UM football

Al Golden, Miami Hurricanes ‘grateful’ to play in Russell Athletic Bowl

 

UM coach Al Golden said his squad had a good practice Monday and was ‘excited’ about playing in Saturday’s Russell Athletic Bowl.

 
Miami Hurricane's coach Al Golden runs onto the field by reciever Stacy Coley 3, as they defeat the University of Florida at Sun Life Stdium in Miami Gardens, Florida, September 7, 2013.
Miami Hurricane's coach Al Golden runs onto the field by reciever Stacy Coley 3, as they defeat the University of Florida at Sun Life Stdium in Miami Gardens, Florida, September 7, 2013.
CHARLES TRAINOR JR / MIAMI HERALD STAFF

sdegnan@MiamiHerald.com

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 you’re in the meetings be locked into the meetings. When you’re on the practice field, be focused and execute. If you’re over at Disney or Universal enjoy that. You can’t 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, we’re excited to be here,” he told reporters before that. “We’re grateful.”

Golden said his Hurricanes (9-3) had a good practice at the stadium where they’ll compete against the Cardinals (11-1) at 6:45 p.m. Saturday, but that “there’s no advantage to it or disadvantage. It’s just a function of logistically it worked out best for us. Hopefully we’ll 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 can’t go by [Tuesday] then we’ll 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 Monday’s practice. “He looked fast again, a little reckless out there, which is a good sign.”

Defensive coordinator Mark D’Onofrio said he thought the added practice for the bowl has helped his younger players to improve.

“It’s 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.”

D’Onofrio 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 Reese’s Senior Bowl, the bowl announced Monday. He will join Hurricanes quarterback Stephen Morris and guard Brandon Linder in the game.

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