Blog Entry

Miami's QB situation: Jacory Harris' last dance

Posted on: September 8, 2011 3:49 pm
Edited on: September 8, 2011 4:15 pm
 
Posted by Chip Patterson

Miami head coach Al Golden did not name a starting quarterback at the end of spring practice. He let senior Jacory Harris and sophomore Stephen Morris compete all through the offseason and into fall camp. When Harris was sidelined for one game as a punishment for accepting impermissible benefits, Morris became the starter - for the time being.

Monday, Sept. 5 - Morris completes 19 of 28 passes for 195 yards with zero touchdowns and two interceptions. Golden re-opens the quarterback competition with a week off before facing Ohio State on Sept. 17.

Tuesday, Sept. 6 - Golden tells reporters he will let Morris and Harris compete "Thursday, Friday, Saturday and then figure it out."

Wednesday, Sept. 7 - Miami releases new depth chart. Harris is listed as the No. 1 quarterback. No comment from any member of the coaching staff.

The sudden change of heart had many Hurricanes fans wondering what happened to "then figure it out."
 
"It would be in my best interest to announce [the starter] on Saturday and not have to deal with it," Golden explained on Thursday. "But the reality is I had a chance to sit down, watch the game several times, meet with the offensive staff, meet with guys on the team and evaluate it.

"I slept on it, felt good about it and made a decision. That's who I am. That's the decision we made. We'll move forward from there."

Golden also explained that he felt Harris had earned the starting role in training camp, and with his experience and body of work. Harris has seen significant action every season since the Miami native set foot on campus, but the results have been inconsistent. At times he was discussed as a possible Heisman candidate, and other times he could not even keep the starting job to himself when healthy. His career numbers reflect those highs and lows, with 50 touchdowns and 39 interceptions.

Golden and offensive coordinator Jedd Fisch believe that Harris is a much different player today, and they must be confident that he will not repeat the four interception performance against Ohio State.

Harris has a chance in his final year to shape the way we remember his career at Miami. Golden has spoken frequently and often about the leadership of the senior class since he arrived in Coral Gables. With five of their eight suspended players back on the field, and facing the threat of an 0-2 start: the Hurricanes can change the tone of their season with a home upset in primetime.  You hear about the players-only meeting called by senior defensive lineman Marcus Forston on Thursday.  You see Golden's faith in Harris to lead the offense.  It seems the offseason comments about the seniors "buying in" might be more than coachspeak.   

But give credit to Morris for what he was able to accomplish. The sophomore has proven across the last two seasons that he can manage the responsibilities of a starting quarterback. CBSSports.com's Brian London reports that Morris took the news well, and "is not a guy who pouts." When Harris graduates, the offense will still be in Morris' capable hands for the future.

The coaching staff says Jacory Harris is a different player. The old Jacory threw four interceptions against Ohio State. If the Hurricanes want to win, they have no choice but for this new player to suit up on Sept. 17.
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