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Al Golden in statement: I am staying at Miami, not going to Penn State

Al Golden MiamiAl Golden was said to be a serious candidate for the head coaching position at Penn State, and some reports even said he was going to take the job. Miami’s athletic director was confident that Golden would be staying at Miami despite the speculation, and he turned out to be correct.

Golden issued the following statement through the school on Sunday to affirm that he will remain as Miami’s coach.

“There has been much speculation concerning my future at the University of Miami. While I am flattered that our progress at The U during an extremely difficult period of time is recognized, I am also appreciative of just what we have here at UM and I am not a candidate for another position. We are eager to welcome our student athletes back to campus next week and visit with prospective student-athletes and their families beginning January 15.”

Golden played tight end at Penn State from 1987-1991 and was a linebackers coach there in 2000, so his ties to the program left many wondering if he would want to go back to his alma mater. But Penn State is in a more difficult spot sanction-wise than Miami, and they are also arguably in a tougher conference. Additionally, Golden is trying to return Miami’s program to national prominence and has seen improvement in each of his three seasons as head coach. Maybe he believes he is close to breaking through.

Penn State is expected to look at James Franklin and Mike Munchak as their top two candidates.

Video: Miami Intentionally Distracts Own Kicker Prior to Winning Field Goal

Miami beat South Florida 6-3 Saturday on a 36-yard field goal from Jake Wieclaw as time expired in Tampa. What was strange about the field goal is what transpired prior to Wieclaw’s attempt.

Typically opposing coaches will call a timeout to try and “ice” the kicker. You know, they’ll freeze time and make the kicker think for a few minutes about having the game in his hands. The hope is that the kicker lets the pressure get to him, and then he shanks the attempt.

Well Miami coach Al Golden used some sort of reverse psychology.

As LBS contributor Aaron pointed out to us, Golden had his team surround Wieclaw and jump around him wildly during each of South Florida’s timeouts. The scene on Miami’s sideline was similar to what happens pregame when teams try to pump themselves up. The tactic worked, and Wieclaw nailed the field goal to win the game.

Here is a video of the winning kick, and it includes both timeouts where Miami mobbed Wieclaw to keep him loose:

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Al Golden Now Seeing a Team-First Attitude from Miami Players

Miami may be 2-3 on the season, but head coach Al Golden is optimistic about his team. Appearing on 790 the Ticket with host Jorge Sedano Thursday, Golden said he’s starting to see an attitude change for his players.

“All I’ve heard since I’ve been here is that the team’s not unified and that there’s a bunch of guys playing as individuals,” Golden said. “Everybody’s got NFL on the brain — a lot of them are three-and-out and just want to do their own thing. And that’s [the mentality] that I set out to fix.

“For the first time in 10 months, I looked out there in the second half and saw a team that was playing for each other. [The players] stuck together. 21-7 down in Blacksburg, and we had leaders step up at halftime. We had leadership from Jacory [Harris] and Brandon Washington in the second half. We need that. We need that to win in that type of environment.”

The Canes lost the game 38-35, but it was impressive that they came back to take the lead 35-31 with around three minutes left. Sophomore running back Lamar Miller scored four touchdowns in the game and is the star of the team. He’s averaging 132 yard per game and 7 yards per carry, and he should be able to keep Miami in games the rest of the year. Next up is North Carolina before a home clash with Georgia Tech. Let’s see if Golden’s observations will translate to victories on the field.

Don’t Talk to Al Golden About ‘Swagger’

Despite the fact that they have done virtually nothing since joining the ACC in 2004, the Miami Hurricanes still carry a celebrity presence.  Playing football at The U is something to be proud of.  If you can say you go to The U, people immediately think you’re the man (or a criminal).  The recent struggles of the Hurricanes have done little to quiet the mouths of current players and alumni.  If you wanted to describe players at The U in one word, you might say they have “swagger.”  Just don’t say it in front of new head coach Al Golden.

