New head football coach Al Golden took part in an all-student media press conference Monday night in Studio C of the School of Communication. After fielding questions for almost an hour, here are five things that can be taken away from Golden’s comments.
1. It’s all about the brand
Golden came from Temple University, where the coaching staff had to sell themselves as mentors to recruits. At the University of Miami, it’s more about re-establishing the brand and then selling the program’s culture to prospective players. Although Florida and Florida State have had more recent recruiting success, Golden doesn’t think the Hurricane brand has diminished. He believes that only USC rivals UM’s rich and diverse experience.
“There are a lot of roots here,” Golden said. “The tradition speaks for itself. The uniqueness of the University of Miami, Coral Gables setting has all the amenities of a college town, but 25 minutes away from a world-class international city. We’re just delivering the mail and message again.”
2. Bring back the former players
At his introduction as the new head coach in December, Golden said he wanted to reach out to the former players. Quite a few have already shown up on campus, and he expects more to follow suit when spring ball starts. Former head coaches Jimmy Johnson and Howard Schnellenberger have reached out to Golden.
“It’s been great,” Golden said. “I’m glad that they’re back and around. They were for years the X Factor here by name and visibility. We’re going to keep that going and make that stronger moving forward.”
3. There is no typical day
That was Golden’s response to what his daily routine consists of. One thing has remained consistent: Over the past five years his alarm clock goes off every day at 4:45 a.m. He gets to his office between 5:15 and 5:30 a.m. and uses that as his “quiet time” to get things done, which includes replying to alumni, signing autographs and planning out the day. His entire staff is in by 7 a.m. and they don’t break until lunch. After, they come back for two to three more hours of spring preparation and a couple hours of recruiting to cap the night.
“The operation is paramount… that’s the biggest component because in the end it’s your culture,” Golden said. “Who you are every day is your operation.”
4. His philosophy
From the game film he has seen, Golden wants to break away from a team that turns the ball over and commits penalties. Special teams will be a priority and not just for starters. Everyone on the team will contribute.
“I think by playing a lot of people you get better esprit de corps; there’s more enthusiasm, more passion, more people preparing to actually get in the game,” Golden said. So far the intensity level seems to be the biggest difference.
“I think at the end of the day I want to have a team that’s known as a tough team,” he said. “Toughness is a skill and I think you can develop toughness and a competitive and mental toughess that I think we need to improve upon.”
5. Play by the rules
Although he did not elaborate on specific rules, (hair length, jewelry, etc.), Golden did say that he has implemented some that the team is getting accustomed to.
“We have a Las Vegas rule: What happens in Hecht Center stays there… We need to learn that inner sanctum has to be us and we can’t let anybody in there, even the media, because then we’ll have division within,” Golden said.
Christina De Nicola may be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.