Miami Football: Best Quotes and Key Takeaways from ACC Media Days

David KenyonFeatured ColumnistJuly 22, 2014

Miami head coach Al Golden answers a question during a news conference at the Atlantic Coast Conference Football kickoff in Greensboro, N.C., Monday, July 21, 2014. (AP Photo/Chuck Burton)
Chuck Burton/Associated Press

Head coach Al Golden, running back Duke Johnson and linebacker Denzel Perryman represented the Miami Hurricanes at ACC media days, discussing ever-nearing fall practice and the 2014 regular season.

A few combined hours later, notable quotes and important takeaways emerged from the trio's respective answers, including some encouraging news about a true freshman waiting to qualify.

The quarterback competition was, of course, a hot topic, and the Hurricanes' player reps gave two strikingly different answers, though neither was surprising.

Plus, Golden supplied an answer about the length of his tenure at Miami, one that was questioned just a few short months ago.

New Players Making Impact, 2 Coming Soon

While the newest recruiting class is helping build the program's depth, Golden acknowledged many of the newcomers have arrived at Miami ready to play.

Per Christy Cabrera Chirinos of the Sun Sentinel, the fourth-year head coach specifically mentioned Tyre Brady, Joseph Yearby, David Njoku, Michael Wyche, Anthony Moten, Chad Thomas, Darrion Owens, Juwon Young and Ryan Mayes as notable players.

Additionally, quarterback Brad Kaaya has been battling Kevin Olsen and Jake Heaps for the starting position during the season opener against Louisville, unfazed to this point.

"I can't get into his head," Perryman said, according to Matt Porter of the Palm Beach Post. "But I'm working on it."

Golden said he anticipates athlete Trayone Gray and wide receiver Darrell Langham will join the team. Miami does not necessarily have an immediate need at running back or out wide, but Alabama appeared to be fine without Derrick Henry, too.

No, Gray is not being directly compared to Henry, but depth is never a bad thing because offensive production is typically not discouraged.

Perryman Talks Returning, Slimming Down, Expectations

Jul 20, 2014; Greensboro, NC, USA;  Miami Hurricanes linebacker Denzel Perryman addresses the media during the ACC football media day at the Grandover Resort. Mandatory Credit: Sam Sharpe-USA TODAY Sports

According to Porter, Perryman returned for his senior season in order to "master his craft." The linebacker believed he was ready for the NFL, but further tape study revealed weaknesses in his game.

"I said I got it, I got it ... then I said wow, I can't believe I put that on tape."

Though Perryman looked particularly massive during spring practice, he decided the extra bulk made him "a step slow" and is in the process of losing 10 pounds. Chirinos notes Perryman said 240 pounds is his optimal "striking weight."

He also believes Miami can become one of the country's best defenses, per Porter:

I don't think talent is the issue. Guys need to be where they need to be. That one guy out of his gap could be a big difference in the game or a play. ... Everybody is on the same page. Everybody knows the playbook in and out. Young guys came in and quickly learned the playbook. Nobody's behind on the playbook at all.

An elite defense is hardly a realistically obtainable goal, but Miami is certainly better than the No. 89 unit last season. How much better the group actually is, however, will only be answered come September.

Johnson Hints at, Perryman Flat-Out Expects Williams

Chuck Burton/Associated Press

According to Chirinos, Johnson realizes he carries the burden of expectations but does not want whichever teammate is under center to feel the same.

"You have a lot of weapons around you as a quarterback," Johnson said. "So whoever the quarterback is until Ryan gets back, there isn't a lot of pressure on them like there is on me."

Perryman, on the other hand, did not hold back, saying he already feels like Ryan Williams is ready to lead the team.

Currently, Olsen, Kaaya or Heaps will be the No. 1 quarterback on Labor Day Monday, but Williams is the heavily favored and seemingly heavily preferred option when healthy. And the longer this conversation goes unsettled during fall camp, the move evident that preference will become.

Odds and Ends

As of this moment, Golden has no plans of leaving the program—one that needs continuity as it progresses through the rebuilding stage. Golden is under contract through the 2019 regular season.

Per Porter, Nate Dortch has left the program. After taking a redshirt in 2012, the cornerback participated in six games last season, tallying a pair of tackles.

Gray Crow added bulk and moved to H-back, likely after recognizing the logjam at quarterback. Crow completed 6-of-8 attempts for 55 yards in 2013, including a touchdown pass to Beau Sandland against Savannah State.

As long assumed, running back Joseph Yearby will not be redshirting this year. Alongside Johnson and Gus Edwards, Yearby gives the 'Canes a slasher in the backfield, complementing the overall skill of Duke and brute strength of Edwards.

Note: All quotes obtained firsthand unless otherwise noted.

Follow Bleacher Report CFB Writer David Kenyon on Twitter: @Kenyon19_BR.


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