Posted on: November 25, 2010 7:12 pm

Miami down one RB for USF

Posted by Chip Patterson

With the uncertainty of Miami's quarterback situation, the Hurricanes will likely be looking for help from their running game in their season finale against South Florida.   The Hurricanes use a three running back rotation pretty consistently, and their rushing attack is among the best in the ACC.  That committee will be missing their third piece on Saturday with Mike James being listed as out on Miami's injury report.  According to the South Florida Sun-Sentinel, James has been suffering from an undisclosed illness this week and will not go against the Bulls.

The injury report did not provide any further clarification to the status of starting quarterback Jacory Harris.  Head coach Randy Shannon has been predictably ambiguous about the situation, naming Harris the starter only "if he's ready."  However, sources are reporting that freshman Stephen Morris will continue to start for the Hurricanes, a fact that is not sitting well with Harris.  With a shaky quarterback situation and having finished conference play, Miami will lean on the efforts of running backs Lamar Miller and Damien Berry to avoid being upset by the Bulls in the season finale.          
Posted on: November 24, 2010 3:04 pm
Edited on: November 24, 2010 3:09 pm

Randy Shannon's job is safe, for now

Posted by Chip Patterson

Miami head coach Randy Shannon has spent most of his football career in South Florida.  His roots in Miami are so deep, it is nearly impossible to imagine Shannon anywhere else.  After playing on the Hurricanes' 1987 National Championship team, Shannon returned to Miami after a brieft NFL stint as a graduate assistant and later assistant coach.  Shannon then made the big jump to the NFL, joining (you guessed it!) the Miami Dolphins.  He then returned to the Hurricanes as a defensive assistant and eventually was named head coach.  Despite Shannon's deep roots in the Miami area, he is beginning to catch some criticism from the Miami faithful.

No matter what the critics are saying, Shannon still has the support of the Miami brass.  The Miami Herald reports that despite this year's disappointing 5-3 conference finish, University President Donna Shalala still has confidence that Shannon is the man for the job.  The report goes on to suggest that there are some trustees who would like to see a change, but as long as Shannon is not deterring donors - his job is safe for the moment.   

When Miami joined the ACC, the expectation was for "The U" to quickly establish dominance and take their place among the conference's elite.  But since Randy Shannon took the reigns at Miami, the Hurricanes have not finished better than third in their own division.  Shannon's .500 conference record does not exactly live up to the same standards of the Miami squads he played on and coached for in the late 1980's and early 1990's.  Shannon could start to silence his critics with a berth to the ACC Championship Game, it is awfully difficult to establish conference dominance without ever winning your own division.
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 22, 2010 2:15 pm

BC's Montel Harris has knee surgery

Posted by Tom Fornelli

It's been a tale of two seasons for Boston College in 2010.  The team started off 2-5 and 0-4 in the ACC while playing musical chairs with its quarterback throughout.  Really, the only constant for Boston College through the first two months of the schedule was running back Montel Harris, who game in and game out was the best player on offense.  Well, not much has changed for Harris, but his team finally caught up with him over the last month, as BC has won four straight conference games and are now 6-5 going into the season's final game against Syracuse.

Unfortunately for the Eagles, they're not going to have Harris for the game.  Harris tore the lateral meniscus in his left knee during BC's 17-13 victory over Virginia on Saturday, and had to have arthroscopic surgery to repair it on Monday morning.  

Now, there is a chance that Harris will be able to return in time for a bowl game, though that all depends on where Boston College ends up, and how much time he'll have off to recover.  Odds are that Harris will do everything he can to play in the bowl game, as he's a senior and it would be the final game of his career.  Plus, he has a chance to rush his way into the Boston College record books.

Harris moved past Mike Cloud to take over second place on BC's all-time rushing list before being injured on Saturday, and finds himself with 3,600 yards in his career.  Which is only 125 yards shy of Boston College's all-time leading rusher Derrick Knight.
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 19, 2010 10:43 am
Edited on: November 19, 2010 11:05 am

Seminoles limping into conference finale

Posted by Chip Patterson

Locked in a heated three-way race with Maryland and N.C. State, Florida State knows that a loss against the Terps on Saturday likely crushes their chances of an Atlantic Division title and a berth to the ACC Championship Game.  Florida State had a firm grasp on the division before losing back-to-back games to N.C. State and North Carolina.  Now, the Seminoles must defeat Maryland and hope for the Wolfpack to lose one of their two remaining conference games in order to avoid losing the division.  

