Miami Hurricanes football coach Al Golden delivered some good news Sunday afternoon about starting quarterback Stephen Morris, who sustained what was believed to be a right-ankle sprain during UM's 77-7 blowout over Savannah State on Saturday night.
"It's been classified as a bruise now,'' Golden said. "It's really not even a sprain. It's a bone bruise.
"There's some soreness certainly some stiffness -- otherwide Stephen would have been back last night. Everything is positive. He got through treatments and everything. Like I said, we're going to be real careful with him in the first 48 hours, but it did not swell overnight; It didn't go backwards overnight or anything like that.
"The young man did a great job getting on top of it right away last night and early this morning.
"This was a kid a year ago going into Florida State where we didn't even know he was going to play until he walked on the field. So, he's a fast healer and he's very tough minded. Expect him to be back very soon.''
Golden said "very soon'' means at noon Saturday at USF in Tampa, UM's first road game. He was asked if he feels like Morris will be "full go'' for USF.
"Oh yeah, absolutely. I feel good about it,'' Golden said without hesitation. "I really do. We might be careful with him tomorrow but our goal is to get him going for our Tuesday practice, which is obviously our most demanding practice."
Morris has had ankle problems before. He sprained his left ankle last year against North Carolina, before the Florida State game. Ryan Williams, who replaced Morris with 8:51 left in the first quarter last night (and did a great job of running the offense and completing 11 of 13 passes for 176 yards and two touchdowns), was supposed to start against FSU last season, but Morris ended up starting instead.
Morris also sprained his left ankle a few days before the Sun Bowl in El Paso, Texas at the end of the 2010 season. Jacory Harris started that game, but Morris came in with 11:13 left in the first half and played with the sore ankle.
*** Golden was thoroughly impressed with senior Jared Wheeler, who replaced injured center Shane McDermott on Saturday. He said Wheeler did "a great job'' and was very smart and executed well. Golden said McDermott injured his foot during the Florida game, and coaches want it to be healed enough before he gets out there again. He is going to the doctor again tomorrow, Golden said. McDermott was seen on the sideline with a boot on his left ankle Saturday.
*** Golden said he "got a number of texts late last night from [walk-ons] thanking'' him and "being grateful for that opportunity'' to get game action. "They work really hard...It doesn't come along often in college football where you get that kind of win and can get everybody in. I think we did a good job of clearing the bench and giving everybody an opportunity. I hope we didn't miss anybody. I kept asking all three units.''
He added that true freshman walk-on wideout Greg Golden, his nephew, did not play as was reported in the gamebook, because wideout Chad Barnes, who DID get in the game, had his number changed to 84 for the game -- the same number as Greg's.
"The freshmen,'' Golden said, "even though they're walk-ons, we don't put them in there because we want them to retain their ability to be redshirted if that's what they want.''
*** The noon game at USF will be broadcast by ESPNU.
SUSAN MILLER DEGNAN