Golden, who you may remember from his days of destroying the Penn State weight room, wants nothing to do with that word.  He realizes the Hurricanes have done nothing noteworthy in recent years and sounds like he wants to change the Hollywood environment that surrounds the team.

“I’m so tired of talking about ‘swagger,'” Golden said according to CBSSports.com. “Swagger, as it was said to me by Alonzo Highsmith and so many of the other former players, was the by-product. It wasn’t the product, it was the by-product.

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Warren Sapp Upset with Snub from Al Golden Despite Criticizing the Hire

Warren Sapp has had an icy relationship with the University of Miami since playing football for them in the early-to-mid 90s. The former Hurricanes standout says he had gone 15 years without returning to the school until attending the team’s Pro Day this year. At the Pro Day, Sapp says he made himself available to speak with new coach Al Golden but he was snubbed. Here’s what he told The Finsiders during an interview this week:

“All this reaching out? I stood in that locker room for two hours. You think Al Golden came and saw me? I’ll leave it at that, for all Canes fans.”

“I walked into the school, to the weight room where it says ‘We make champions here,’ stood there for two hours and the head coach didn’t come down to say hello or nothing. Let’s stop talking about this Al Golden reaching out and reaching back and telling everyone they’re welcome. It’s bull.”

“I went to my university for the first time in 15 years. I didn’t see Al Golden. I guess I gotta write a check to see Al Golden.”

Sapp can rant all he wants, but what he’s conveniently leaving out is how he criticized the hiring of Al Golden when it was announced. Evidence: There was this tweet on December 10th “Who The Hell Is Al Golden. And How U Fix The Greatest Program In America Coming from 1 of the Worst Program Ever. Somebody Help Me. I’m On a Bridge Talk Me Down Please!”

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Miami, This Is Your Coach Al Golden Tearing Up the Weight Room

New Miami coach Al Golden is making the jump from lowly Temple to the big time at the U. Nobody knows how he will do, but because he’s coming from a small program Golden already has plenty of critics. Maybe the critics will have more respect if they see this video of Al Golden killing it in the weight room from his days at Penn State:

That video was from 1990 (you probably figured that out from the short shorts) and Golden still looks pretty jacked 20 years later. Many players respect coaches who have been there before and understand what the hard work and competition is all about. I’m not saying he has to slam his shirt down and challenge everyone to a fight like Ed Orgeron, but it probably wouldn’t be a bad idea to pop that video on for the current players.

Video via EhrlThePearl and The Big Lead.

Will Al Golden Be Dedicated to Miami or Hope to Replace Joe Paterno?

Dream jobs. Everyone has them, most never get to experience them. When the USC head coaching job became available, Lane Kiffin ditched Tennessee to take the gig of his dreams. When the Michigan job became available, Les Miles remained at LSU where they raised his contract value. Now that he’s been hired by Miami to replace Randy Shannon, will Al Golden be dedicated to the U or hope to return to Penn State?

Golden is 41 years old and has coached at Temple the past five years. The name should be familiar for UCLA fans because Golden interviewed for the Bruins’ head coaching job in 2007 which went to Rick Neuheisel. Temple had gone 1-11, 2-9, and 0-11 in the three years preceding Golden’s tenure, and they went 1-11 in his first year on the job. The turnaround under Golden however was swift; the Owls went 4-8, 5-7, 9-4, and then 8-4 this year under Al. In 2009, they reached their first bowl game since 1979 (a loss to UCLA at the Eagle Bank Bowl).

Golden is a defensive specialist who has served as defensive coordinator at Virginia, and linebackers coach at BC and Penn State. He is said to be a tireless recruiter and one of the best in the country (he got players to Temple, right?). Turning around the program at Temple was termed nearly miraculous, but it does not guarantee success at Miami where coaches in the state of Florida and in the ACC are of a much higher quality than the MAC.

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