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Golden talks match-up with Irish

Oct 3, 2012, 12:33 PM EDT

Miami v Georgia Tech Getty Images

Al Golden met with the media yesterday to discuss his team’s game against No. 9 Notre Dame. And after listening to Miami’s head coach, the Hurricanes certainly won’t enter Soldier Field overlooking the Irish.

Golden was effusive with his praise for the Irish, applauding the work Brian Kelly and Notre Dame have done in the season’s first month, especially on the defensive side of the ball.

“Really impressive defensive group. I can’t tell you how impressed I am with them,” Golden said of Notre Dame’s defense. “Really strong and rugged up front, 3-4 alignment, Nix at the nose is a load to handle. Linebackers are all big. Te’o in the middle is as good as advertised, holds it all together, and does a great job running the operation for them. Play a lot of cover 2. Make it hard for you to run the ball. Up front as good as anybody I’ve seen in the red zone in a long time. Really good.”

Golden’s comments on the Irish red zone defense actually point out something many of us have overlooked for most of the season. The Irish have been really, really good in the red zone, especially keeping teams out of the end zone.

Notre Dame is ranked second nationally in touchdown efficiency on defense, holding opponents to just two touchdowns on ten attempts, with the 20% clip behind only TCU. Putting that rate into context, if the Irish kept it up, they’d beat Alabama — the nation’s No. 1 team in TD efficiency in 2011 — by 15 percent. No team in the last five years has held opponents below 31.7 percent, putting another datapoint on the board that shows how impressive Bob Diaco’s unit has been playing while breaking in a young secondary.

Offensively, Golden and his coaching staff have prepared for both Everett Golson and Tommy Rees. And while you wouldn’t know it from talking to Irish fans, the Hurricanes staff doesn’t see much difference between the two quarterbacks.

“We’re ready for either Golson or Rees at quarterback,” Golden said. “From our standpoint, we don’t see a whole lot of difference when Golson’s in there as opposed to when Rees is in there. We see a lot of the same throws, a lot of the same reads, formations, and things of that nature. From our standpoint, as far as how they’re formationing things and what they’re calling, we don’t see a whole lot of difference between those two.”

Golden is a smart coach and has a young defense that’s learning on the fly and struggling as it goes along. But this should be a great opportunity for the Irish to let Golson get into the game plan as a runner as well, holding onto the ball in the zone read and breaking some plays on the outside with his feet. Golden was candid about the team’s struggles on defense and knows they’re a work in progress.

“There is no frustration,” Golden said about his young defense. “I know where we are right now, and there’s going to be a day when we all play our best on the same day. As I said to the team, why not today? Why not this week? I don’t know when it’s going to be, but we haven’t done it yet and we’ve won. I want to make sure we don’t lose our aggressiveness. We’re competing right now. You can’t turn on the film and say we’re walking around on defense. We’re not playing as smart as we need to, we’re not executing like we need to, and we need some guys to step up.”

After watching from the press box as Hurricane players huddled around heaters in El Paso and wore neck warmers during their Sun Bowl drubbing against Notre Dame in 2010, Golden did his best to choose his words wisely when asked about potentially cold weather this weekend, with Saturday evening temperatures expected to drop into the 30s.

“How cold are we talking about here, like Green Bay Packer cold?” Golden asked, doing his best to move past a game where the Hurricanes program was in transition. “I think we’ll be alright.  I hope we’re not to the point where we got to huddle around a heater. I hope we’re just tough enough to go out and play, to be honest with you. I don’t mean that facetiously, I mean that. We’re going to be outside for three-and-a-half, four hours against a Top 10 teams. If we have a team that’s thinking about heaters at that time or looking to get sweatshirts and stuff, I’m not doing something right.”

  1. domer77blowsgoats - Oct 3, 2012 at 1:33 PM

    very interesting to hear an opposing coach state there is no difference in game planning between EG and TR

    keeping the formula the same and we win, defense rocks ‘em and no turnovers

    eventually the defense will regress to the red zone mean above so its now up to the play caller(s) to let whoever is behind center loose and put up some points

    i am still in shock that others still think riding EG is acceptable even if it does result in a loss – a good loss though

    but hey – lets base everything on the past and not the present correct? or sacrifice the present for the future? both equally brilliant!!!

    We are 4-0 thats all that matters!!

