgency,” Golden said. ”There’s a sense of urgency
in the building. I think the guys know we’ve got to get a lot done
in a short period of time. We’re excited about that. I know
personally I am, just to get back on the field and get around the
The scene for Golden’s opening camp practice at Miami surely
paled to anything he dealt with at Temple, where he turned around a
program that hadn’t won consistently in decades. He became a prime
candidate for plenty of jobs around the nation – including the one
leading the Hurricanes, who turned to him after firing Randy
Shannon following the 2010 regular season.
A couple of dozen photographers and that many reporters showed
up for Day 1, some inadvertently in the coach’s way during one of
the first drills. Golden wanted a portable lift used for
videotaping moved to a different angle and didn’t want to delay
work for even a few seconds during that process.
”Sorry, but we’ve got to get this done,” Golden said, politely
and quickly. ”Right now.”
Miami’s fan base feels the same way.
The Hurricanes are entering their eighth season in the Atlantic
Coast Conference, and a program that dominated the Big East and won
five national championships between 1983 and 2001 have yet to
capture a single title since switching leagues. This year’s group –
as did all the teams that preceded them – say this season will be
”The first day’s always exciting,” center Tyler Horn said
before practice. ”It’s football. You prepare for eight months,
nine months, just to get to Aug. 6, the first day of camp.
Everyone’s really, really excited.”
Even as the sun was rising over Coral Gables around 6:30 a.m.,
there was a clear buzz among the players as they emerged in small
groups from the locker room and headed to a nearby dining hall.
Most wore T-shirts with ”Uphold The Legacy” – a Golden touch –
written on the back along with Miami’s distinct ”U” logo.
”We’ve got to take care of Miami first,” Golden said.
He has been preaching unity, and it’s showing.
A few guys skipped through the parking lot slapping anyone’s
hands they could reach, while a few others clearly were in favor of
a little more sleep and some stayed silent, lost in the music
blaring through their headphones. Jacory Harris and Stephen Morris
– the prime candidates for the starting quarterback job – walked to
breakfast together, chatting the whole way.
Harris and Morris say they want to help the other guy along the
way as they vie for the starting position.
”We don’t worry about it,” Morris said. ”We just get on the
field and execute. That’s the most important thing. … Competition
only brings out the best in you. We’re good friends, so it’s going
to be healthy competition.”
Maryland is the Hurricanes’ first opponent on Sept. 5. However,
the weather is always the primary foe in training camp. By the time
everyone was on the field, shortly after 8 a.m., the combination of
87-degree temperatures and 73-percent humidity made the air feel
like a steamy 99. And that heat index was only going to keep
climbing during the day.
The players didn’t seem to care.
”I’m very excited,” running back Mike James said. ”It’s show