Tag:Stephen Morris
Posted on: March 6, 2012 12:37 pm

Spring Practice Primer: Miami

Posted by Chip Patterson

Spring football is in the air, and with our Spring Practice Primers the Eye On College Football Blog gets you up to speed on what to look for on campuses around the country this spring. Today we look at Miami.

Spring Practice Started: March 3

Spring Game: April 14

Three things to look for:

1. Replacing key defensive playmakers.  The Hurricanes have said goodbye to several upperclassmen who contributed significantly on the defensive side. With players like Sean Spence, Marcus Robinson, Micanor Regis, JoJo Nicolas gone; Al Golden will be looking to a collection of unproven defensive players to step up. Rookie standouts Anthony Chickillo and Denzel Perryman return for their sophomore campaigns, but the rest of the front seven will need to be filled in with to-be-determined playmakers. One player to keep an eye on along the defensive line is redshirt junior Shayon Green, who has received praise from the coaching staff for his offseason work.

2. Ryan Williams' chance to challenge Stephen Morris.  Offseason back surgery will keep junior quarterback Stephen Morris out of contact drills for Miami's spring practice. Morris battled with former quarterback Jacory Harris for the 2011 starting job for nearly six months before losing what nearly everyone close to the program called a "neck-and-neck" battle. But while game experience gives him an edge on freshmen Gray Crow and Preston Dewey, he will still likely have to beat Memphis transfer Ryan Williams for the job in the fall. As a freshman in 2010, Williams won the Tigers' starting job in the second game of the season. A former Florida 6A State Championship MVP, Williams will be looking to put on a show in his return to the South Florida area.

3. Settling on an offensive line.  Miami never settled on a single offensive line rotation during the 2011 season. As players battled through injuries and other setbacks, the coaching staff kept competition for snaps open in practice. The results were mixed, and the lack of continuity along the unit seemed to hold back the offense at points during the season. Spring practice has already started with trouble on the line, with tackle Seantrel Henderson getting hit with a brief suspension for a violation of team policy. Henderson, once considered the future of the unit, will face tough competition from one of the deepest positions in spring ball for the Hurricanes.

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Posted on: February 29, 2012 6:36 pm
Edited on: March 1, 2012 7:47 am

Miami QB Morris to face competition this spring

Posted by Chip Patterson

UPDATE: Stephen Morris was listed as OUT for spring practice when Miami released their pre-spring depth chart Wednesday night.  Ryan Williams was No. 1, with early enrollees Gray Crow and Preston Dewey as No. 2 and No. 3, respectively.

After injuries and turnovers led former Miami head coach Randy Shannon to flip frequently between Jacory Harris and Stephen Morris in 2010, Harris - a senior - kept a strong hold on the starting position for most of Al Golden's first year in 2011.

Golden opened up the quarterback competition upon his arrival in Coral Gables, and let the two quarterbacks compete all the way until the end of fall camp. According to Golden the race for the starting position was neck-and-neck for nearly six months, and several teammates confirmed that observation heading into last season.

Morris, now the heir apparent to the starting quarterback position, will be limited during Miami's spring practice - which opens Saturday morning. According to The Miami Herald, Morris underwent back surgery in the offseason. Miami would not confirm the reason for Morris' limitations, but the junior quarterback is expected to meet with the media on Thursday.

Morris' limitation provides an opportunity for Memphis transfer Ryan Williams to make his case for snaps in 2012. Golden likely had no plans of naming a starting quarterback based exclusively on spring practice, but the extra experience Williams has gotten - and will get this spring - should put him in position to compete in the fall.

A native of Miramar High School, Williams decided to transfer back home after just one season with the Tigers. Williams played in all 12 games as a true freshman in 2010, starting in 10. He completed 165-of-290 passes for 2,075 yards and 13 touchdowns, winning the starting job on the field in the second game. The 6-foot-6, 220-pound quarterback led Miramar to its first ever Florida State Championship in high school, breaking a state record with an 85.7 completion percentage in the title game.

What Morris does have is game experience with the Hurricanes, and the advantage of competing for the job already. But with Williams hungry to produce for his hometown school, any steps made this spring could make for another interesting quarterback competition in the fall for Al Golden.

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

Miami's QB situation: Jacory Harris' last dance

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.
Posted on: September 7, 2011 12:56 pm
Edited on: September 7, 2011 1:02 pm

Miami names Jacory Harris starting QB

Posted by Chip Patterson

Miami head coach Al Golden has named senior Jacory Harris the starting quarterback for the Hurricanes' next game against Ohio State on Sept. 17.

