Raising a question about Jacory Harris last season at the University of Miami felt a lot like asking a parent to single out one of their twins. Everytime you brought up him up, Robert Marve would find his way into the discussion.
There is no need to be politically correct about which quarterback is the favorite anymore at The U. UM players can finally gush honestly about the guy who stuck around and who some pundits believe deserves to be in the Heisman discussion two games into his sophomore season.
"The thing about Jacory is he helps keep us together," tight end Jimmy Graham said. "He's always laughing. He's always joking around with everybody. During the film meetings, he's always sitting with someone new. He's not sitting in the front. He's always sitting with the wide receivers, sitting with the running backs, sitting with the tight ends. He loves everybody on the team."
And everybody on the team, it seems, loves him. Even big, bad Orlando Franklin. The 6-7, 330-pound offensive guard likes being Harris' body guard on game days -- including bus rides. Franklin sits next to Harris on bus trips. Harris in turn provides comic relief for all with his jokes -- and his wardrobe selection. Whether its wearing funny hats or different colored shoes, Harris' teammates say he'll do whatever he has to do to keep things loose.
One day on campus before the Florida State game, Phillips said Harris was walking around looking like "Steve Urkel," with "his socks up to his knees, his shirt tucked in and his shorts pulled up."
Phillips said Harris took it up a notch on game day before the Florida State game. "We have our traditional shirt, tie and blazer we all wear," Phillips said. "Jacory shows up with this Louis Vuitton scarf, Gucci shades, funny haircut and earings. The first thing I'm thinking about is 'Tim Tebow doesn't dress like this.'
"But he's his own guy. He's different. That's why people love him. He's able to get guys relaxed when they're real intense."
Harris saves all his intensity for the field. Graham said the way Harris leads reminds him a lot of former two-time All-ACC guard Jack McClinton.
"His focus on game days is something I've never seen," Graham said. "When it comes time to play, Jacory Harris is a very, very focused man. There's no joking around. It might look on TV after the game when he's smiling that it was all fun and games. But during the game and preparation, he has that stone cold face on. He wants to win. That's something I didn't notice until the Florida State game. After the game I went to congratulate him, but he said 'Thank you. But we're not done yet.'
"He's a very focused player just like Jack. [Both] have a great game day preparation and gameday focus. They also share that killer whim mentality. And they both do not like to lose. They're very competitive and expect everybody to want it more or just as much as they do. It's a relentless drive to win."
That's why Phillips said everyone respects Harris, despite his funny shoes and his occasional "weirdness."
"In the beginning as a senior leader, I was like this kid better go out there and impress some people or I'm going to be real mad at him," Phllips said. "But he's doing real well. I really enjoy having Jacory Harris as my quarterback. He's making a big difference to the city of Miami and to college football. Big, big difference."
> EARLY RISERS: For all the talk about how much extra time UM has had to prepare for its opponents, nothing might have proven to be a bigger advantage for the Canes this season than having their afternoon practices moved to the crack of dawn.
"Me and Josh Holmes talk about it everyday about whether we like it or don't like them," offensive tackle Matt Pipho said. "Before practice, we're like 'God we got to wake up this early.' After practice we say 'We had a great practice.' There's a lot to like It's not as hot. Plus, coaches are preaching you to move drill to drill quicker. There is no heat. So we're getting a lot more plays in. I'm a proponent of them for sure."
> URIBE REMAINS ON KICKOFFS: I forgot to mention this yesterday in the blog (it was in the chat), but walk-on Alex Uribe will continue to handle kickoffs. Coach Randy Shannon said there will be changes, however, on the kickoff team and who goes down on coverage.
> SOUND CHECK: Check out all of the audio interviews from last week and this week on our UM audio page.