    • onebigloadofcrap - Oct 3, 2012 at 2:03 PM

      as usual the goat has nothing to add, i read all the posts and never saw anyone say a loss would be ok as long as golsen plays

      • domer77blowsgoats - Oct 3, 2012 at 2:56 PM

        load – time to work on reading comprehension

        its been stated by at least two people multiple occasions, c4evr and jimbasil come to mind…

      • c4evr - Oct 3, 2012 at 3:30 PM

        Thank you Domer77. It’s reaffirming to know that, even though you may disagree with me, you would acknowledge an opposing post without disparaging it… sort of. And for the record, I am still in shock that others have so much unmerited faith in the play caller(s) on this team. If I remember correctly, it was just that cowboy style of offense that led to all of Kelly’s criticism in year 1.

        On a lighter note, this weekend guarantees 2 (maybe 3) teams currently ranked higher will lose. An ND win would certainly move them up – a convincing win to #6 perhaps, a lackluster, pedestrian Michigan type win still gets us to #8 IMO. Again, more than ever, as Te’o goes, so go the Irish. Buckle up for the Duke/Manti show.

      • nudeman - Oct 3, 2012 at 5:24 PM

        “goat has nothing to add”

        Dog bites man

    • ndgoldandblue - Oct 3, 2012 at 2:50 PM

      I thought we were done with this discussion. I’m tired of all the quarterback talk.

  2. seadomer - Oct 3, 2012 at 2:03 PM

    I spent a good part of the morning reading all Miami related articles. Here is a quick summary

    – The opponent is young and hungry, their QB is determined and has the skills.
    – A Miami player said ” … they wanna knock us off”

    My Response: You are assuming that we are lower … @#$@%@#$ canes
    My favorite word today : HeisManti

    Many past seasons, ND sometimes play down to our opponent.
    NOT THIS TIME

    • North of Denver - Oct 3, 2012 at 2:57 PM

      HeisManti… hilarious!

    • ndfaithful - Oct 4, 2012 at 12:00 AM

      HeisManti !

      Much better than “formationing”, but I think I’m going to use formationing in a sentence tomorrow to see if anyone notices.

  3. fightingsundevil - Oct 3, 2012 at 2:20 PM

    “We’re going to be outside for three-and-a-half, four hours”

    Al, you better plan for closer to 4+ hours. I haven’t seen too many games on NBC finish in less than that (although they are getting better).

    Regardless of which QB finishes the game…I am looking forward to another exciting game and for those “beautiful” shamrock series helmets to help reel in the 4 and 5 star recruits :o)

  4. cowboys5x - Oct 3, 2012 at 2:37 PM

    ITS ALL ABOUT THE U AND THEY GOT THERE SWAGGER BACK

    • 808raiderinparadise - Oct 3, 2012 at 2:50 PM

      Yes clearly ??? LoL … On the contrairy I think ND has its glory back, in the works with a record breaking defense while breaking in a REALLY young and imature secondary and a freshmen QB more or less after losing 2 first round players in the NFL draft.

      Because when I think of swagger, I think of a 13-52 loss to Kansas State … The U is back. lmao

      • ndfaithful - Oct 4, 2012 at 12:02 AM

        Kansas State was very good at formationing though.

    • runners00 - Oct 3, 2012 at 4:25 PM

      “there” swagger?

      Study some grammar, 5x, and then come back here.

      • ndfaithful - Oct 4, 2012 at 12:04 AM

        is grammar and speeling reely that important is it?
        Personally, I thinks the least respectable trash talk are English teacher’s perspecives in here.

  5. ndgoldandblue - Oct 3, 2012 at 2:56 PM

    Someone should tell Al Golden to put a sport coat over that shirt and tie. I like the classy look, but his shirts are so oversized that they could be used as sails. I’m afraid a gust of wind is going to pick the guy up and blow him away. I could be wrong, though. Maybe his shirts aren’t that big. Maybe he’s just got a tiny head.

    • ibleedirish - Oct 3, 2012 at 3:53 PM

      thats all day funny

  6. dmac4real - Oct 3, 2012 at 2:57 PM

    “From our standpoint, we don’t see a whole lot of difference when Golson’s in there as opposed to when Rees is in there.”

    This is just dumb. Now im all on the CBK bandwagon (and have been for three years), and typically support what he does. This, however, just blows my mind. Here, you have a gifted QB, with all the athleticism in the entire freaking world, and a past system that caters perfectly to his needs, and you decide to restrict him and play him like the guy with cement blocks for feet and a noodle for an arm. Why, why why why would u ever make Golson into just another version of Tommy Rees. Just let Everett Golson be Everett Golson. Please….

