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Golden embraces first camp as Miami coach

August 6, 2011
Cape Coral Daily Breeze

CORAL GABLES (AP) - Miami running backs Mike James and Lamar Miller were headed out to get some food not along ago, deciding along the way to make a quick detour and check out the scene at a nearby hotel.

It'll be their home for the next couple weeks.

Keeping with the offseason theme of building team unity - something that apparently lacked at times in recent seasons - the Hurricanes will spend part of their training camp together around the clock at a hotel not far from campus. They'll be riding buses to practice together, dining and in meetings together, all with the hope that tighter bonds can keep getting forged for the looming season, Miami's first under new coach Al Golden.

"For us, it was just a function of some logistics and made it the best choice," Golden said. "Every team's different. So we felt what this team needed, they needed to be in those rooms and kind of not spread out all over. They needed to be maybe rooming with somebody they don't know very well. It gives more opportunities for unity."

For their part, players say they can't wait for the new twist to camp.

"We stopped in the hotel, walked in and got the feel of it," James said. "Walked around, checked the vibes, walked to the pool - which we won't see during camp anyway - and walked around a little bit. It's good to see exactly where we're going to be. It's going to help the team in a great way. It's going to bring us closer together, closer than we've ever been because we'll see each other all the time. We'll have to deal with each other on a one-on-one, family basis."

Camp formally opens with the first practice Saturday morning at Miami, where the Hurricanes were 7-6 a year ago and lost in the Sun Bowl to Notre Dame. Miami is picked to finish second in the Atlantic Coast Conference's Coastal Division in most preseason polls, and the Hurricanes are still looking for their first ACC title - nearly a decade after leaving the Big East and changing leagues.

A slew of position battles will be sorted out in the coming weeks, most notably at quarterback, where Jacory Harris and Stephen Morris both served as the first-stringer at times in 2010. Golden said he doesn't plan on choosing this year's starter - at least, the Week 1 starter anyway - until after the team's second preseason scrimmage, with an announcement expected about two weeks before the Sept. 5 opener at Maryland.

It's not just the depth chart they'll work on during camp. Golden's team held scavenger hunts, played games, had pool parties and barbecues together all summer.

Much of the roster - not just offensive or defensive guys - took part alongside one another. Players say that brought them together. Golden thinks this camp will continue that process.



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