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Tag:Stephen Morris
Posted on: December 29, 2010 12:33 pm
 

Stephen Morris hurts ankle in practice

Posted by Tom Fornelli

We're only a few days away from the Sun Bowl yet we still haven't been told who will be starting at quarterback for the Miami Hurricanes.  Interim head coach Jeff Stoutland has kept a wraps on his plans since taking the job over, and has had Stephen Morris and Jacory Harris in a competition throughout practices.  Odds are that Stoutland will never tell anyone what his plans are until just before game time, or it's possible he won't say anything at all and everyone will just have to wait and see when the game starts.

Of course, even if Stoutland doesn't plan on showing his cards before the game, there are other ways of figuring these things out.  For example, the fact that Morris was on crutches after injuring his ankle in practice on Tuesday can't bode well for his chances.

Morris hurt the ankle while taking snaps with the first team and fell down.  It's not clear exactly what he did to the ankle, but he could not put any weight on it afterward, and had to use crutches to get around.  Which means that it's likely Jacory Harris will get one more shot to redeem himself in 2010.

Though this isn't just a chance to put a nice bow on what's been a disappointing season for Harris.  It's also a chance to give himself a step up in the competition for the job next season when Al Golden takes over.  After all, it's hard to impress NFL scouts and erase doubts about your abilities from the bench.
Posted on: December 22, 2010 1:44 pm
 

Jacory Harris still fighting for one more chance

Posted by Tom Fornelli

While Miami will play its final game of the season against Notre Dame in the Sun Bowl on New Year's Eve, you can be sure that Jacory Harris is looking forward to New Year's Day more than anything.  That's when he'll finally be able to put an awful 2010 behind him and try to right things in 2011.  Of course, having one more chance to redeem himself and the 2010 season in the Sun Bowl would be nice, but interim head coach Jeff Stoutland isn't making any promises that Harris will get another shot this season.

Stoutland has said that there's an open competition between Harris and Stephen Morris to see who the team's starting quarterback will be, and he doesn't plan on making any decision before the team arrives in El Paso.

"Every day, somebody emerges, then the other guy comes back," said Stoutland. "I keep waiting to say to myself, 'OK, it looks like [Morris or Harris] is taking over.' It's great for the competition. It makes the position better."

It's been a long season for Harris, who started the year with his name being mentioned as a Heisman candidate and then saw his skills being questioned by the Miami fan base, received racist tweets and, to top it all off, suffered a concussion.  Of course, even if Harris earns the start in the Sun Bowl, that doesn't mean things will be any easier in 2011.

He'll have to prove himself to a new coach in Al Golden who holds no allegiance to any of the players on the Miami roster, and should Golden decide not to retain offensive coordinator Mark Whipple, Harris will have to break in his third offensive coordinator and system in four years at the school.
Posted on: November 23, 2010 1:48 pm
Edited on: November 23, 2010 1:50 pm
 

Shannon: Harris will start 'if he's ready'

Posted by Chip Patterson

The Stephen Morris experience at Miami got a harsh dose of reality when the first-place Virginia Tech Hokies came into Coral Gables on Saturday.  While Morris had impressed Hurricanes fans by orchestrating wins over Maryland and Georgia Tech, but the fourth quarter unraveling against the Hokies have turned all eyes back on injured starter Jacory Harris.  The Hurricanes entered the fourth quarter tied 17-17 with Virginia Tech, and a win would keep their ACC Championship hopes alive.  But the Virginia Tech defense was not about to surrender the Coastal Division on account of a freshman quarterback.  Morris was picked three times in the final 9 minutes, and Tyrod Taylor put the nail in the coffin at the 6:25 mark with his 18 yard touchdown scramble.  

Harris was cleared by doctors to play, but remained on the sideline throughout the 31-17 loss.  Now, with an in-state showdown against South Florida to close the season, head coach Randy Shannon must decide whether to start the recovering quarterback.  Harris has yet to see the field in a game since suffering a concussion against Virginia on October 30, and has worn the green, non-contact jersey in practice.  When asked about Harris' status for Saturday's game, Shannon was predictably ambiguous.  Shannon said that Harris would start against the Bulls, but only "if he's ready."  The head coach stressed that it would depend on how Harris' timing and rhythm looked in practice this week, and that doctors would be on the sideline to assist in the decision.

