Golden's message to Johnson? "Don't fumble inside the five"

Sun Sentinel

For most of his career at Miami, running back Duke Johnson has done a good job taking care of the ball.

But Saturday against USF, the Hurricanes’ leading rusher had two costly fumbles both inside the Bulls’ 5-yard line during the second quarter of Miami’s 49-21 win.

The sophomore still finished with a team-high 14 carries for 84 yards and a touchdown, but at Tuesday’s practice ahead of Miami’s ACC opener against Georgia Tech, Johnson sported the white jersey typically worn by reserve players. Dallas Crawford, who had 13 carries for 40 yards and two touchdowns against USF, wore the orange starter’s jersey.

There’s no doubt Johnson, who hadn’t fumbled in 187 attempts before his first turnover, is expected to have a big role against the Yellow Jackets, but Miami coach Al Golden sent a message.

“Don’t fumble the ball inside the five-yard line,” Golden said. “You can’t fumble the ball inside the five. It wasn’t an aggressive mistake. It was a careless mistake. It was going against what we teach. We do not teach to reach the ball unless it’s fourth down, the last play of the half, or the last play of the game. Dallas reached the ball on his because it was fourth down. That’s a young man that has a lot of moxie. He knew going onto the field that he was going in on fourth down. [Johnson’s] talent and the sensational plays kind of precede him a little bit. So, he has to just continue to learn and grow. The only thing we have to do in this is discipline the habit, the correct habit in this situation. [Johnson’s] been great. He’s had a great attitude. He’ll grow from it. He’ll learn from it. He always does. He’s a learner, he’s a hard worker, but for anybody on the team to do that, there has to be consequences.

Also on the running back front Tuesday, Golden said that former American Heritage-Plantation back Walter Tucker will make his Miami debut this week.

Earlier this season, Golden said he was hoping to redshirt Tucker, but a hamstring injury to Eduardo Clements has tested Miami’s depth at the position

Clements, who was injured against USF, is questionable for Saturday’s game. Golden said a decision on whether he’ll play will likely be made Thursday, while center Shane McDermott (foot) and Jermaine Grace (oblique) should both be available. 

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