1. He isn't a miracle worker. Al Golden began his head coaching career at Temple in 2005, taking over a program that had gone 3-31 in the previous three seasons. He went 1-11 in his first season with the Owls, but guided Temple to a share of the Mid-American Conference East Division title and a bowl appearance by his fourth season. The Owls went a respectable 8-4 the following year, and Golden left for Miami.
Much like he did at Temple, Golden needed time to mold Miami into the program he wanted. It's there now: The Hurricanes are 7-0 and back in the national Top 10 on the back of a pounding running game. The Hurricanes win the close games now, as well: A Duke Johnson touchdown in the final four minutes cemented a five-point win over Florida, and last-minute touchdowns gave the Canes come-from-behind wins over North Carolina and Wake Forest.
2. He's going to run the ball. The calling card of Golden's best teams: The running game. The 2009 Temple Owls ran for nearly 2500 yards. His 2010 team went for more than 1800 on the ground. And while he has not shied away from the passing game -- Stephen Morris threw for 3345 yards last year for the Hurricanes -- Golden still loves a good ground attack.
This season, Golden has relied heavily on sophomore halfback Duke Johnson, who already has 823 yards rushing through seven games. Fellow sophomore Dallas Crawford has added 291 yards and nine touchdowns. The Hurricanes are averaging 215 yards per game on the ground, 24th nationally and second in the ACC. Expect a heavy dose of the run Saturday against Florida State, especially given the Seminoles' defense: Florida State has one of the nation's premiere pass defenses, but is 30th nationally against the run.
3. He is going to challenge Jameis Winston. Golden's defense will test Florida State's Heisman Trophy contender more than any other so far this season. Miami is allowing just 17.7 points per game, good for tenth nationally. The Hurricanes are also tenth nationally in pass efficiency defense, and allow just 200 yards per game through the air. The only team to score more than 23 points against Miami: Georgia Tech, which attempted just 13 passes.
Florida State has shown it can run the ball -- Devonta Freeman and Karlos Williams have combined for 910 yards and 13 touchdowns this season -- but the Seminoles offense has relied far more heavily on the passing game. If FSU is going to run away from Miami, it's going to have to throw the ball effectively, and Golden is sure to make that as difficult as possible.
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