The grind of camp was the topic of discussion on Day 13 of the Miami Hurricanes fall practice sessions. Al Golden didn't stutter as he clearly laid out his expectations for players who may be battling fatigue and mental toughness during this halfway point in the preparation for traveling to Boston College for a September 1st season opening ACC clash.
"They've got to fight through it, the proverbial wall."
Golden appeared frustrated by some things taking place in the locker room with the Hurricanes and said the team had to avoid bad habits and look toward a culture change regarding being mentally tough.
"We've got a long way to go, we've got two [practices] today, one tomorrow and then the scrimmage [on Saturday]. So we've got a long way to go. We have four next Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday and then we'll break camp. But we're very pleased because we haven't had a lot of injuries."
Injuries are something that the Hurricanes have battled but not many players have been lost for significant amounts of games this season during camp other than true freshmen Raphel Kirby who was expected to get meaningful time at middle linebacker before going down in the first scrimmage. Golden said earlier in the week he'd miss much of the season.
Added to the daily list of guys who are banged up today was wide out Allen Hurns.
"Allen's being held out right now. I don't know for how long." Golden says the injury to Hurns is a "head injury," but wouldn't go into further detail. The primary wide receiver target was seen walking around the morning session of practice carefully while wearing a red jersey.
Despite being perturbed by some things he doesn't like as far as effort so far in camp, Coach Golden made a point to highlight a few players who he feels have been doing well in camp thus far.
"Kacy Rodgers has done a good job. I thought he was excellent in the special teams scrimmage the other day. He's more comfortable certainly, he's just got to continue to finish and have the confidence to run the show back there." The junior safety steps into a role filled formerly by departed Ray Ray Armstrong, who is now playing at NAIA Faulkner in Alabama.
He also likes what an unsung hero in the backfield has been doing this camp.
"Mo Hagens " has had a great camp, he's catching the ball well out of the backfield...he's blocking well and his mistakes are minimal. I don't know if he'll get more touches...certainly he'll play more than he played last year sharing with Calhoun."
After singing the praises of several players, Golden was visibly annoyed by his daily question about right tackled Seantreal Henderson and his whereabouts. When asked where Henderson was, Golden replied quickly and bluntly.
"I'll let you know when he's cleared and back. Obviously this is practice 15 or 16 and he hasn't taken anything yet."
Still the grind of camp is evident in the slower moving players from station to station during warm ups while the media is allowed to watch practice. Golden says the team has to fight through the pain.
"This is it right here, this is the hardest part. Two today, one tomorrow and then a scrimmage. We want to thrive and rise above it instead of just self preservation. We've got to get that selfishness out of our locker room, it's hard on everyone. Being negative, the negativity, we've got to get that out of our building.
-Saturday's scrimmage is the last for the entire camp.
-Anthony Chickillo is still in a yellow jersey along with freshmen corner Larry Hope.
-Tracy Howard is back in green for the first time since he got a black jersey. He joins several others who lost their black jerseys this week. Shayon Green and Dalton Botts are the only who remain in black.
-Conditions on the practice field during the morning were very hot.