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.

Jameis Winston says Miami Hurricanes can be the big brother in rivalry

Jameis WinstonFlorida State and Miami are both undefeated entering Saturday’s game between the teams in Tallahassee, but there’s no doubt who’s expected to win. The Seminoles are favored by 21 points, which is the largest spread for two top-10 teams meeting this late in the year since 1980, per pregame.com. Even though FSU is favored by a large margin in the game, Winston is deferring to the Canes’ historical edge in the series in giving them respect.

Speaking at a press conference on Wednesday ahead of the big game, Winston said Miami can be the big brother in the series.

“It’s more of like a brotherly game,” Winston said of the game. “Miami is obviously down south and it’s a big rivalry. But it’s like we’re going to be in the backyard playing against each other and we want to beat our brother. If they want to be the big brother we want to be the little brother. It’s still a friendly competition.”

The ‘Noles have won the last three meetings and six of the last eight between the teams, but Miami leads all time 31-26 and has five national championships compared to FSU’s two. That’s probably why Winston says Miami can be the big brother.

Note: A previous version of this post incorrectly transcribed Winston’s words as “beat the little brother” when he said “be the little brother,” which is the complete opposite. Winston was respecting Miami’s history in the rivalry rather than disrespecting it. We apologize for the error and creating the perception that Winston slighted Miami when he didn’t.

Miami Hurricanes football locker room dedicated to The Rock

The RockThe Miami Hurricanes have had numerous superstars play for the football program throughout the years. Former Cane Warren Sapp was just inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame, joining ex-Canes Michael Irvin, Jim Kelly, Jim Otto, Cortez Kennedy and Ted Hendricks in Canton. Ray Lewis and Ed Reed will soon join that group. But of all the big names to have played for Miami, Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson might be the biggest — at least when it comes to the field of entertainment. He certainly has one of the greatest honors — the team’s locker room is named after him.

Miami took some reporters on a tour Friday of the new athletic center, and Michael Casagrande of the South Florida Sun Sentinel took a picture of the locker room, which is named after The Rock:

The Rock, who is a pro wrestler and movie star, was a defensive lineman at Miami from 1991-1994. He appeared in 34 games and would have seen more playing time had he not been behind Sapp on the depth chart.

The locker room being named after Johnson was actually one of the conditions of the wrestler’s $1 million donation to the football program in 2007, which was the largest ever by a former Miami athlete to the program. The Rock and his wife, also a former Miami athlete, donated $2 million to the school in 2006 to help fund the construction of an alumni center.

“We are excited to continue this legacy of excellence by making a contribution that will propel our student-athletes to greater achievement, whether on the field, in the board room or on the silver screen,” Johnson said of his 2007 donation. “I have said it time and time again that this program was a launching pad for my success.”

Here is another look at the locker room wall:

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Ray Lewis III commits to Miami

If Ray Lewis had a son who was a halfway decent football prospect, you had better believe that kid was going to choose the University of Miami for college or face being disowned. That’s why it was no surprise to hear that Ray Lewis III, the son of the Ravens All-Pro linebacker, had committed to Miami.

Lewis is a running back and safety from Lake Mary Prep in Florida. He rushed for 2,312 yards and 29 touchdowns as a junior last season. We highlighted the 384-yard, five touchdown game he had last September, so hearing that he’s Canes material is not surprising.

“Coming in as a legacy is very exciting,” Lewis told CaneSport.com, according to the Palm Beach Post. “My dad is an icon at Miami. People look up to him. It’s going to be an honor to be there. I will be there to finish off what he started.”

If what Lewis tweeted Tuesday was any indication, he’s pretty stoked about the announcement.

Lewis is the third running back to commit to Miami so he’ll have plenty of competition when he arrives on campus. We doubt it’s anything he won’t be able to handle.

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.

Nevin Shapiro Tried to Put Stripper Pole in his Miami Luxury Box

There was one nugget from the entire Miami scandal that totally slipped past me. It is literally too good to pass up. In Dan Wetzel’s piece for Yahoo! Sports on why Miami is in trouble, he includes this fantastic detail about booster Nevin Shapiro.

“I had an architect try to put a stripper pole in the suite,” Shapiro said. “Aesthetically it wouldn’t work.”

No word if Shapiro also tried to install a garbage disposal in the suite’s bathtub or a shelf and mini fridge under the desk. But here’s the killer part. The description of Shapiro’s game day antics is enough to tell you Miami can’t use the “we had no idea what was going on” defense.

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