    • 808raiderinparadise - Oct 3, 2012 at 3:58 PM

      True, although Kelly “This is a process” ……

      With Golson on tender watch, the reason the offense is ran largley in fundamental form is just because Rees is on Golson’s heels. Therefore if/when TR steps in the offense doesn’t need to change dramticallly, thats when a 2 QB system fails.

      With each game it will be called more & more towards Golson’s strenghts, I think MIA we will see that big time.

      Maybe Kelly should be opening it up? Then again were 4-0 and I wouldn’t have it any other way, he knows his defense is ELITE and that has helped this whole thing come along.

      Huge Golson supporter for ND program BUT also understand the process ahead for Golson this year is in steps, and this game will be the 1st he will be aksed to make more plays atheltically as we face tough matchups ahead in Stanford, a great BYU defense (terrible offense, but still) and OK and @USC.

      You can’t win everygame 6 to 3 lol

      • dmac4real - Oct 3, 2012 at 9:58 PM

        Cant argue with that.

    • ndgoldandblue - Oct 3, 2012 at 3:59 PM

      Agreed, but this quarterback talk is going nowhere. There are clearly those who want Golson and those who want Rees, and nothing is going to change their minds. I agree with you, but the ndsugar guy that nudeman loves so much never will.

      • nudeman - Oct 3, 2012 at 4:32 PM

        You mean ndsugar, “Mr. Insider”?

        Wish he was still here to tell us 1) how we don’t know how to watch football, 2) what’s really going on in the ND locker room, and 3) maybe just ruminate on life itself for a while.

        Our time together was all too short.
        We laughed, we cried … blah blah

    • stealthy77 - Oct 3, 2012 at 5:02 PM

      It’s not dumb. You gotta play what you got. Rees is a dunder head, and Golson is really green. What kind of offense do you run if the two options you have are dunder head and green? A simple one! Why would you throw an inexperienced kid out there to run some exotic scheme, ad libbing, when you have such a good defense? Yeah, his athleticism will get you some points, but he’ll also make huge mistakes and put your defense in bad situations. And of course, dunder head can’t be trusted with anything.

      So Kelly is stuck playing a vanilla offense hoping the defense can carry the team until Golson develops enough to carry some of the load later in the year. It’s actually a good plan if he’s aiming to get Golson up to speed by game seven or eight.

      And I’m a Canes fan telling you this. LOL!!!

      • dmac4real - Oct 3, 2012 at 9:57 PM

        Here in lies the problem:

        People are losing patience in Golson (which i hardly doubt kelly cares about, but if they players on the other hand, thats not good).

        Why are they losing patience? Becuas Everett Golson’s biggest strength is improvisation (as kelly calls it the “art” of being a QB). As of right now, EG has little to no room to improvise. Thus he has mundane numbers.

      • papadec - Oct 4, 2012 at 1:53 AM

        77 – now that’s an intelligent post from an opposition fan. I think the “vanilla” approach will limit the huge mistakes. The game, vs the weaker Miami defense, will allow ND to open up some additional plays for Golson & the TEs. The TEs had to be used more for blocking vs the tougher defenses, in the last few games.

    • ndfaithful - Oct 4, 2012 at 12:05 AM

      I think he said that to get Nude going.

  7. irishdodger - Oct 3, 2012 at 3:02 PM

    Dah U is not back yet…but neither is ND. The Irish beat some decent, not great, teams that were one-dimensional on offense. Miami will be the first two-dimensional team. While the front 7 has looked great, the green secondary seems to have been overlooked by the press. We have a true freshman RB & a converted WR starting at CB. Additionally, we have a true freshman playing safety. They’ll be tested like never before.

    The U’s D may seem horrible based on their numbers, but I fully expect them to load the box w/ 8-9 defenders to take away our run game & force Golson to beat them. It worked the last three games in stopping our run.

    Don’t get me wrong, ND SHOULD win this game. I just get frustrated hearing the “We’re back!” talk after four games. I still have the memories of being snake bitten in ’98, ’00, ’02, ’05 & ’06…. So slow down on the BCS talk. If Golson & the O struggle against one of the worst ranked Ds in the nation, it will make for a long season. Meanwhile, other RS freshmen/true frosh QBs like Manziel, Mariota, Driscoll & Hundley have seemed to pick up their respective teams’ offenses well enough to be deemed impressive. Why not Golson?

