Posted by Chip Patterson
UPDATE - Interim coach Jeff Stoutland announced at a joint press conference on Thursday that Jacory Harris would be the starting quarterback against Notre Dame. He did also say that if Stephen Morris is needed, "he'll be available." The situation sounds like a flip-flop of the South Florida game, with Morris starting and Harris "available." We saw two quarterbacks against the Bulls, so it could happen again in the Sun Bowl.
As Miami prepares to try and put an end to a tumultuous season in the Sun Bowl against Notre Dame on Friday, it seems fitting that on Thursday morning the quarterback situation is still not resolved. Jacory Harris is expected to get the start, filling in for injured quarterback Stephen Morris. Morris, who won the job after filling in for the injured Harris earlier in the season, sprained his ankle in Tuesday's practice. Harris has been practicing with the first team, but interim coach Jeff Stoutland says that Morris has not been ruled out yet.
"He's way better than we thought he would be,'' Stoutland said after practice on Wednesday. "After I left you guys yesterday and I checked on him, I thought it was going to be, you know I didn't expect [him to be that much improved."
Harris has not started a game since October 30, when he sustained a concussion against Virginia that put him out for nearly a month. When Harris was cleared to play by doctors, former head coach Randy Shannon kept Morris in the starting position. Harris did get to see the field in the regular season finale against South Florida, but even leading Miami to 20 second half points wasn't enough to squeak out the victory in the 23-20 overtime loss. Harris was mostly efficient in the outing, completing 12 of 18 passes for 118 yards. But it was a costly interception (his 12th in nine games of action) that reminded many Hurricanes fans the frustrations of having Harris under center.
The decision on the starting quarterback is expected to come on Thursday. After another day of rest, the staff will make a determination on Morris' status. Despite his apparent loyaly towards Morris, Stoutland still is confident in Harris should he be the starter. He made a point to compliment Harris' preparation for the game, saying he is "on his 'A' game right now mentally."
Notre Dame has seen some great offenses this season. Regardless of who is under center, the necessity to limit the mistakes will still hold utmost importance for the Hurricanes success.