The Hurricanes counted Wednesday as the final day of fall camp before they break Thursday for a welcomed day off and then begin studying for Boston College on Friday.
And while Wednesday might have been the fall-camp finale, so to speak, it also served as the opening day of school.
Camp stretched over a 20-day period with 23 practices, including five two-a-day sessions.
“They’re all laughing as they come out here [to practice] because we’re in helmets and they’re off tomorrow and they know,” UM coach Al Golden said. “The grind is over, but the process endures. Stay to it. Don’t worry about the outside.
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“Just keep checking boxes — follow the prescription and just keep checking boxes. Put your head down, and the rest of it will take care of itself.”
Hitting the books, too
Golden was asked how much he talks about academics and their importance. The NCAA reported in June that UM football, baseball, women’s cross country, women’s golf and men’s diving teams were among the most successful in the nation. The UM football program has finished in the top 10 percent nationally in Academic Progress Rates for three consecutive years
“We always talk about it,” he said, “because ultimately, if you want to be in the running for your conference championship in November, you can’t have a bunch of guys that got behind in school. You can’t. You can’t have guys pulling all-nighters as you’re coming down the home stretch. You can’t have guys that don’t take care of their readings or their assignments early in the season, or put things off — procrastinate. Now you’re sitting there trying to get them ready, trying to get them healthy, trying to get them rested, and they’re pulling all-nighters or falling behind in classes and they have to do extra work.
“We don’t want to do that. We just want to be methodical in our approach and take care of business every day.”
And then came the obvious question.
Did you ever pull an all-nighter at Penn State?
“I did, actually,” Golden answered. “Yeah, I did.”
More than one?
“I did,” he said, grinning. “I went from a D to a C-minus.
“I gotta go guys!”
Golden has complained in the past week of the players on defense needing to assert themselves and become leaders. On Wednesday, he said they had begun to do just that.
“I see guys stepping up,” the coach said. He cited cornerback Brandon McGee, safety Vaughn Telemaque and linebacker Ramon Buchanan as three players he wanted to continue evolving. He also mentioned defensive ends Shayon Green and Anthony Chickillo and linebacker Denzel Perryman.
“Denzel’s done a nice job,” Golden said, “so hopefully he’s continue to lead for us.’’
The coach added that McGee had his best day of fall camp Tuesday.