    • dmac4real - Oct 3, 2012 at 3:22 PM

      Agreed.

      Couple things. Mathias Farley is a RS Frosh, so technically not a true freshman

      Also, Why not Golson? Because hes being restricted and people are expecting too much of him considering hes only played four games. If you really look at those other guys, its not that much of a difference.

      Golson and Driskell have extremely comparable stats ( http://espn.go.com/college-football/player/_/id/511889/jeff-driskel ) and Driskell is a soph. Mariota has literally played nobody (Ark St, Fresno State, Tennesee Tech, Arizona. Remember, Golson helped put up 50 on Navy, who is at the very least, as good as those teams). Manziel has looked good, and that may be one exception, but he also plays in an Air Raid offense and has racked up stats against the likes of SMU, South Carolina State, and the dumpster-fire that is Arkansas. Hundley has probably looked better, but if EG put up 2 int to Houton, NDnation would over expose that too.

      Moral: Golson had one bad game. People need to quit over reacting. Hes only played 4 games, and has not looked near as bad as NDNation is making him to be (typical).

      • runners00 - Oct 3, 2012 at 5:28 PM

        It’s not one bad game. We’re 98th in passing efficiency (rating 121 vs. UF’s Driskell, who is 23rd overall with a rating of 158). Our offense is 97th as a team. That said, Golson has done a fair job of avoiding the critical sack or red zone INT, for a the most part. He had some poor play against Michigan, but he hasn’t played poorly for most of the season.

        I think we should be concerned. I mean, if you look at the top 10 or the top 25, most offenses are much better than our offense so far. And if you look at Golson’s performance through four games, I don’t think we’re getting what we thought we’d get. He’s not scrambling nearly as often as I think most of us thought we’d see. While he has a nice arm, he’s missed some open targets downfield.

        It’s four games. There are plenty of opportunities to turn it around. But I think the offensive line has to block much better again this week and we have to get that running game going. That opens up some room for Golson to do his thing.

      • dmac4real - Oct 3, 2012 at 10:01 PM

        I just dont see those problems as all of Golson’s fault (obv the missed open guys is). I see it as a mix of a basic offense, poor oline play, and a lack of explosive players after MMF left and Cierre Wood is for some odd reason not getting pt.

        It might just take time for things to develop.

  8. runners00 - Oct 3, 2012 at 4:32 PM

    The biggest concern I have is on offense. These kids have won three really tough games. They’ve managed to stay in each game despite an anemic offense. Can they go out and run the football effectively? If the offensive line can do this — if it can move people around — we’ve got a great shot because it takes the pressure off the quarterback. And it allows Cierre to be Cierre — to run up and down the field and showcase his speed and tackle-breaking skills. He’s a great back who just needs a hole or two to create a lot of problems for their defense.

    But if we cannot do this — if we have to drop back and pass — we are in trouble. There’s just a lot missing right now in the passing game and Miami isn’t Navy (and Golson hasn’t had just one bad game: we’re 97th in the NCAA in offense and 98th in passing efficiency). They’re bigger and quicker and yes K State put up 50 points on their defense but Miami’s done all right these last couple of weeks. We need the offensive line to move people around and we need to run the ball. And once we do that, Golson will have some protection and will hit short passes. But it’s complicated. Everyone has to play their best.

  9. irishdodger - Oct 3, 2012 at 6:28 PM

    @ DMac:

    I was thinking of Elijah Shumate not Farley. It’s a push…one is a true frosh safety & the other is a ES frosh converted WR.

    Driscoll is a true sophomore, no? How’s that different from Golson? Both were true freshmen last year.

    We better hope our front 7 causes chaos, b/c I think Morris is going to light up our secondary. Everyone assumes ND will roll….I think it’s more likely that Miami rolls ND.

  10. obie1818 - Oct 3, 2012 at 7:52 PM

    This will be the fastest most athletic team we’ve faced this year. Not that their that good. But the D will be tested and we have to score at least mid 20’s to win….. go Irish !!!!

  11. fincity305 - Oct 4, 2012 at 9:20 AM

    Stephen Morris will enter heisman talk after saturday night.. I love both schools, but an efficient quarterback in college football is irreplacable nowadays.. This isnt the 80s, 90s, or even 00s

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