It isn’t exactly on par with intimate details of the recent Iran Nuclear Deal, but the secrecy from Miami Hurricanes Head Football Coach Al Golden in divulging a depth chart for the upcoming 2015 season is nevertheless a bit puzzling. Especially considering that following the Canes second and final scrimmage on Saturday, Golden said he would finalize it on Sunday.
But the Yankee Doodle Dandy, born on the Fourth of July (1969) in Colts Neck, N.J., in his fifth season at The U, admittedly has more depth to sift through and examine than ever before at The U. And that’s a good problem to have.
“There’s going to be some tough decisions, there’s no question,” Golden said. “We need to keep getting better, and we’ll see how it sorts itself out. But we need a team that continues to get stronger and deeper as the season goes on.”
Maybe there simply isn’t a depth chart to be released? At least that’s what junior left guard Alex Gall told Miami Herald’s Susan Miller Degnan.
“They’ve told us there’s no depth chart until the first game, until we step on the field and they say, ‘OK, you’re in for the first drive,’” said Gall.
The Canes open the 2015 season on Sept. 5 with Bethune Cookman.
“It might be my first start,” the 6-5, 310-pound Gall continued. “That’s the key thing. “Nobody knows until we literally step onto the field for the first game who is going to be starting.”
Gall said he thinks that perhaps not defining a first team might prove to be a motivating factor for a team that now possesses enough depth to have competition at the various positions.
In previous years, first-teamers wore orange jerseys to signify their spot on the team. That isn’t the case this year. All players wear the same colored jerseys.
Obviously, there are those on the roster who are locks as starters. Quarterback Brad Kaaya for one. But for the most part, at least according to Golden, the competition continues up until the opening kickoff.
“There’s really not too many guys locked in,” Golden said. “We’ve got to see how it plays out. We’ve never had this (amount of depth). There are not many incumbents and there’s a lot of depth. I’m interested to see how this plays out.”
Depth on both sides of the football has Golden and the coaching staff highly optimistic about the upcoming season. Rotating three units on the defensive line is luxury the Canes haven’t been afforded in recent years.
So, while the coaching staff grins from ear to ear with joy at the increasing numbers across the board, Canes fans will have to wait it out until they tee it up in nine days to find out, with few obvious exceptions, just who takes the field first on either side of the football.
Regardless of the starting lineup, continued improvement throughout the season is Golden’s top priority, as it is with any coach, but especially one on perhaps the hottest seat in college football. That continued improvement and season-long dedication is what will be needed as the Canes work to capture their first-ever outright ACC Coastal Division crown since joining the conference in 2004.
Playing for an ACC championship is the goal and would be the first step in restoring a swagger the program used to be known for.