GREENTREE PRACTICE FIELD -- UM coach Randy Shannon confirmed after Thursday's practice what Eugene Marve told us earlier this afternoon -- the Canes' starting quarterback has been suspended for the Emerald Bowl. But what stunned me wasn't that Shannon was short with his answers to reporter's questions to the Robert Marve story. We expected that.
What was strange to me was that he didn't seem extremely bothered by the fact the guy he started 11 times this season began his season suspended and will end it suspended for basically failing to what he's supposed to -- go to class and be there on time. "You're always disappointed when a violation of team rules occur," Shannon said after telling reporters the decision to suspend Marve was made Thursday morning. "But you know what, our job is to teach them and they learn from it. He'll bounce back and we'll keep him going.
"It's just a growing pain. He's a redshirt freshman, you got to get guys understanding that it takes certain time with guys. Everybody's not going to come in and do everything that's supposed to be done. It's our job to get them to do it... Our job is to educate the kids when something happens. And that's what my job is to educate them. This university has been very helpful in educating all the student athletes we have on campus and we'll keep doing those type of things."
Shannon said he hasn't heard any rumors about Marve transferring and said he expects him back after the bowl game. As expected, Jacory Harris will be the starter in San Francisco Dec. 27. The mild surprise? His backups will be walk-ons Matt Perrelli and Jake Byrne, the team's current holder and long-snappers. Shannon said he won't let Cannon Smith or Taylor Cook burn their redshirts (both would by playing this late in the season, despite not having played much if at all).
As for what this means for Marve's future, Shannon was asked if being suspended twice would affect his standing going into the quarterback competition (should Marve return) next year. His response, "Spring is Spring. This season is still this season. We're still in 2008. So we got to play this game as 2008. You can't get ahead of yourself. When you get ahead of yourself, that's when you screw up."
When asked a similar question in reference to what his second career start and the bowl game means to him, Harris responded a little differently than his coach: "This game right here for me is going to be the start of the 2009 season. It's going to start out like a miniature spring game. We're just going to go out there and show everybody what we have in store for next year."
Harris, who injured his throwing shoulder in the season finale, said right now his goal is "to lead the team to a bowl victory." "That's all I can do," Harris said. "It's unfortunate about the situation that took place. I just got to go out and have a good game and my team will be behind me."
> Don't expect Jacory to be scared about starting. He's looking forward to it. "I think its easier to start a game," Harris said. "Coming off the bench, that's where the pressure comes in. You got to keep the momentum. If your down, you got to come back. If your up, you got to keep them going. And if you don't, people will say why didn't your bring us back? Why didn't you keep the momentum going? I've heard a lot this year about Jacory -- the momentum lacks when he's in the game. I just laugh and have fun."
> Harris said he still hadn't spoken to Marve about what happened because the team hadn't learned about his suspension until practice. But he -- along with others -- inferred they would be calling Marve to make sure he was OK. But most said they were told not to talk about the situation.
> For those of you hearing the complete interviews with coach Shannon and Jacory, visit our audio page.
> I'll keep this short since it's basketball newsy and I know there's a lot smaller of an audience for it. UM forward Jimmy Graham was seen wearing a cast on his right wrist Thursday. But I've been told by UM sports information director Margaret Belch, the injury was not serious. X-rays were negative and Graham supposedly practiced like usual. "He slipped in the shower, but it's not that serious," Belch told me. "From what I've heard he's supposed to play Sunday." UM hosts 25th-ranked Clemson (10-0) in its ACC opener on Sunday. Frank Haith is supposed to address the media Friday afternoon.
> On the recruiting front, I spoke with the father of Jared Wheeler this morning on my drive back from Orlando. He said Shannon and coach Jeff Stoutland are supposed to make an in-home visit tonight to the Wheeler home. Tuesday, the Wheelers hosted Vanderbilt. Jim Wheeler said UM coaches have been telling his son they'd like to try him out first at tackle, but realize "he's a kid that could play anywhere on the line, from guard to center if he had to." As for UM's chances -- they look really good. Wheeler said while Vanderbilt is great and offers many of the same things UM does, the distance seems to be favoring UM. Look for a possible commitment announcement soon.