Capitals

Al Golden insists he's committed to Miami's future

Al Golden insists he's committed to Miami's future

CORAL GABLES, Fla. (AP) When Al Golden enters the Miami Hurricanes' home field for his team's pregame warmup, Bruce Springsteen's ``Born to Run'' traditionally blares through the stadium.

It's his song, a nod to his New Jersey upbringing. It's apparently not his mantra.

Golden's second season at Miami ends Saturday when his team visits Duke. If the Hurricanes win, they'll finish tied for first in the Atlantic Coast Conference's Coastal Division, which would mark the first time since 2003 that Miami could call itself co-champions of anything.

``We're there because of coach Golden,'' Miami defensive back Brandon McGee said. ``He's put everything in place for us to do this.''

When the game ends, Miami will head home and do what it has done for two seasons: Wait for the NCAA to reveal how much trouble the school is facing. The long investigation into the university's athletic compliance practices seems to be winding down, almost two years after the NCAA started digging and now 16 months after the probe became publicly known after a rogue former booster's claims were published by Yahoo Sports.

No one knows what's coming - or when.

``Do I worry about it? I worry about everything,'' Golden said. ``I worry about all the kids that sit in a room and the staff, our strength staff, our training staff, everybody. When we go on that field, there are usually 240 people on that field. So there are a lot of people involved, a lot of lives involved. But I can see what we're becoming and what we want to do with the program.

``That vision pulls me a little bit stronger than some of these things that try and tear us apart. I think we're here for the right reasons, which is why you have a tendency to dig in and fight as opposed to flight.''

In short, Golden's not planning to run anywhere.

Dark days are almost certainly coming to Miami, with the NCAA expected to send a notice of allegations to the school soon - possibly in the next couple weeks. If that timetable holds up, sanctions could come around March. But Golden believes the worst has already happened, with Miami self-imposing two bowl bans and with him planning to hold back some scholarships that could go toward signing more players this winter.

That all being said, many around Miami's program believe the next couple seasons could be great ones. That's also why they think Golden is staying put.

``Al is very committed,'' Miami acting athletic director Blake James said. ``He recognizes, I think, what we all recognize, in that we have a very, very bright future as a program. When you look at the team that we have out on the field, when you look at the young guys we have out contributing to this program right now, who we are as a program right now with a lot of our impact players freshmen and sophomores ... that credit goes to Al.''

Players rave about Golden.

His first official meeting with the team two seasons ago started with a joke, and no one dares say publicly what the details were other than ``it was a good one,'' McGee said.

His motto - ``Deserve Victory'' - is not only on the wall of the team's meeting room, it's the last thing they see in the tunnel before they walk onto their home field. And his tight, emotional embrace of wide receiver Malcolm Lewis when the freshman had just shattered his ankle in a gruesome play at Georgia Tech this season is still something players discuss proudly.

``We believe in this staff. We believe in this program,'' quarterback Stephen Morris said. ``We believe in coach Golden.''

While there's no denying it's an anxious time for Miami right now, at least Golden still has his hair.

His personal history suggests that's a good sign.

Five years ago, it was coming out in clumps. It was during his second season at Temple, around the time his career coaching record was 1-16 and his Owls were being outscored by an average of four touchdowns per game. They lost a game 62-0, then another by the same score the very next week. Golden's stress level was through the roof.

These days, the hair is just fine.

He raves about living in South Florida, both life in Miami and the ability to jump in the car and be in gorgeous places like the Florida Keys, Naples and Palm Beach within an hour or so. His wife and children are happy calling the area home. He's under contract until Feb. 1, 2020.

If the Hurricanes could just get past this NCAA matter, everything might be perfect.

``We can complain all we want but we can't change it,'' Golden said. ``But the challenge for our team is we're going to be defined by how we respond to this. And the first test of that is Saturday against Duke. We can say whatever we want. We can say we have a great attitude, we're working hard, we're focused, but the test is Saturday at 12:30.''

So Saturday becomes Miami's bowl game, in essence.

Duke's home field - Wallace Wade Stadium - has hosted bowl games before, including the 1942 Rose Bowl (moved because of the attack on Pearl Harbor) and the 1972 Pelican Bowl, a short-lived, lower-division, now-defunct event. In 2012, it may as well be called the Hurricane Bowl, in that it is Miami's championship game.