Shannon has been very vocal about supporting the health of his quarterback rather than thinking the team's offensive needs.  He may also know that the fate of the Hurricanes is basically sealed at this point.  Officially eliminated of the Coastal Division race, the Hurricanes are likely staring down an invitation to the Sun Bowl in El Paso, Texas.  They could still be selected by the Champs Sports Bowl in Orlando, but the Sun Bowl officials have already expressed interest in seeing the Hurricanes down in the Lone Star State.  With the game against South Florida having little to no meaning for Miami, working out Stephen Morris for one more game might not be a bad idea for Miami.
Posted on: November 21, 2010 1:35 am
 

What I learned from the ACC (Nov. 20)

Posted by Chip Patterson

1. Virginia Tech clinched the Coastal Division title because of playmakers - If there is one thing that has seemed to separate Virginia Tech from the rest of the conference in 2010, it has been the weekly appearance of Hokie playmakers. Frank Beamer's roster is loaded with talent that can simply make plays when needed. Virginia Tech clinched their fourth Coastal Division title since joining the ACC in 2004 with their 31-17 dismantling of Miami in Coral Gables on Saturday. When the Hurricanes stuck VT in a corner, the Hokies always had someone to answer. Whether it was Tyrod Taylor, Ryan Williams, or Danny Coale, someone was always stepping up when needed. The Hokies may have the division clinched, but they'll be playing for history against Virginia next week. No team has run the table in the ACC since Florida State did it in 1999 and 2000. A win over the Cavaliers and Virginia Tech can add that to their already impressive ACC resume.

2. N.C. State on the edge of a historic season - By squeezing out a 29-25 come from behind victory against North Carolina, N.C. State has found themselves a game away from competing in their first ACC Atlantic Division title. The Wolfpack have not won an ACC Championship since 1979, and with a win over Maryland next week in the season finale, will have a chance to do so against the Hokies in Charlotte. They got it done with special teams against the Tar Heels, benefitting from T.J. Graham's 87 yard punt return touchdown to give the Wolfpack the go-ahead score in Chapel Hill. The win gave Tom O'Brien a perfect 4-0 record against North Carolina as the N.C. State head coach, an accomplishment that can keep him in good graces around Raleigh for quite some time.

3. There might not be much of a quarterback controversy in Miami - Miami chose not to play quarterback Jacory Harris against Virginia Tech despite being cleared by the doctors before the game. Stephen Morris had performed well in Harris' absence, even leading some pundits to murmur ideas of a quarterback controversy. After Morris' performance against Virginia Tech, which included three interceptions and a lost fumble, it would not be surprising to see Harris back under center for the Hurricanes' season finale against South Florida. Miami's loss ended their chances of a division tittle, and with the conference season being completed are playing for bowl stock against the Bulls next week. The Hurricanes offense finished the game with six turnovers, and Morris looked very much like a freshman against Bud Foster's defense. Harris has a knack for turning the ball over as well, but judging by how active he was on the sidelines on Saturday it would surprising not to see him take some snaps against the Bulls to warm up for the bowl game.
Posted on: November 20, 2010 5:10 pm
Edited on: November 20, 2010 5:11 pm
 

Harris dressed, but Morris starts for Miami

Posted by Chip Patterson

Jacory Harris was listed as questionable on the Miami injury report coming into Saturday's matchup with Virginia Tech, still recovering from the concussion suffered against Virginia .  At gametime, Harris is in pads on the sideline, but freshman quarterback Stephen Morris has continued to be the man under center.  Harris has been active on the sideline, constantly communicating with Morris and offensive coordinator Mark Whipple.  He has been cleared to play by team doctors, but there has been little indication that he will see the field against the Hokies.

Jorge Milian of the Palm Beach Post is guessing that Morris will also be the starter for the Hurricanes season finale against USF, with Harris returning for the bowl game.  Morris' performance in the first half against the Hokies has been decent, completing 12 passes for 168 yards and a touchdown - though he has fumbled one snap.  With the score knotted at 10, the Hurricanes are keeping their ACC Championship Game chances alive...barely.
Posted on: November 15, 2010 1:19 pm
Edited on: November 15, 2010 1:51 pm
 

Shannon: Harris' injury 'serious and severe'

Posted by Chip Patterson

With Saturday's 35-10 victory over Georgia Tech in Atlanta, Miami was able to keep their ACC Championship dreams alive.  But with Virginia Tech taking care of business in Chapel Hill just hours later, this week's matchup against the Hokies has become a must-win for the Hurricanes.  With the heightened status of the Coastal Division showdown in Coral Gables, the biggest question out of Miami has to do with the starting quarterback situation.  Jacory Harris has not played since suffering a concussion during the first half of Miami's 24-19 loss to Virginia on October 30.  Freshman Stephen Morris has performed admirably in Harris' absence, throwing for 516 yards and two touchdowns in the last two victories.  Some have suggested that head coach Randy Shannon should let Morris keep the job, regardless of Harris' health.  Shannon has stuck by his starter, but it looks like he may not have any other choice for Saturday's game.