Harris missed the Hurricanes' opener against Maryland while serving a one game suspension for accepted approximately $140 in impermissible benefits from former booster Nevin Shapiro. Sophomore Stephen Morris was named the starter, and completed 19 of 28 passes for 195 with no touchdowns and two interceptions. Following the game, Golden announced that he would re-open the ongoing competition between Morris and Harris for the starting job, one that had lasted since spring practice.

Near the end of fall camp, Golden (along with many UM players) said that the two signal-callers were in a "dead heat." Both quarterbacks received praise for their performance, and their combined scrimmage numbers (individual stats not released by the school) were impressive. But due to the NCAA suspensions, Golden never got a chance to name a starting quarterback from the competition. With Harris in the number one spot on the latest Miami depth chart, it would seem as though the senior would have been the starter against Maryland if he wasn't serving that suspension.

But Harris isn't the only Miami player who will be anxious to get on the field for the first time against Ohio State. Wide receiver Travis Benjamin will be back in his starting spot, and Adwele Ojomo and Marcus Forston should have an immediate impact on a defensive line that looked gassed by the second half against Maryland. All-conference linebacker Sean Spence will be back in the starting lineup, and his impact in the back seven should be felt immediately.

The best thing the Hurricanes have going for them heading into this big-time matchup against the Buckeyes is the extra time to prepare. I imagine that the leadership of these upperclassmen will play a big role in the team's focus on knocking off OSU at home in primetime.
Posted on: August 30, 2011 7:17 pm

Morris among new starters after Cane suspensions

Posted by Jerry Hinnen

Simultaneous to the NCAA ruling on the eight Miami players now suspended for the Hurricanes' Monday opener against Maryland, the program also released its first depth chart of the 2011 season. With the suspended players absent from the depth chart, here's a rundown of who will be starting for the 'Canes against the Terps:

Stephen Morris, quarterback. With Jacory Harris unavailable, the 6'2" sophomore unsurprisingly gets the nod over Spencer Whipple. Morris appeared in six games a year ago and started four, with the typical ups-and-downs of freshman quarterbacks; he led the Hurricanes to victories over Maryland and Georgia Tech late in the year but only completed 54 percent of his passes and tossed more interceptions (nine) than touchdown passes (seven).

Allen Hurns, wide receiver. A true sophomore, Hurns saw action in nine games in 2010 -- mostly on special teams -- before suffering an injury. He did not record a reception. But he'll get the start against the Terps anyway after the suspensions of Aldarius Johnson and Travis Benjamin.

Darius Smith, defensive tackle. Potential All-American Marcus Forston is out, so in steps the 6'2", 360-pound JUC transfer tackle from Lackawanna (Pa.) College. (No doubt he'll be a favorite of fans of The Office.) Smith was originally recruited to Temple by head coach Al Golden before failing to qualify academically.

Andrew Smith, defensive end. Smith started seven games as a sophomore but came off the bench as a junior. With both Olivier Vernon and Adewale Ojomo suspended, though, Smith is set to get the call against Maryland. Even as a substitute, Smith tied for fourth on the team with three sacks in 2010.

James Gaines, linebacker. All-ACC 'backer Sean Spence is among those sitting the single game against Maryland, so sophomore Gaines, a native of Canisuius, N.Y., will get the call. Gaines appeared in six games as a true freshman and made one assisted tackle.

Michael Williams, cornerback. The suspended Ray Ray Armstrong was a safety, but Jojo Nicolas's move back to that position to fill that hole opened one up for Williams, a senior who sat out last seaso nafter transferring from Wake Forest. Williams started four games for the Demon Deacons in 2009.

Miami has not named a starter at tight end, the position of the suspended Dyron Dye.

Posted on: July 25, 2011 7:19 pm

Golden: QB decision coming Aug. 19-22

Posted by Chip Patterson

It took no time at all for new Miami head coach Al Golden to get a question about the ongoing quarterback battle between Jacory Harris and Stephen Morris. The battle had no clear-cut winner in the spring, and Golden announced before the offseason that it would continue into spring camp. Although the question is the same, at least this time Golden was able to give Hurricanes fans an idea of when the decision would be made.

