University of Miami

Al Golden: Miami Hurricanes must not ‘freelance’ against Gators

If given the chance, University of Miami coach Al Golden said Saturday he’d like to continue playing the Florida Gators on a more regular basis.

“Oh yeah,” Golden said a day after the Hurricanes defeated Florida Atlantic University 34-6 in their home opener. “I don’t think there’s any question. We’re going to continue to play those types of games with Nebraska coming up [at Lincoln in 2014] and Notre Dame coming up [at South Bend, Ind., in 2016].

“It has great significance in the state, so I would be for it for sure.’’

The Hurricanes meet the 10th-ranked Gators — 24-6 winners in their opener against Toledo — noon Saturday at Sun Life Stadium, the last game scheduled between the two teams.

Except for 1943, the teams met every year from 1938 through 1987. Since then, they have met once in the Sugar Bowl in 2001 (2000 season), and in Gainesville in 2002, Miami in 2003, in the Peach Bowl in 2004 and at Gainesville in 2008.

Since 2000, UM is 4-1 — and 28-26 overall.

The regular-season series was discontinued after 1987 because Florida, facing more Southeastern Conference games, wanted to play a softer nonconference schedule.

Though Golden is all for playing the Gators, he said he wasn’t watching them as they defeated Toledo. That will come in film rooms all week.

“We’re finishing up our meetings right now with the kids reviewing [Friday] night’s game,” he said in his post-FAU teleconference.

“The biggest thing that jumps out to me is we had too many guys freelance, and I don’t mean that in a derogatory sense. You can’t abandon your technique and you have to bring your skills to the game, not just your talent. We had good effort. Guys were flying around. We were unselfish in terms of finishing plays and blocking and doing all the little things you need to do to make explosive runs.

“[But] we’ve got to get back to the techniques that we’re teaching — hitting our landmarks as running backs, using our techniques as corners, blocking the proper angles as offensive linemen.”

Other noteworthy issues that Golden addressed:

• Receiver Rashawn Scott’s shoulder or collarbone injury, which appeared to be bad, was not specified. “No update,” Golden said, adding that everyone else, including offensive lineman Jon Feliciano and tailback Duke Johnson (tested for concussion on the sideline), was fine.

• The “smooth” play-calling job by new offensive coordinator James Coley. “He was ahead of it all the time. He had great poise throughout. We never were in search of a call or late with a call. He had good presence. I thought he called a good game.”

• The freshmen who especially impressed him were linebacker Alex Figueroa (five tackles), cornerback Artie Burns (two tackles), receiver Stacy Coley because of his composure after dropping two probable touchdown passes, and tailback Gus Edwards.

• The increased pass rush. UM had five sacks, compared with 13 for all of last season. “We lost contain a couple of times but certainly they flushed the quarterback out of the pocket. We were aggressive and brought energy.’’

When asked whether recruits were coming to the Florida game, Golden said, “Yes.”

“Are you getting full buy-in from guys you want to come?” Golden was asked in relation to the NCAA case. “Are they being hesitant?”

Replied the coach: “Well, it’s difficult. There are a bunch of kids from all over the country, not just Florida, that are [the Class of] 2015s that are committing, that are making decisions where to go, and we’re not really part of that. And that’s a terrible sanction. As soon as we get this cleared up and get some closure, we can move forward.

“But the direct result now is on four recruiting classes directly and then obviously the residual of that is even further along.”