After the Hurricanes’ 52-45 victory at Duke ended his team’s 2012 campaign, Miami coach Al Golden reiterated how much the 17 seniors meant to the program — especially in light of them sacrificing bowl games that would have ended their last two seasons with fun weeks as rewards.
Usually available Sunday for a game-follow teleconference, Golden will instead meet with the media Tuesday to wrap up the season and look ahead to 2013.
“We’ve given up a lot,” Golden said after the game. “We gave up a bowl game last year. We’ve given up a bowl game this year. Now we’ve given up a [postseason] game in Charlotte [N.C.] — a championship in Charlotte.
“We’ve given up three games in the postseason to right the ship, and we’re really grateful to the team and the seniors. What a huge sacrifice when you think about it. They didn’t ask for it. They led us all week. This was tough. Don’t diminish for a second how hard it is to get the guys motivated and focused [after the bowl-ban announcement].
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“We needed that senior leadership and the seniors did it. I thought they represented the program and the university with class — and an incredible amount of integrity. They didn’t displace anything on anybody else. They didn’t point the finger — years past or anything.
“It’s a credit to them that we won because emotionally we didn’t have much in the tank.”
Running back Mike James and cornerback Brandon McGee, the lone senior starters on offense and defense, respectively, will now be among those who begin training for the NFL Draft, scheduled for April 25-27.
“We’re elated,” McGee said Saturday after leaving his teammates to speak to the media. “That locker room is full of energy right now and guys aren’t down on themselves. We understand the circumstances and we have to deal with them and move forward as a program.”
James said he’ll begin his strength and conditioning program Monday.
“I’ve got to find a job now,” James said, laughing.
According to UM, James and senior safety Vaughn Telemaque each saw action for the Hurricanes for the 50th time in their careers, tying for the fourth-most games played in program history. James played in all 50 games in his career, tying for the second-most consecutive at Miami.
Senior Jake Wieclaw, who also dreams of playing in the NFL, said recently that he “absolutely” felt “blessed” to have been able to go to three bowl games during his UM career — the Emerald in San Francisco, the Champs Sports in Orlando and the Sun in El Paso.
“Now that it’s coming to an end you realize how fortunate you are,” he said. “How many people get to play on a Division I football team?”
Wieclaw had noted that since UM won the Atlantic Coast Conference’s Coastal Division, which it accomplished with the win over Duke, “we can say we’ve done something that has never been done at the University of Miami. There aren’t a lot of things that haven’t been done at UM, so that would be pretty cool.”
Miami scored at least 40 points for the third consecutive game and for the sixth time in 2012.
But the UM sports communications office mistakenly reported that the Hurricanes’ 646 yards Saturday were the third-most in program history and most since UM’s 689 yards against UCLA in 1998.
Actually, UM produced 651 total yards against North Carolina State on Sept. 29.
That result is the third-best in UM history, behind the 689 against UCLA and the 655 against Boston College in 1984.
The 646 yards gained this past weekend would stand as fourth-most in school history.