They are going to have to get the job done in College Park far from full health.  Christian Ponder will be back on the field after sitting out against Clemson a week ago with soreness from a ruptured bursa sac in his elbow.  Ponder is not quite 100 percent, and it would not be surprising if E.J. Manuel saw some action, particularly after his performance on the ground against the Tigers.  But Ponder will missing two crucial pieces of the offense on Saturday.  Wide receiver Willie Haulstead and running back Jermaine Thomas are both will both sit out the conference finale with injuries.  Haulstead, who leads the team in receiving yards, has not been able to practice this week due to a head injury. Thomas, the team's leader in carries, was expected to miss action due to a sprained knee.  Maryland's defense has buckled against Top 25-caliber offenses this season, but with all the health issues it is not certain that the unit on Saturday is of that caliber.
Posted on: November 17, 2010 12:46 pm
Edited on: November 17, 2010 12:48 pm

Nate Irving goes 'WWE' on Wake Forest WR [GIF]

Posted by Chip Patterson

Often a wide receiver will find himself being greeted face to face by a linebacker to the tune of a punishing open-field hit.  Many times, the wide receiver does not expect it and is left gathering himself for a few moments.  But the only thing worse, is the premeditated knowledge of your coming doom.  Such was the case for Wake Forest wide receiver Michael Campanaro.  

Campanaro found himself wrapped up by North Carolina State linebacker Nate Irving during the Wolfpack's 38-3 victory last Saturday, when he felt something funny.  His feet had left the ground.  Instead of a force pushing Campanaro to the turf, he was being lifted in the air.  I imagine, that the following split seconds seemed like an eternity.  After all Irving is one of the most talented and feared linebackers in the ACC, and he was in the midst of a performance that would finish with an NCAA-record 8 TFLs.  Rather hitting the ground when you least expect it, Campanaro had plenty of time to feel his body receive the full suplex into the Carter-Finley Stadium grass.  Face-to-face, the 6-1 235 pound Irving looks like a human incarnation of the Predator.  In fact, I was shocked he did not just start skinning Campanaro on the spot.

As Tom Fornelli pointed out, the only thing that would make this GIF better is if Campanaro's head stuck in the ground, leaving only his legs to dangle pointing towards the sky.


Posted on: November 17, 2010 2:53 am

Did bye weeks save Fairley from suspension?

Posted by Adam Jacobi

As mentioned earlier, Auburn DT Nick Fairley will not be suspended for the Alabama game by the SEC after a series of unsportsmanlike conduct penalties marred the Auburn-Georgia game last week. Alabama fans will no doubt be rankled by the conference's decision -- for reasons most certainly including Fairley's prodigious talent, of course -- and Auburn fans are pointing fingers at Georgia for the whole mess and calling no-foul on the decision, but Gene Chizik will get two weeks to punish Fairley in-house and then that'll be that.

Except, here's the thing: Georgia quarterback Aaron Murray, the target of multiple late hits by Fairley last week, still isn't practicing yet as he recovers from injuries that knocked him out of the end of last week's game. Georgia's on a bye and Mark Richt is calling his quarterback "day-to-day," so Murray's probably unlikely to miss any playing time, but the freshman is certainly injured; even with the bye week coming up, it would be insane for Richt to hold his signal-caller out of practice if Murray's able to go, what with a must-win tilt with Georgia Tech looming. And we really mean "must win;" Richt's job might be on the line if he can't get the Dawgs to .500 and a bowl game, so if Murray's not even practicing with a no-contact jersey on, there's a good reason.

So since Murray is clearly injured at some level, if Georgia were playing a game this week, there is a significant (if not necessarily ironclad -- we don't really know) chance that if Georgia had a game this week, Murray would be too injured to go. And if Nick Fairley had indeed knocked an opposing quarterback out of not only the Auburn game but also the following week and with multiple instances of dirty play, there's absolutely no way the SEC would have left his eligibility up to Auburn's discretion for the following week. 

Ah, but Murray and Fairley both have the week off, and neither is likely to miss any time, so this is all largely an academic question. Still, it's worth wondering -- is Nick Fairley's conduct always going to be at least implicitly condoned by the SEC like this, or was his status for the Iron Bowl the result, in part, of some measure of scheduling luck?

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