CORAL GABLES, Fla. — More than three months after the end of the 2012 season, the Miami Hurricanes started spring practice on Saturday.
And coach Al Golden thinks his team largely picked up from where it left off last fall.
Golden gave the Hurricanes rave reviews after about a two-hour workout Saturday, one where the team had three new assistant coaches on the field to work with a group that brings 20 starters back on the offensive and defensive side of the football.
“Good tempo, good start,” Golden said. “I told the team I thought we were better today than when we got back from (the season-finale at Duke), which is not easy to do.”
Miami did not go to a bowl game in 2012 after a second-straight season of self-imposed sanctions because of the NCAA investigation into the Hurricanes’ athletic department. The Hurricanes finished 7-5 last season and, if they had chosen to go to postseason play, would have represented the Coastal Division in the Atlantic Coast Conference title game.
Golden has long said that he believes the worst is over for Miami as it relates to the investigation, and now that the sanctions phase has begun – the Hurricanes are preparing for a June 14-15 hearing before the NCAA’s Committee on Infractions – his thinking has not changed.
“That’s signaling of the beginning of the end to me was big,” Golden said. “You could almost sense it in the building and for the players that we have a chance to move forward now. We know that there’s at least a terminal date now as opposed to being in the gray and we’re excited about moving forward.”
NEBRASKA: The fans might be more worried than Bo Pelini about the holes Nebraska has to fill on defense this spring.
The Cornhuskers must replace eight starters from a defense that ranked in the bottom half of the Big Ten in every major category except pass defense. Pelini said after the first spring practice Saturday that he’s not overly concerned about what on paper appears to be a lack of experience.
“I have been in this situation before,” Pelini said. “Our guys have a base, they were in meetings all last year and they went through a fall camp. So it is not like they are starting from day one.”
The Huskers return 17 of their top 22 players on offense.