``We're blessed with an opportunity to play one more game, so that's all we can ask for,'' senior running back Mike James said. ``Of course, it means a lot. It's the last game.''

It's also probably the last time Miami will play without knowing its NCAA fate.

Golden's tenure with the Hurricanes has been completely blanketed by uncertainty - the suspensions related to the investigation that were deemed necessary before his Miami debut last season, ongoing fallout ever since and the fact that he worked for four different athletic directors at Miami before even coaching 18 games at the school.

By next season, the sanctions should have arrived. The page, he hopes, can be turned. Golden and his wife have had plenty of talks about the future, and they always seem to come back to the same conclusion: He's supposed to be at Miami, supposed to see this saga through to, they hope, a championship end.

``I think it's a great place and we're destined for great things here,'' Golden said. ``We're just going through some tough times.''

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Capitals vs. Lightning Game 6 Eastern Conference Final 2018: Date, Time, How to Watch, live stream

Capitals vs. Lightning Game 6 Eastern Conference Final 2018: Date, Time, How to Watch, live stream

When the Capitals take the ice in Game 6, they will be playing for their playoff lives. After losing Game 5 on Saturday to the Tampa Bay Lightning, the Caps must win on Monday or their season will be over.

In order to do that, the Caps will have to change some things. First, they have to figure out how to win at home, something they have yet to do in this series. Second, they will have to find a way to get to Lightning goalie Andrei Vasilevskiy who has been dominant the past three games. Alex Ovechkin also needs to win the matchup against the fourth line since he has only two five-on-five points through five games. Finally, the defense will have to be better. Matt Niskanen took the blame for Game 5, but really it was a tough night all around.

Also, a few penalty calls against Tampa Bay would be nice too.

Where: Capital One Arena

When: 8:00 p.m. ET

How to Watch: Capitals-Lightning, Game 6 will be broadcast on NBCSN

Live Stream: You can watch Capitals-Lightning Game 6 on NBC Sports' live stream page.

WHEN IS GAME 6 OF THE CAPITALS vs. LIGHTNING PLAYOFF SERIES?

Game 6 of the Capitals vs. Lightning 2018 NHL Playoff series takes place on Monday, May 21 at 8:00 p.m. at Capital One Arnea.

WHAT CHANNEL IS GAME 6 OF CAPITALS vs. LIGHTNING ON?

The TV broadcast of Game 6 between the Capitals and Lightning is on NBCSN. Capitals pre- and postgame coverage takes place on NBC Sports Washington. (NBC Sports Washington channel Finder)

6:30 p.m. — Caps FaceOff
7:00 p.m. — Caps GameTime
8:00 p.m. — Capitals vs. Lightning Game 6 on NBCSN
10:30 p.m. — Caps Extra
11:30 p.m. — Caps Overtime

WHERE CAN I STREAM GAME 6 OF THE CAPITALS vs. LIGHTNING SERIES?

Game 6 between the Capitals and Lightning is available to stream online on Monday, May 21 live here through the NBC Sports live stream page.

WHAT ARE THE PROJECTED LINES FOR GAME 6 OF CAPITALS vs. LIGHTNING?

Capitals projected lines:

Alex Ovechkin - Evgeny Kuznetsov - Tom Wilson
Chandler Stephenson - Nicklas Backstrom - T.J. Oshie
Jakub Vrana - Lars Eller - Brett Connolly
Devante Smith-Pelly -  Jay Beagle - Alex Chiasson

Michal Kempny - John Carlson
Dmitry Orlov - Matt Niskanen
Brooks Orpik - Christian Djoos

Braden Holtby with Philipp Grubauer as backup.

Lightning projected lines:

Ondrej Palat - Steven Stamkos - Nikita Kucherov
Tyler Johnson - Brayden Point - Yanni Gourde
Alex Killorn - Anthony Cirelli - J.T. Miller
Chris Kunitz - Cedric Paquette - Ryan Callahan

Victor Hedman - Dan Girardi
Ryan McDonagh - Anton Stralman
Braydon Coburn - Mikhail Sergachev

Andrei Vasilevskiy starts with Louis Domingue as backup.

