Al Golden: 'When you're in that defensive room, it's a takeaway'

Posted by: Chris Vannini on Monday September 09, 2013

In the offseason, Al Golden promised that better days were ahead.

Miami (FL) may have had the best day under Golden on Saturday, when the Hurricanes knocked off Florida 21-16 at home.

Suddenly, people in the Sunshine State are ready to proclaim that the glory days have returned, but Golden knows better.

“Especially down here, everyone wants to jump from the preface to the summary,” he said on The Tim Brando Show. “We can’t do that. All this “The U is back” and that. The U is building. The U is not back yet. We’ve got a lot of work to do. The University of Florida, to be honest with you, was deeper than us, in a multitude of positions, particularly on defense. We’re not back yet, but we are building.

“We are encouraged by the direction we’re going, and there’s a lot of things that we’re making incredible strides on: our mental toughness, our maturity, our conditioning. All of those things. Our size and strength has improved. It’d be premature to say we’re back. We’ve got a long way to go. Let’s keep building. Let’s be humble and hungry and stay with the process that delivered the results.”

The difference in the game was Miami’s red zone defense. The Gators had six red zone opportunities and came away with just one touchdown and one field goal. Golden certainly doesn’t like that the Florida offense had so many chances, but he had to credit the stops. The Canes grabbed two interceptions, forced and recovered a fumble and stopped the Gators on 4th down all in the red zone.

“It’s not like we designed the defense to bend,” Golden said. “Nobody goes into it and say, ‘Let’s bend.’ I think we tackled well. Sometimes, people say it’s a turnover. But when you’re in that defensive room, it’s a takeaway. You’ve got to take the ball away. If your whole team isn’t running to the ball, you haven’t tilted the odds in favor that you’re going to get that ball.

“There’s no greater juxtaposition from this year to last year in that, Tracy Howard makes an interception. Last year, he wasn’t quite ready for that. Rayshawn Jenkins makes an interception. Last year, he wasn’t quite ready for that. Tyriq McCord gets a sack and forced fumble and then recovers it. Last year, that would have just been a sack.”

Chris Vannini is in his fifth year with and serves as its managing editor. He has previously written for the Detroit Free Press, The Oakland Press, The State News,, 247Sports and SB Nation.  A graduate of Michigan State University, Chris now lives in the Dallas-Fort Worth area.  Be sure to follow @coachingsearch and send emails to