Quarterback Jacory Harris returns from a one-game suspension to step right into the starter’s role for UM’s home opener Sept. 17.
The University of Miami quarterback competition stopped before it began again.
The Hurricanes announced Wednesday afternoon that senior Jacory Harris, who was suspended by the NCAA for the opener at Maryland, will start in UM’s home opener Sept. 17 against Ohio State.
UM coach Al Golden, who was on the Atlantic Coast Conference coaches’ teleconference as UM sent out the news via Twitter, did not discuss the decision on the conference call. Nor did he talk about the new depth chart UM also released for the Ohio State game.
Golden told reporters Tuesday that he was reopening the quarterback competition after the Hurricanes’ 32-24 loss to the Terrapins. He said initially that Harris and sophomore Stephen Morris, who played against Maryland, would compete Thursday, Friday and Saturday before coaches named the starter against the Buckeyes.
Morris completed 19 of 28 passes for 195 yards, with two interceptions and a lost fumble Monday. Golden was upset about the turnovers and two consecutive delay-of-game penalties on consecutive plays, and said Tuesday that there were “just too many operational things that the quarterback is responsible for that we need to improve.
“Clearly, a lot of those situations we got in were either from an operational standpoint or confusion coming out of the huddle,” Golden said. “We have to get that cleared up.
“That has got to come from the quarterback position. There’s no other way to do that.”
It seems more and more evident that had Harris not been one of eight UM players suspended for receiving impermissible benefits related to former booster Nevin Shapiro, he would likely have been named the starter — though Golden has not come out and said it. He said all along that the quarterback competition was “neck and neck,” and that Harris led at one point, but that Morris came on strong in the few days before the NCAA announced its UM suspensions Aug. 25. At that point, Golden said he had already been giving Morris the snaps at first team, with Spencer Whipple getting the second-team reps.
Harris stayed home along with the rest of the suspended players for the opener. Last year, he played in 10 games — starting nine. He completed 148 of 270 passes for 1,793 yards and 14 touchdowns, with 15 interceptions.
Harris’ last start, against Notre Dame in the Sun Bowl, was one to forget. He completed 4 of 7 passes for 37 yards. The other three passes were interceptions, and Morris took over.
“Seeing Harris on the field might not be the worst thing for Ohio State,” ESPN.com Big Ten blogger Adam Rittenberg wrote Wednesday after UM sent out the news. “The Buckeyes picked off Harris four times in last year’s 36-24 win in Columbus, with the takeaways leading to 16 points. Harris repeatedly hurt Miami, especially in Ohio State territory.
“If an opportunistic Buckeyes defense capitalizes on Harris’ [habit] of throwing interceptions, the Scarlet and Gray should be fine against the U.”
As for the newest depth chart, the formerly suspended Sean Spence will start at outside linebacker. On the defensive line, freshman Anthony Chickillo is listed as a costarter at right defensive end with returning player Adewale Ojomo — with the word “or” used; and returning right tackle Marcus Forston has an “or” used with Micanor Regis.
Travis Benjamin, also returning from suspension, is listed as a starting receiver, along with Allen Hurns.
“We’ve got a chance to go back to just improving our team and go back to basics,” Golden said Wednesday.
“Again, you’ve got to give Maryland a lot of credit for the way they played and the way they executed, but from our standpoint, we had four turnovers, 10 penalties and we didn’t get enough stops on defense on third downs.
“In many instances, we didn’t take our training to the game. I think the guys are aware of that. It’s something we can focus on here the next three days.”
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