CAPITALS vs. LIGHTNING GAME 6 OPEN THREAD

Use the comment section below to discuss the game action with other Capitals fans. 

For all the latest Caps coverage, follow Capitals Insider Tarik El-Bashir, Capitals correspondent JJ Regan and the NBC Sports Capitals account on Twitter. Be sure check out our Capitals page and NBC Sports Washington's Facebook page.

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Need to Know: Redskins player one-liners, offense

Need to Know: Redskins player one-liners, offense

Here is what you need to know on this Monday, May 21, one day before the Washington Redskins start OTAs.  

Redskins player one-liners, offense

A few weeks ago, I did an early projection of the Redskins’ 53-man roster on offense and defense. As the team gets ready for OTAs here is a comment on each player expected to make the team on offense; the defense will be up tomorrow. 

Quarterbacks

—It seems likely that Alex Smith will jump right into the leadership role on the offense, unlike his predecessor, who often seemed to be a reluctant leader. 

—Since Smith has missed a few games with injuries here and there, the chances of the team needing Colt McCoy to come in and win a key game are greater than they were the past three years. 

Kevin Hogan has from now until the end of the season to show that he can be a viable No. 2 quarterback to help ensure that he has a job here in 2019. 

Running backs

—It’s been a while around here since expectations were this high for a player picked late in the second round but Derrius Guice will try to meet them. 

Chris Thompson could be ready to participate in OTAs but look for him to get a very light workload if he puts on a helmet at all. 

—If Rob Kelley wants to be a regular on the 46-man game day inactive list he will have to play a lot of special teams, something he has done sparingly in his two years in the league. 

—Since the team likely will monitor Guice’s workload as a rookie, Samaje Perine will get some carries in key situations this year. 

Wide receivers

—While Josh Doctson does need to get more chances to use his huge catch radius and take balls away from defenders, he also could benefit by working to get more separation on a regular basis. 

—Smith was one of the best deep ball throwers in the league last year and if he is going to maintain that status he will need to look for Paul Richardson at least a few times per game. 

—After his play leveled off in his second and third years in the league, will Jamison Crowder have a contract year breakout? 

—It will be interesting to see what Maurice Harris can do if he stays healthy and get some consistent playing time. 

—Will Trey Quinn be a project or will the last pick in the draft have some instant impact on the offense? 

Tight ends

—​Jordan Reed could be an All-Pro or he could be a cap casualty in 2019. 

—The numbers say that Vernon Davis needs to have Reed on the field to be consistently productive; he had no more than two receptions in any of the last six games. 

—​Jeremy Sprinkle will be relied upon to block and play special teams and anything he produces in the receptions department will be a bonus. 

Offensive line

—After making the Pro Bowl while dealing with a serious knee injury last year, who knows what Trent Williams can accomplish if he can, you know, practice during the week.

—Right now Shawn Lauvao is the Redskins’ starter at left guard but a trade or free agent signing could change that in a heartbeat.

—Jay Gruden has a great deal of confidence in Chase Roullier as the starting center and the hope is that he keeps the job for many years to come. 

—Will Brandon Scherff take the next step and attain All-Pro status?

—​Morgan Moses dealt with injuries to both ankles last year, but he was the only offensive lineman who didn’t miss at least two starts.

—If I had to bet right now I’d say that Ty Nsekhe will start the season as the backup tackle on both sides and not as the starting left guard. 

—As long as Nsekhe is the swing tackle, Geron Christin is likely to be inactive on game days. 

—​Tyler Catalina will have to battle his way onto the roster but his ability to play both guard and tackle will land him on the 53. 

—​Tony Bergstrom is the answer to the question, “Who is the Redskins backup center?”

Stay up to date on the Redskins. Rich Tandler covers the team 365 days a year. Like his Facebook page, Facebook.com/TandlerNBCS and follow him on Twitter  @TandlerNBCSand on Instagram @RichTandler

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Timeline  

Days until:

—Minicamp (6/12) 22
—Training camp starts (7/26) 67
—Preseason opener @ Patriots (8/9) 81

The Redskins last played a game 140 days ago. They will open the 2018 NFL season at the Cardinals in 112 days. 

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