Miami Hurricanes football coach Al Golden refused to talk specifics Monday about redshirt freshman quarterback Kevin Olsen’s reported suspension for failing a drug test. But he did say, in his mind, Olsen was “absolutely’’ committed to being a Hurricane for the long term, and would be at the opening day of fall training camp Tuesday.
He also said Olsen would be available to speak to the media Tuesday, and did nothing but praise him.
When asked if Olsen’s recently reported “suspension for at least one game’’ was linked to last year’s suspension for violating team policy before the Russell Athletic Bowl, the coach said anything related to that subject would have to come from athletic director Blake James or senior associate athletic director Chris Freet.
James declined to comment.
“Kevin has made a lot of progress this summer,’’ Golden said. “He really has. He grew a lot as a person, so I’m anxious to see that [Tuesday]. That’s what I want to see, just how much he’s grown.
“Just being in meetings, I can hear him. He’s more vocal, he’s more confident, understands the system a lot better and has had a lot of opportunities to grow since the spring.’’
The coach reiterated that he has four quarterbacks — Olsen, graduate transfer Jake Heaps and true freshmen Brad Kaaya and Malik Rosier — and that the pool would be cut to two for the starting race after the second scrimmage.
“It should be about two weeks prior to the first game,’’ Golden said. “We’ll cut it from four to two at that point, and then we’ll have two we’ll get ready for the trip to Louisville.’’
He said formerly declared starter Ryan Williams was scheduled to meet with doctors Monday night about the progress of his previously injured right knee. The fifth-year senior tore his anterior cruciate ligament April 4 and underwent reconstructive surgery April 9.
“So rather than me act like I know what I’m talking about,’’ the coach said, “why don’t we just get an idea where he is. He’s had no setbacks. He’s doing great physically. Obviously, his mind has always been tremendous in terms of the game and the leadership from that standpoint.
“Is he going to be a factor in this race in the next five weeks? I honestly don’t know, and it’s not worth speculating on. Let’s see what Dr. [Lee] Kaplan and his staff say, and we’ll stay on track.’’
Golden said he expected everyone who missed time during spring because of injuries or surgery to be “integrated as full go’’ into practice beginning Tuesday.
He said defensive end Anthony Chickillo would participate. Chickillo has had various foot injuries the past year, and most recently has dealt with plantar fasciitis, a painful heel condition.
“The biggest thing with Chick and the reason he’s having success right now’’ is “he’s living in the moment, he’s staying in the process and ignoring everything on the outside. … He’s had a spectacular four months here, maybe five months.’’
Golden also said that kicker Matt Goudis “is fine’’ but “did have a little issue this summer. But everything that I understand is he’s been much better here the last two weeks, so he should be good.’’
The two players who still haven’t reported but are expected: athlete Trayone Gray, out of Miami Carol City; and receiver Darrell Langham out of Lake Worth Santaluces.
When and if Gray arrives, he might play running back, Golden said, adding that at 6-2 and about 208 pounds he could also play receiver or quarterback. “A big, strong kid,’’ the coach said.
Regarding the defense, Golden said the most important factors he’ll look at in measuring progress will be “tackling’’ and “third-down differential — it’s your offense minus your defense differential. When that’s not good, your time of possession is not good. We need to get off the field on defense and we need to convert better on offense.”
Golden said he doesn’t look at incoming defensive end Chad Thomas as a freshman. “We look at Chad as a defensive end. His maturity, his leadership really are well above his years.’’