It's Football Saturday in the middle of April.
We all get a good look at University of Miami redshirt freshman quarterback Kevin Olsen and backup Gray Crow today in the 6 p.m. spring game at Sun Life Stadium. This will be a controlled scrimmage, and of course, as usual, the quarterbacks cannot get touched, so it's not fully reality. But at least it's something for fans to get excited about -- or worried about. Or both.
In town to see their favorite quarterback are the Olsens, Canes from way back.
Older brother Greg Olsen, a former Hurricanes tight end who now plays in the NFL for the Carolina Panthers, will be there with his 3-year-old son Tate. Another older brother, former Virginia quarterback Christian, will be there, too. And mom Susan and dad Chris, a legendary high school football coach out of Wayne Hills High in N.J, will be there.
Sue and Chris believe Kevin is in the right place to learn and grow, and can handle the opportunity that unexpectedly came to him when starting quarterback Ryan Williams tore his ACL a week ago Friday in the second scrimmage.
Chris, who retired last year from coaching and now lives with his family in Charlotte, N.C., talked to me Thursday after UM's final spring practice at Greentree Field.
"For the 14th day [of 15 allotted spring sessions] they look pretty good,'' Chris Sr. said. "Kevin is starting to look confident out there with those older guys. He's surrounded by some really good players.''
Chris talked about Kevin getting the job because of Ryan's injury.
"I feel terrible,'' he said. "I know Kevin felt really bad about it. I felt bad about it because I could relate to it. My oldest boy Chris had just committed to Notre Dame his senior year and he went out and tore his ACL the first game of the season. Kevin's senior year he break his foot the first game of the season.
"So I understand. I feel really bad for Ryan because he has worked so hard to do what he wants to do. It's very unfortunate.''
I asked Chris how much of a disadvantage it was for Kevin that Ryan's injury came at nearly the very end of spring practice.
"You've got the whole summer,'' he said. "You do what you've got to do. You do what you're dealt with. You've got a couple practices here and try to build on that going into the summer, and of course, in fall camp.''
How is Kevin's mind frame?
"Very good,'' his dad said. "I talk to him a couple times a week. He'll call me and tell me how practice is going or how school is going. He really seems to be taking off here.''
I mentioned that Kevin has had some "bumps in the road'' on his way to and while at Miami. How much has he matured?
"Everybody matures coming out of high school, being around older guys, being a year older,'' Chris Olsen told me. "That's just the maturing process wtih a lot of kids. I'm anxious to see it Saturday night.''
*** How do you all feel about today's very preliminary dress rehearsal for Kevin and Gray? How much stock will you put in their performances? What do you expect, or what are you looking for?
It's all part of the process, as Al Golden would say, but the process has been moved up in a hurry. With incoming QBs Brad Kaaya of West Hills, Calif. and Malik Rosier of Mobile, Ala., arriving next month, this could be a great opportunity for Olsen (and Crow) to perform in front of a crowd, get some confidence and prove to himself that he's right on track to take the reins. Of course, I'm not sure that's the case, but we'll all get a glimpse later today.
SUSAN MILLER DEGNAN