ORLANDO -- University of Miami football coach Al Golden wore his bowl face Monday at Florida Citrus Bowl Stadium all business just minutes after the Hurricanes had finished their first on-site practice to prepare for Louisville in the Russell Athletic Bowl.
The philosophy is be where you are, Golden said. When youre in the meetings be locked into the meetings. When youre on the practice field, be focused and execute. If youre over at Disney or Universal enjoy that. You cant be intense every minute of every day here. But I think they understand what the goal of the trip is.
Hard to imagine the coach being giddy while his players went on a shopping spree at Best Buy after practice, each of them given a $450 gift card they were obligated to use in one swoop Monday evening. After five minutes answering questions, Golden darted away to join his players waiting on buses.
Man, were excited to be here, he told reporters before that. Were grateful.
Golden said his Hurricanes (9-3) had a good practice at the stadium where theyll compete against the Cardinals (11-1) at 6:45 p.m. Saturday, but that theres no advantage to it or disadvantage. Its just a function of logistically it worked out best for us. Hopefully well keep practicing like we just did.
The Citrus Bowl was resurfaced with artificial turf after the last time the Hurricanes played there against Wisconsin in the Champs Sports Bowl in 2009, when Miami running back Graig Cooper tore knee ligaments on a sandy field full of divots.
The field is great, Golden said.
The coach said the Canes are working through a couple injuries right now, though he neither revealed the players nor their ailments.
Monday is kind of our loose day, he said. If they cant go by [Tuesday] then well have to release it as such.
One formerly injured player who has improved considerably, according to offensive coordinator James Coley, is receiver Phillip Dorsett. Dorsett partially tore the medial collateral ligament of his left knee during the North Carolina game Oct. 17.
Coley confirmed that Dorsett had gotten over his mental hurdle and is ready to play Saturday. I saw it for the first time, him pushing and running, the coach said of Mondays practice. He looked fast again, a little reckless out there, which is a good sign.
Defensive coordinator Mark DOnofrio said he thought the added practice for the bowl has helped his younger players to improve.
Its a long season for freshmen, he said. They have lulls, hit the wall so to speak at times. They all do it at different times. I think it was a chance to get those guys revived and really get them taught and see their talent come out. We were able to consistently do the same things over a period of time.
DOnofrio mentioned freshman safety Jamal Carter, redshirt freshman Larry Hope, freshman linebacker Jermaine Grace and sophomore linebacker Raphael Kirby as showing the most improvement.
• Hurricanes senior offensive tackle Seantrel Henderson accepted an invitation to play in the 2014 Reeses Senior Bowl, the bowl announced Monday. He will join Hurricanes quarterback Stephen Morris and guard Brandon Linder in the game.