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Spencer Whipple backup QB for Duke

Spencer Whipple, who started the season as UM's No. 3 quarterback behind starter Jacory Harris and A.J. Highsmith, appears to be the No. 2 quarterback going into the Duke game at 1 p.m. Saturday (ESPN3 on Internet; No TV).

Whipple is the son of Miami offensive coordinator/quarterbacks coach Mark Whipple.

Coach Randy Shannon  on A.J. Highsmith after Wednesday morning practice: "Nicked? He's Ok. Left hand, but he's OK. I don't know the extent of it. He didn't do nothing today as far as contact and taking snaps from center and stuff like that. We just have to monitor it and see where it's at.''

Highsmith is wearing a wrist support on his left wrist. There are no bandages or any protection on his hand.

Whipple, who completed one of two passes against FSU, has been in five games (he's the holder) and has completed four of six passes for 32 yards. He has no interceptions.

Highsmith has played in two games -- in the second half against FAMU and for one play at Pittsburgh when Harris was sacked and injured his left shoulder. He has completed four of seven passes for 18 yards, with one interception.

Many believe that Highsmith, the son of former Hurricane great Alonzo Highsmith, will be redshirted this season and converted to a safety.

Look for Miami to get Whipple a decent amount of playing time at Duke, that is if the Canes get a comfortable enough lead. I think Jacory needs to rest up his left shoulder (he now wears a shoulder harness) and groin, and whatever else is ailing him, as much as he can before North Carolina and Butch Davis come to town Oct. 23.

 Some comments from Spencer Whipple, a junior, after Wednesday's practice: "Nothing has really changed for me. I've just been preparing the same way all year. That's the way I like to prepare, to be ready for anything that happens, whether you're sixth on the depth chart or 1 or 2. You always have got to prepare the same way, watch the same amount of film, take notes in meetings and be ready whenever your number is called.''

How much does it help getting into games?  Whipple: "It's good. It's fun. Everyone wants to get into the game. It's good experience. But these reps out here in practice, we do periods against our first defense all the time -- two or three times a day. And that's great experience, too, going against those guys because they're so talented."

Spencer, who transferred last year to UM from UMass, said he was "fifth, fourth" team at UMass. "But that doesn't really make a difference. You have to prepare as if you're No. 1, wherever you are. I haven't changed anything about the way I go about practicing or studying film. It has all been the same.''

He asked how he has changed since UMass, where he played in one game in 2008, against Bryant, and completed a 16-yard pass on his only attempt.

"It's just experience,'' he said. "I wasn't very confident while I was there, and my dad has kind of helped me with that, which is a good thing. It's something I kind of needed to build up, my morale and confidence in saying, 'Yeah, maybe I can play.' Being more confident in practice throwing the ball. I think that's the biggest part of my game that has changed.''

On his dad being his coach and giving him advice, Spencer said, "He just supports me. And like I said about the confidence part, when I have a bad day or something goes wrong, sometimes I'm really hard on myself. Coaches have told me my whole career that I get down on myself too easily and my dad is always there to pick me up and show me the positive things I did, which helped bring me out of a slump.''

On Jacory, Spencer said, "He's a confident guy. I don't have to say too much. He knows what he needs to do. He's done it last year. He's taking care of business. He's going to be fine. He's a great quarterback and nothing really much needs to be said to him. He knows what he needs to do and he's practicing really well this week. He's going to do great.''

--SUSAN MILLER DEGNAN

 

 

 

 

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