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Jacory Harris, Stephen Morris share thoughts on QB situation

CORAL GABLES -- Two days after being renamed UM's starting quarterback by coach Al Golden, senior Jacory Harris apologized to Hurricanes fans and UM President Donna Shalala on Friday for breaking rules as a freshman that cost him a one-game NCAA-mandated suspension.

Jacory Harris Harris said he felt literally sick and had an anxiety attack watching the Canes lose at Maryland Monday night despite a gutsy effort from sophomore Stephen Morris. Harris described how anxious he was to get back to school the following morning at 7 a.m. to break down film before Golden and assistants even walked through the doors to get to work themselves. But mostly, Harris said, he's just happy knowing he's been given another shot to lead the Canes.

"It's always a great thing to have the starting job, but you just have to go out there and do something with it," Harris said. "That's what I've been doing, concentrating on the things we have at hand with Ohio State, leading the team by example and doing the small things: executing, small things like operations, making sure we get in and out of the huddle, just having fun."

The last image Canes fans have of Harris is of a quarterback whose career was close to flat-lining. You remember: Sun Bowl, Notre Dame, Dec. 31, El Paso, Texas. Harris was 4 of 7 for 37 yards and three interceptions against Notre Dame. With 11:13 to go in the first half, he was benched and replaced by Morris.

But Golden insists Harris is a different quarterback now, a far less turnover-prone passer in Jedd Fisch's safer offense. Harris says he is too.

"People only remember the last time you were on the field. That's fair," Harris said. "But going through the spring, summer and camp with this new offensive coordinator has helped me out, made me smarter, made me able to be a better quarterback. I feel better going into this situation, going into Ohio State. I just believe if I execute the right way, make sure my playmakers get the ball and not make a lot of plays by myself, everything should fall into place."

Harris said despite the suspension and despite his struggles in the past he has more confidence than he's ever had in his career. "A lot of it is due to the system and a lot of it has to do with changing my mindset, recognizing this is my last year, this is all I got left and I can't let my teammates down anymore," Harris said.

"I can't do the things I've done in the past and I have to find ways to get better. That's pretty much been my mindset."

Stephen Morris For Morris -- who was 16 of 20 for 167 yards before he threw interceptions on each of UM's final two drives Monday -- he's taking the news of his demotion in stride.

"I wasn't disappointed," Morris said of not getting the chance to compete for the starting job this week as Golden had originally said he would. "I thought whatever Coach Golden and Coach Fisch decided I just moved on from there. There's nothing more to say about that."

But there's also little doubt in Morris' mind, he played well Monday at Maryland. Some have argued maybe well enough to keep the starting job.

"I thought I did good. Coach Fisch told me I was 15 for 18 before the last two minute drives. Having that completion ratio is pretty good," said Morris, who finished 19 of 28 for 195 yards, two interceptions and a first half fumble. "Last couple drives we just needed to execute a lot better. Other than that, from an operational standpoint, getting personnel in and making sure we have the right personnel and groupings, we needed to be better.

"I take that on me. That's mostly my responsibility to make sure we have people in the right group, substituting correctly. I take that as a quarterback."

When asked if he thought rallying UM to a victory Monday night might have won him the starting job, Morris said: "Not at all... I don't think about it like that."

Maybe that's true. Maybe everybody knew Harris was going to be named the starter this week anyway. Golden made it pretty clear Thursday Harris won the job in camp -- even though for weeks he'd been saying it was "neck-and-neck" and battle.

Either way, Morris isn't to blame for Monday's loss. In fact, it seems like it was his teammates who let him down.

The back-to-back delay of game penalties? "Noise issues," Morris said. "The o-line really couldn't hear me. The receivers couldn't really hear me and they were literally right next to me. It was loud. Just making sure everybody is in the right spot at the right time, we really didn't have that. A couple times we had the wrong personnel in. We should have just ran with the plan instead of just doing other stuff we tried to do."

The game-sealing interception return for a touchdown by Cameron Chism late in the fourth quarter? That's a play Morris said the team "reps a lot of times." Tommy Streeter, his intended receiver, could have fought for the ball a little harder.

