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1 posts from June 16, 2014

June 16, 2014

Waiting for Heaps: UM's other five QBs -- including injured Ryan Williams -- working hard to stay ahead.


While transfer Jake Heaps gets ready to arrive in Coral Gables to begin a one-season tenure with his third college football team, it's life as usual for the other five scholarship quarterbacks.

Redshirt freshman Kevin Olsen, recently arrived true freshmen Brad Kaaya and Malik Rosier, third-year sophomore Gray Crow and fifth-year senior Ryan Williams are doing what it takes to prepare for what they hope will be a meaningful season. 

Kevinolsen"It comes with the position,'' Olsen's father and former high school coach, Chris Olsen, told The Miami Herald by phone Monday, when asked how his son was doing in light of the news of Heaps coming to compete for the job. "It is what it is. As far as Kevin goes, he's fine."

There were only two spring practices remaining, not including the annual spring game, when projected 2015 UM starting quarterback Williams tore the ACL of his right knee during a scrimmage. Suddenly, Olsen, a highly touted four-star recruit out of Wayne Hills (N.J.) High School, was thrust into the position of being the main man before he had ever thrown a pass in college.

Olsen, who had his share of struggles in his first year at UM, was doing well and had improved a great deal, according to teammates and coaches. But he had a disappointing showing in the spring game (as did Gray Crow), completing 7 of 21 passes for 65 yards, with no touchdowns and an interception.

Crow was 9 of 20 for 63 yards, with no touchdowns and an interception.

 "He's there the whole summer, taking summer school classes, going to workouts -- the whole thing that everybody does,'' Chris Olsen said. "All you can ask for is an opportunity to go out and play. It will all work out in the end.''

Meanwhile, Williams, who earned his undergraduate degree in December in sports administration, has been rehabilitating his knee daily and still has a goal of returning for the September 20 Nebraska game.

"I can't believe how fast he's bounced back,'' Jayne Williams, his mother, told the Herald today. "He was driving and off his crutches two weeks to the day of his surgery (which was Wednesday, May 9). 

"His spirits are unbelievable and he has such a great mindset. We were in New Orleans a month ago and we were in the French Quarter and he was walking around for hours. He said he's not in pain. He's doing fabulously.''

Jayne Williams said her son took it in stride that a new fifth-year senior quarterback would soon be arriving. Remember, Williams, too, transferred to UM from Memphis after starting there his freshman year.

"I feel like UM would have been doing itself an injustice if they didn't at least bring someone in with experience while Ryan is rehabbing,'' Williams said. "[Heaps] also has played and he's older than the other quarterbacks. That will make Ryan work twice as hard. That's the kind of kid Ryan is. He doesn't get upset in that kind of way.''

One big similarity between Heaps and Williams: both are married. 

 Williams' wife Deanna is expecting their first child -- a son -- on August 5th, the day fall camp opens. But she said the baby is so large (already over five pounds), that she doubts she'll last that long.

Heaps, a Mormon married to a former BYU student (he started 10 of 13 games as a freshman at BYU), transferred to Kansas after his sophomore season and played one disappointing season for Kansas (128 of 261 for 1,414 yards and eight touchdowns, with 10 picks). Kansas, however, had a bad offense all the way around, including its offensive line, which at least partly (or more than partly) allowed the less-than-mobile Heaps to be sacked 23 times.

 From everything I've read, Heaps is smart and a really good person with leadership qualities and a strong arm. He has publicly said he will get his degree this month, and thus, be able to play immediately at UM as a graduate student.

 He was rated the top quarterback in the nation by Scout.com and No. 1 pro-style quarterback by Rivals.com when he graduated from Skyline High School in Sammamish, Washington.

"I am excited for the opportunity to play my last year of college football as a Miami Hurricane!" Heaps posted on Twitter and Instagram. "Ready to get to work!"

This will be a compelling fall camp, and with Williams possibly in the mix early in the season, the storylines will be plentiful. If Williams can get back in the game sooner than later, he is going to do everything possible to play after waiting three years behind Stephen Morris.

I'm on vacation until football gets going with the ACC Football Kickoff (media days) in late July in Greensboro. Until then, Manny Navarro will be manning the blog while he also covers the Marlins.

Everyone have a happy and healthy summer.