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Al Golden: QB Stephen Morris "seems to be doing great, making a lot of progress.'' However...

  Coach Al Golden spoke on the ACC Teleconference this afternoon, and said his "chief concern'' regarding quarterback Stephen Morris, who has been playing very well the past few games, is getting him healthy for the UNC Tar Heels (1-4, 0-2 ACC) on Oct. 17.

  Morris sustained a deep right-ankle bruise against Savannah State on Sept. 21, and as of Saturday against Georgia Tech it was hurting him pretty badly. Golden said after the victory that Morris always reassured him that he was fine whenever the coach asked leading up to the game, but that he obviously wasn't.

  "We've held him out the last few days,'' Golden said. "We're being more aggressive in the treatment schedule, which we can be because we're not working on North Carolina yet. He seems to be doing great, making a lot of progress.''

   Then, Golden added: "I'm not taking Stephen for his word anymore. I'm going to make sure myself that he's OK. Hopefully we'll get him OK here in the next 48 hours or 72 hours and get him ready for game week. There is no question he's been playing good football for us.''

   *** Wide receiver Rashawn Scott (shoulder/collarbone) is also "doing great,'' Golden said. "He's close. He's running routes full speed and doing all that. Whether he's able to take a hit yet, I don't know. But he's running routes and doing all the non-contact stuff and looks pretty good.''

*** North Carolina coach Larry Fedora said he'd grade the performance of backup quarterback Marquise Williams "a B-, C+ type of situation'' in UNC's loss against Virginia Tech. Usual starter Bryn Renner did not play after sustaining a foot injury Sept. 28 against East Carolina.

   Williams, a third-year sophomore, completed 23 of 35 passes for 277 yards and two touchdowns, with two interceptions. He also ran for 56 yards. Renner has already said he wants to play against Miami.

   "Every rep that you get in a live situation is very important to any player, whatever position, but especially at the quarterback position,'' Fedora said. "He will just get better from that in the future.''

   Golden said he'll prepare for both.

   "I would suspect Renner will be back,'' Golden said. "He's one of the best quarterbacks in the league, and he's had an awesome career. So I'm sure they're happy to get him healthy.

    "But we're going to see both in the game, and we'll have to get ready for both.''

***  UNC tight end Jack Tabb, who started at linebacker last Saturday against Virginia Tech and played both ways, is suspended for the first half of the UM game.

He was ejected with 4 minutes left for throwing a punch during a kickoff return.

"My version of the play was that Jack was retaliating to something that happened on the play, which you can't do,'' Fedora said. "Jack made a bad personal decision, and you have to be able to keep your poise in a situation like that, and he didn't do that, and therefore he was punished by the rule. That's really all there is to it.''

Tabb had just returned from a two-game suspension for violating team rules.

   SUSAN MILLER DEGNAN

 

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