"It's one of our money plays that we like to play a lot," Morris said describing Chism's Pick-6. "It was man-on-man, Cover 1, mostly just man across the board. Trips was to my left side and they were all covered up. It was just one on one with Streeter on my back side and I forgot the DB. It was a good matchup. I like the matchup, better than my three receiver side. I took my drop and threw the ball there and [Chism] made a good play on it.

"If I had to do it over again I would have done the same exact thing. I would have wanted my receiver to be more physical. That route is a very physical route. I'm not asking much from him other than understanding that he needs to come down with the ball especially in a crucial situation like that. But at the same time I'd take the same play. I have all the faith in Streeter. As soon as the play was over I said 'Bro, forget about it. We got to move on and try to score.' But I have all the faith in him. We work on it everyday in practice. I know he'll be fine."

For now, Morris will go back to being Harris backup. And Hurricanes fans will cross their fingers and hope Golden made the right choice.

Comments

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haha canes suck
go gaytors bless tebow i love ponys

game vs osu will be golden's true test..how he responds from tough loss, with time to prepare for top team coming to your first home primetime game .....THERES SOME CANES OVER HERREEEE!!???!!!

I think Streeter was supposed to get downfield a little farther on that play so he could come back toward the line of scrimmage a bit as he was heading to the sideline. That way he could have shielded the DB with his body easier. I think that is what Morris is alluding to - just a thought.

Very interesting comments on the Pick 6. No way, no how should he have thrown that ball. We could all see that was a pick b4 he threw it. The fact that he is blaming that on the WR is a bit scary. True, Street should have become a defender, but that ball was pick or incomplete. No other outcome. Maybe pump fake and slide so Street could go deep.

Halelululu. Did you see the play?? Apparently not. If it was not fourth down and the game on the line maybe, just maybe you could be right. That does not count dl pressure and he could not run for the 1st down. Not a great play for that instance. There was only one thing Morris could do, try and force it in.

I agree with haleluja. Same frigging story. Receivers dont fight for blls, qbs cant make the plays

Morris. Really? You think you did well after 3 turnovers? Really? Is this what we have come to?

That confirms wht i've thought all along

UM doesnt seem like it has blood in their eyes for osu. We need to be snarling like hungry dogs

I hate to say this but they all sound like a bunch of pu55ies

Thanks shalala ball busting troll!

Posted by: Aristotle

You're right, it seems like thety don't care about playing OSU. This team whipped them last year.

Tommy Streeter is under the bus.

Wow, to hear Morris explain confusion at the line on Offense.Do you mean Coach Golden didn t prepare them at least a few times on how to deal with crowd noise.They don t use hand signals at needed times?That s unusual to hear a QB say that.If they re not prepared at QB with hand signalls then I m very surprised.Find that hard to believe actually.Inexperience factor though seems apparent.

Disappointed in Morris. He is throwing Tommy under the bus. Bottm Line! Tommy is 6'5 put the ball up and outside! Chism picked off a ball that was belt high and to the inside, so don't make it seem like the receiver ran a soft route!

"Harris was 4 of 7 for 37 yards and three interceptions against Notre Dame" - says it all, we are in for a long game and year with Harris at QB, he sucks

Raiders onesie

With all due to respect to Stephen Morris, he has comnsiderable upside. But to say he would throw the same pass to Streeter again after it was intercepted makes me wonder if anyone else was a better option. If not, why not, especially if good pressure was brought by the Terps' D on that play.

Miami's receivers were too often covered, in contrast to Maryland's. This looked familiar from past offensive schemes.

How about getting some guys open, and then hitting that receiver, rather than stubbornly clinging to an option that may have cost UM the game? Dumb.

Streeter ran the wrong route....even if he would have caught the ball, he was 2 yards short....he needed to go down about 12 yards and come back for the ball...tough break....the defensive front also looked very soft...I hated their defensive scheme..it looked like they were in a 4/2 front all night except for a few blitzes. Not much imagination. I would put 8 or 9 up on the line to confuse the offense. You can always drop 4 or 5 guys as needed...Let's go canes...get some fire

As it stands now OSU will be 10 starters short of the team that beat the canes last year due to suspensions (8 players) and injuries (2). If Harris et al can't beat the Buckeyes with this NCAA largesse, forget the rest of the season.

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