In his teleconference on Sunday evening, Shannon called Harris' head injury "something that's severe and serious'' and added that the Miami training staff would not rush the recovery process.  Shannon said that in Harris' best interest, they would be taking "baby steps" bringing him back to the field.  Since the Virginia Tech game is five days away and he has yet to see any time back in pads, all signs seem to point to Morris being under center against the Hokies.  
Posted on: November 14, 2010 12:52 am
Edited on: November 14, 2010 12:57 am
 

What I learned from the ACC (Nov. 13)

Posted by Chip Patterson

1.  Seminole redemption is sweet - Wow. What a finish for Florida State. After getting bullied around the field for three quarters, a Florida State interception completely turned all of the momentum in Tallahassee. Clemson was completely dictating the game thanks to the play of Jamie Harper, who finished the game with 143 yards rushing and 54 yards receiving. But as Florida State's defense continued to keep the Tigers out of the end zone in the second half, the offense could not get anything going. Finally, quarterback E.J. Manuel started taking over in the fourth quarter thanks to a potent option attack that delivered the first touchdown drive of the game. But nothing was sweeter than the redemption for kicker Dustin Hopkins. Hopkins missed a game-winning field goal at home a week ago against North Carolina, but absolutely crushed his 55-yard attempt against Clemson as time expired.

2. Clarity will not come this week in the Atlantic - A week ago, the ACC Atlantic Division got flipped upside down with Maryland, Florida State, and N.C. State all dropping games when they had an opportunity to seize the lead in the standings. On Saturday, all three squads shared the same fate again, though this one had a happier ending for the contenders. But with none of the three teams losing, the division is still up for grabs between the Seminoles, Wolfpack, and Terrapins. The team with the most control over the situation is Maryland, who plays the Seminoles and Wolfpack at home for their final two games of the season. N.C. State owns the head-to-head tiebreaker with Florida State, so the Seminoles will need help from the Terrapins and/or North Carolina in order avoid losing the division to the Wolfpack.

3. A strong running game will ease the pressure on a young QB - With Jacory Harris out due to the concussion suffered against Virginia, Miami turned to freshman quarterback Stephen Morris once again to lead the Hurricanes. The greatest thing a young quarterback can have is a good running game, and Morris benefited from one of the best on Saturday. Damien Berry and Lamar Miller both missed practice at the beginning of the week, but showed no signs of being slowed against the Yellow Jackets. Berry, Miller and Mike James combined for 218 yards on 36 rushes to lead Miami in the 35-10 win.

4. All VT does is win - Most of the nation tried to throw away the Hokies after a widely-publicized 0-2 start. But all Frank Beamer has done since joining the ACC is dominate in conference play, and that doesn't appear to be stopping anytime soon. Since joining the conference in 2004, Virginia Tech has a 45-11 conference record with three conference championships on the mantle. The Hokies have matured and gotten stronger as the season has progressed, and despite dealing with injury issues on both sides of the ball, played one of their most complete games of the season against North Carolina. At 6-0, Virginia Tech has nearly clinched their fourth division title. They still need to defeat Miami in Coral Gables to clinch it, but the win in Chapel Hill may have been enough to lock it up eventually.

5. Yates exposed by Hokies secondary - After being the subject of much criticism for the last two seasons, senior quarterback T.J. Yates entered Saturday's game in the midst of one of strongest statistical seasons in recent history at North Carolina. Yates has also been etching himself into Tar Heels history, setting a school record with 439 passing yards against Florida State last week, the first North Carolina win in Tallahassee. Yates also became the school's career leader for pass completions against Virginia Tech. But it was a few of those incompletions that spoiled Yates' strong statistical start. Entering the game with 15 touchdowns and only 4 interceptions, Yates failed to throw a touchdown and tossed four interceptions against the Hokies. One game does not spoil Yates strong 2010 campaign, but it was a credit to the Hokies defense that refused to let North Carolina receivers get open downfield. Only three of Yates' 18 completions were to wide receivers, with the senior being forced to check down virtually all day against the stiff Virginia Tech defense.

Posted on: November 8, 2010 12:02 pm
 

There is no QB controversy at Miami

Posted by Tom Fornelli

Stephen Morris had a pretty good day for Miami as he filled in for the concussed Jacory Harris against Maryland on Saturday.  The freshman threw for 286 yards and a touchdown, but he also threw two interceptions, so it's not like the kid was amazing.  Still, I guess some Miami fans saw the two interceptions and thought "that's less than Jacory usually throws" because apparently some people started making noise that Morris should become the full-time starter, even when Harris returns.

Which Randy Shannon then put to bed with his icy stare, while his eyes transmitted this message.

"If [Jacory]'s cleared and doing all the things, then, yes, he'll be the starter,'' Shannon told The Miami Herald, which on Sunday featured a picture of Morris on the front page with the headline "A New Hero." "You don't lose your job because of one game. That's going to be the next question this week, huh -- quarterback controversy. You are all going to make it worse than what it is.

"I will not know until the medical staff tells me. Until the medical staff clears him, Jacory will be out. If the medical staff never clears him, Jacory will not play.

"I can't say he's going to play this week, next week or the week after. It's up to the medical staff. So, when he's cleared to go, then I can let you guys know.''

Which only makes sense for Miami.  Morris had a nice game, yes, but he didn't do anything to take the job away from Harris.  He still threw those two interceptions.  I know Harris hasn't lived up to the Heisman candidate hype he was getting before the season, but that hype was placed on him by the same people now wondering if he should lose his job.  He's still the same quarterback he's always been.
 
 
 
 
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