When Jacory Harris first began sharing snaps with Robert Marve last spring, one of the unfortunate worries that crept into the back of the minds of Canes fans was that one day one would have to accept playing the role of supporting actor instead of star. After all, both were nothing less than the man as they set Florida high school passing records, led their teams to state titles and earned Mr. Florida Football honors their senior seasons.
With a breakout performance against Texas A&M last Saturday its become more apparent this team will be Robert Marve's to direct at least until proven otherwise. So, how is Jacory handling it? In a sentence: Like a team player.
"I'm starting to get more comfortable with it," he said. "At first I was like kind of like `Dang, will I ever have a chance to get into a groove or would I make one mistake and then not be able to showcase my skills again?' But now I'm realizing it's best for the team. Whatever the team needs that's what I am, a team player."
There's no question in my mind Marve has shown us in two starts he's at least a little bit further ahead than Harris when it comes to being ready to take the starting role. He looks a little bit more confident in the pocket (he's looked calm scrambling for big first downs). He's made some better decisions on when and when not to throw it (remember that pass Harris almost had intercepted against Charleston Southern). And he's got a stronger arm than Jacory -- in my opinion -- right now. But I think the bottom line is Canes fans ought to be joyous. Because right now, both of these guys are better than anything else this team has had since Ken Dorsey left. And to have two quarterbacks on the same team is a blessing. Look what Saturday's opponent, North Carolina, is going through right now with its starter.
UM needs Harris as a backup. And they need him to be happy (after all, we remember what things were like when Kyle Wright and Kirby Freeman were battling for the starting job). Harris is happy and says he can accept the fact Marve is the starter (at least for now) and that he'll likely continue to be used for a series or two in each game. He admitted Tuesday he's had family and friends wonder why he hasn't seen the field more. And he's brushed it off because he and Marve are worried more about victory than individual fame and glory.
"Yes, there's been a lot of people that question why I'm not playing as much," Harris said. "But I always tell them Robert is a good kid, he actually is a good athlete, a good quarterback. Coming into the season when coach was talking about who was going to start, in the back of my mind I knew coach (Patrick) Nix had prepared either one of us – if one gets the job, whoever it is is going to lead this team to a great season. It made me feel more comfortable knowing that Robert was a good quarterback.
"I know the coaches have faith in me, that I'll be used in the offense sooner or later more. I just go out there and do what I have to do. If they tell me to go out there and hand the ball off, I'll hand the ball off. Whatever the team needs to win, that's what I want to do."
Marve said he isn't surprised the system the coach Randy Shannon has implemented has been successful. "Me and (Harris) talk about it all the time," Marve said. "We really don't care the situation we're put into as long as we're winning game, are both playing good, are both helping each other out. We're both trying to listen to the advice coaches are giving us. I'm not surprised. I know Jacory's a great quarterback. To have both of us helping each other overall helps the quarterback position so much."
> Still, there are some adjustments to be made. Harris admitted he wasn't ready to enter the game when Marve got the wind knocked out of him Saturday in College Station. And he admitted, he was nervous. "This was actually my first time being nervous because Marve got knocked out in the game," said Harris, who said it took him an incomplete pass to get the jitters out. "I saw him about to get up but then I'm like `Oh crap, I might have to go in.' I ran onto the field and my mind wasn't on being in the game at the time. I was kind of nervous going onto the field at that time. We got a field goal out of it, so it really didn't show."
"I wouldn't say I wasn't mentally ready; just at that point in time I didn't expect that to happen. It was like, `Dang, where's my helmet at? I have to find my helmet.' I had to run onto the field. I did some good things on that drive - so we came out with a field goal, so I guess it was alright."
> The good news for Miami is that it appears Shannon is taking the development of his quarterbacks very seriously. Offensive coordinator Patrick Nix has spent the first three games of the season coaching from the sideline -- instead of the press box -- so he can personally attend to his QBs needs. "Me and coach Nix talked about it, him going on the sideline where he can talk to them face to face – instead of getting them on the phone `Here's the game plan," Shannon said. "Now you have to rattle off all the plays instead of the kids looking at them, `This one I like.' That has made a big difference in the quarterbacks."
Marve and Harris agreed they like having Nix on the field next to them. "It gives you a sense, you know your coach is there with you," Harris said. "You can see by his expressions if you're doing good or not. When your on the field, when your off the field you can learn from just looking at him how he reacts to things determines if you're doing okay, how the game goes... as soon as you come to the sideline you can have someone that relates to you that's not a player. You talk to him about anything that happens. With me, I ask him what plays he called, what's going on on the field."
Said Marve: "You feel you can talk to him about a lot more things; any little thing pops into your head you can whisper it into his ear, see what he thinks about it. It's a lot better communication overall. Me and Jacory being so young, it really helps where he can talk to us, calm us down. We can see his emotions, not guess about things."
** REMINDER: I've uploaded all of my audio interviews from yesterday into the UM audio section including conversations with defensive tackle Joe Joseph, offensive lineman A.J. Trump, receiver Leonard Hankerson, linebacker Glenn Cook, tight end Dedrick Epps, Marve, Harris and Shannon. It's a cool feature other websites don't have and something I work hard on making sure you get here at Herald.com.
Also, for those of you that missed it, here's a link to Tuesday's chat transcript