"I think we're going to allow the quarterbacks to continue to compete, and we'll make a determination sometime between 19th and 22nd of August," Golden explained to the assembled media at the ACC Football Kickoff on Monday. "If one distinguishes himself prior to that time I'm not afraid to name one sooner. I'm going to let them compete and go from there."

The reason for that deadline is that it coincides with the beginning of school and the end of fall camp. Miami's first matchup will be a Labor Day primetime showdown against Maryland, and the staff would like to have decided on a starter by the time game preparations begin.

While the beginning of fall camp at Miami will re-start the quarterback battle, it will begin likely without two big-name lineman who have been dealing with injuries. Defensive tackle Marcus Forston is still recovering from surgery, but there were some question as to why offensive tackle Seantrel Henderson was also included in that group.

"Seantrel has a back issue that has been bothering him since the middle of March, Golden explained. "That's something that we've been dealing with."

Apparently, that back problem has been an issue that has been connected to his weight. Golden was pleased to report that Henderson was down to 341 pounds (from 388), and has developed some maturity as he has been faced with these health issues. According to Golden, both players will be out 7-10 days.
Posted on: May 23, 2011 11:06 am
Edited on: May 23, 2011 11:07 am

Al Golden wants even more QB's at Miami

Posted by Chip Patterson

One of the major storylines of Miami's offseason has been the ongoing competition at the starting quarterback position. Head coach Al Golden elected to keep the race open through the summer, as he felt neither Jacory Harris nor Stephen Morris had truly "won" the job. Golden, a former defensive coordinator at the University of Virginia, has been particularly vocal about the quarterback position - even telling the Palm Beach Post that he'd like to have "five or six quarterbacks."

"Right now, we're still not where we want to be. We need five or six quarterbacks. We're looking. If you're a talented recruit out there and you're looking for a chance to impact a program, it's still a great opportunity for you."

The topic came up after Golden landed a commitment from former Memphis starting quarterback Ryan Williams. Williams will transfer immediately, then be eligible to play beginning in 2012. Along with Williams and Morris, Miami already has a firm commitment from Gray Crow - one of the top ranked quarterbacks in the state. Golden has also said that he hopes to sign "at least one quarterback" who can enroll in January 2012 to take part in spring practice.

"If you're a rising senior and you have an opportunity to compete against only two quarterbacks – Ryan and Stephen – come January, that's the best deal going in college football," Golden said. "On the first day, you're getting reps with (the second-team offense) and if you're doing good, you can get reps with the (first-team offense). I think it's an incredible opportunity for someone."

Golden's first months on the job have been eventful, to say the least. There have been the normal slew of offseason troubles, which have led to some hasty transfers and dismissals. But the focus off the offseason continues to be a return to the top. Since arriving in the ACC in 2004, the Hurricanes' momentum has sputtered from the four straight Big East titles from 2000-2003. Golden has made no secrets about his goal for change around the program. As long as it results in competing for ACC titles, Hurricanes fans will have no problem with his surprising personnel decisions.
Posted on: May 13, 2011 10:26 am

Forcier not going to Miami after all

Posted by Jerry Hinnen

The career of former Michigan quarterback Tate Forcier has already taken a stunning number of turns for one that's still only two collegiate seasons deep. But it's just taken another one all the same.

ESPN's Heather Dinich is reporting that Forcier has now elected not to transfer to Miami, the school with which Forcier signed an Aid Agreement (and who announced his arrival) this past February. Dinich reports, however, that Forcier hasn't returned once to the Coral Gables campus since his first visit. A source cited by Dinich claims "personal reasons" for Forcier's decision.

More than one wag will claim those personal reasons will amount to one reason named "Ryan Williams" (the former Memphis starter now also competing for the Hurricanes' 2012 quarterback job), but given Forcier's limited exposure to the program before making what now looks like a hasty decision, some second thoughts might have been inevitable regardless of the depth chart. (In any case, we'll be watching the famous "@QBForce" Twitter feed closely this week in the hopes of clarification.)

In any case, Forcier now joins the swelling ranks of unaffiliated quarterback transfer targets. He might not be Russell Wilson, but given his impressive true freshman season and capable performances in relief of Denard Robinson in 2010, he's also likely to offer more immediate help (in 2012) than Tyler Gabbert.

As for Miami, Forcier's decision leaves them with just two scholarship quarterbacks on the projected 2012 roster: Stephen Morris and Williams. Expect Al Golden to hit the recruiting trail even harder than usual when it comes to finding a future signal-caller.

The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com