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

meant.

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

guys.”

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

different.

”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

time.”