Originally Published: July 22, 2012

More Questions For Miami

By Heather Dinich

GREENSBORO, N.C. -- For the second straight summer, Miami coach Al Golden has had to deal with a visit from the NCAA. The difference this year is that the second-year head coach has become a focal point in the ongoing story.

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Sam Sharpe/US PresswireMike James and the Hurricanes are used to answering offseason questions.

On Friday, Yahoo! Sports reported that former Miami football employee Sean Allen assisted members of Golden's coaching staff with recruiting -- what would be a major NCAA violation. Golden will likely address questions from the media about this Monday, but his players said they haven't wavered in their confidence in him.

The Hurricanes available to the media Sunday at the ACC football kickoff at the Grandover Resort here said they've never doubted the integrity of their head coach, and that they will do their best to make sure it doesn't become a distraction to the team this fall.

"I believe in Coach Golden wholeheartedly," cornerback Brandon McGee said. "His word is his bond. He stands by his word and I stand by him. There is never a moment where I have questioned whether Coach Golden had any wrongdoing. He makes ethical decisions based on his ethics and I believe in him."

"Our concern during the season is books and balls," he said. "We're not worried about anything outside of that except the games on our schedule, football and school. That's our main focus, honestly."

Miami self-imposed a bowl ban last season despite reaching the six-win mark, and eight players missed at least one game, but the Canes have yet to get closure on a year-long case that alleged widespread violation of improper benefits. Yahoo! Sports reported Friday that Allen tried to aid assistant Micheal Barrow and former assistant Aubrey Hill in recruiting. There's no telling how long it will take for the NCAA to conclude its investigation, especially considering the severity of the most recent allegations.

Once again, the players will enter the fall with more questions than answers, but running back Mike James said their attitude hasn't changed -- they're going to try to ignore it.

Easier said than done?

"It's easier done than said," James said with a laugh. "I get tired of saying it."

"I haven't been paying much attention to it," he said. "It's not going to help us win games, so I don't need to look into it any more than anybody else. I'm just trying to get this team ready, doing everything I can to make sure they understand television, no distractions. We're just worried about what we've got to do -- two acres and a football."

State Of The ACC's Union

By Andrea Adelson

GREENSBORO, N.C. -- Commissioner John Swofford touched on a variety of topics during his state of the conference address at ACC media days on Sunday. Chief among them: further expansion and NCAA cases at Miami and North Carolina.

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AP Photo/Chuck BurtonJohn Swofford said the conference is focused squarely on the future.

And, of course, Notre Dame.

The last time Swofford addressed a media contingent at an ACC event was back in May, at the conclusion of the spring meetings. At the time, all manner of rumor and speculation about Clemson, Florida State and the Big 12 swirled around the ACC, creating an aura of instability.

But all of that has been put to rest now, as the ACC has seemingly put itself in a position of strength for the future. Swofford, at the request of school president James Barker, recently addressed the Clemson Board of Trustees in person to assure the group that the ACC was the best home for the program.

It was the first time in 15 years he has been asked to visit with a full board.

When asked how confident he was that everybody was on board with the ACC, he said, "In a word, totally. I had a great visit with Clemson. They're terrific people. I gave you my answer in one word."

Swofford later added the focus of the league was on 14 teams, and "making that work in the best possible way." Last week, Pitt and Syracuse negotiated their exit from the Big East and will join the ACC on July 1, 2013.

As for Miami, Swofford was asked for his thoughts on the most recent allegations surrounding the program.

"I can't really speak to an ongoing investigation and I'm sure you understand why on that. In terms of the image aspect of it, those are situations you never want in any conference," he said. "The sooner we can get the several problems totally behind us that we've had in this league, the better. This league has a tremendous history and tradition of integrity.

"If you go back five years, 10 years, 15 years, 20 years, you will find that the ACC has fewer major NCAA violation issues than any other major conference in the country. That's still the case, but we've had a few here that have clustered recently that you do not like to see, do not want to see, you want them cleared up, you want them behind you, and you do not want to see them again."

Finally, a note on Notre Dame: Swofford was asked repeatedly about whether the Irish would be the ACC's future bowl opponent in the Orange Bowl when the new playoff format arrives. While there is nothing yet set with the Irish, Swofford said there are possibilities that could include other conferences.

"We're in the process of talking about several different scenarios," he said. "It could be a larger group, it's a little premature to go there yet, but we hope to have a very attractive slot on the other side.

"We've had some discussions that could bring in a very broad group as a possibility."

When asked whether Notre Dame would eventually join the ACC, Swofford joked, "I couldn't hear the question."

Nick Of Time

By David Hale

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Elsa/Getty ImagesNick O'Leary is giving Florida State fans reason to smile this offseason.
With a particularly deep corps of receivers this season, EJ Manuel should have plenty of targets down the field.

But while Rashad Greene, Rodney Smith & Co. figure to have big seasons, Manuel said he's been amazed at how good tight end Nick O'Leary has looked during summer workouts.

"In 7-on-7, we linked up thousands of times," Manuel said. "Every time he's been matched up against linebackers and safeties, he's giving them the business. The guy gets open every single time."

O'Leary caught 12 passes as a freshman last season, but that number will climb this season if Manuel gets his way.

"Nick is a viable option every time he's on the field," Manuel said. "He's definitely a guy I want to get the ball to."


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