Miami Hurricanes Coach Al Golden talks publicly for first time regarding Penn State situation

Coach Al Golden
Coach Al Golden
Al Diaz / Miami Herald Staff

Al Golden is still the head football coach of the Miami Hurricanes, in case you had the longest sleep of your life Sunday night.

He is not going to Penn State.

And for those who didn’t listen to Golden at 6:30 a.m. Monday in a WQAM radio interview with Joe Rose, here’s the entire part of the interview regarding Penn State – word for word.

Joe Rose: “Coach, how are you?”

Al Golden: “Good Joe, how you doing today.’’ (Joe Rose laughs a lot here)

Rose: “What was your weekend like?”

Golden: “Well, one of the reasons I released a statement yesterday was because speculation had grown so much that I thought I would be able to get to my press conference or even this conversation with you on Monday but I opted to release a statement so that we could move forward here.’’

Rose: “Penn State comes down here. The search committee comes down to interview you. Obviously you went to school there. You were captain of the football team. You coached there. You did recruiting from there. Did you ever feel like when they were coming down, did you feel like you were ever close to taking the job? Could you just kind of help Canes fans out [with] what your whole thinking process was?”

Golden: “The thing is, over the last couple years I haven’t responded to any of this speculation of any school. Last year I was in a recruit’s home and they had me going to another school. The biggest thing is I’m not a candidate for another position and I stand behind the statement I made yesterday. I was in the officeThursday and Friday evaluating every aspect of the program and I’m excited to move forward.’’

Rose: “We’ll close it up. Obviously you’ve got a great reputation up there, Coach. I think everybody knows that. I understood if you did meet with them for those reasons. Hell, you met your wife there. I think you met your wife in the sports department up there. So, obviously it’s a special place for you. Was it ever, like, you had to be curious about the job, Coach, a little bit, yes?”

Golden: “Joe, I just can’t get, again, from a professional standout I’ve never discussed any other positions. As I said yesterday, I’m not a candidate. I’m excited to be here. I’m eager to welcome our guys back. We have incoming guys coming in Wednesday. The whole staff returns today. We’ve got a staff meeting here in a little while and we’re moving forward.’’

Rose: “Were you aware this weekend of all the stuff that was out there both up in Happy Valley and that area and down here and all the different reports on you?

Golden: “I became aware of it with [athletic director] Blake [James]. There’s no way we’ll be able to get to this conversation. Obviously that’s why we released the statement. So, we’re moving forward and back at work today.’’

When asked specifically about his defensive coordinator Mark D’Onofrio, who has gotten intense heat from fans regarding UM’s struggling defense, Golden did not talk specifically about the coach. He cited lots of areas in which the Canes have improved since he’s been there, and other areas in which they need improvement.

Golden was asked if he expected to make changes in either philosophy or coaching staff and if he goes back and evaluates everything.

“There’s no question that from the last game – I worked on it Monday and Tuesday of last week and I worked on it again Thursday and Friday,’’ he said. “I look at everything.’’

Golden then asked Rose if he had time to give his full answer and Rose said he had “plenty of time.’’

Golden: “The biggest thing is, we’re not coming from a place of 11 or 13 wins. We’re coming from basically, as you know, what amounted to be a train wreck two years ago and we’re on an upward trend.

“We won nine games. And continuity to me – you know, people think change is the answer. I want to get at the same place everybody else wants to get. I just believe continuity, the progress that we’re making is really important. The recruiting that we’re making, all of that is on an upward trend. If we look at the defense, for instance, again, we’re not where we want to be.’’

Golden then cited lots of statistical ranking trends and how UM had moved up in several of them, offensively and defensively.

“What do you say about the job that your defensive coordinator Mark D’Onofrio has done, Coach?’’

Golden: “I just said it. The trend right now is positive.

“First of all, it’s impossible for me to say anything without somebody saying I’m making an excuse. No. 1, I’m responsible for everything in the building. I always will be. And that means whether a young man makes a bad decision in the community, or someone is not making a tackle on the field or not lifting or running or doing the things that they need to do. I’m responsible for it.’’

The coach went on to talk about the past two years and the progress and where there needs to be improvement, and that he will tackle fixing the problems.

“If it was not a positive trend right now then I would go in a different direction. But the reality is that I like the direction we’re going as a program overall. I’ve looked at all three of these entities and obviously the weight room as well and recruiting and every facet of the program.’’

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