Here's a quick preview of what could be in store next Wednesday, National Signing Day.
> NOTE: I wore the old Cubs jersey in honor of the late great Ernie Banks.
The quarterback situation at the University of Miami is in flux again.
Redshirt freshman Kevin Olsen, whose status was elevated when formerly declared 2014 starter Ryan Williams tore his anterior cruciate ligament in April, has been suspended for at least one game, WQAM’s Adam Kuperstein first reported and the Miami Herald confirmed through a source early Friday evening.
The reason for the suspension, Kuperstein said on the radio and the source confirmed, was for failing a drug test.
UM did not respond to multiple Miami Herald requests to verify the report.
Olsen was also suspended for the Russell Athletic Bowl in December for violating team policy, and had gotten into trouble before he arrived at UM when he was initially charged with leaving the scene of an accident and failure to report an accident and careless driving after a May 2013 incident in his hometown of Wayne, N.J.
Olsen’s suspension for at least UM’s Sept. 1 opener at Louisville – the same team that badly defeated the Hurricanes in the Russell – means the competition for starting quarterback in Williams’ absence will be between recently transferred graduate student Jake Heaps and true freshmen Brad Kaaya and Malik Rosier.
Former UM scholarship quarterback Gray Crow, of Clearwater, was recently switched to H-back, UM coach Al Golden revealed at the Atlantic Coast Conference Football Kickoff.
The Herald source said “Thankfully" Heaps was brought in to compete. “Otherwise there would be two true freshmen competing for the starting job.’’
Olsen, 6-3 and 210 pounds, was a four-star athlete ranked 10th nationally among pro-style quarterbacks by Rivals.com and seventh by 247Sports when he arrived at UM. He is the younger brother of former UM star tight end Greg Olsen, now with the NFL’s Carolina Panthers.
It is believed that coaches wanted, if possible, to redshirt Kaaya, the highest rated true freshman vying for the job. But Golden said recently the competition was “wide open’’ and first he’d have to see what each quarterback could do in camp.
Fall camp opens Tuesday for the Canes, and the question remains whether Olsen will be there. (My comment: Will Olsen stick around for this season? Will he transfer? I don't know answer, just saying...)
In other news, UM announced Friday evening that the football program has signed rising senior tight end Bowman Archibald to a grant-in-aid agreement earlier Friday.
Archibald, the school wrote in a release, “ranked among the top tight ends in the nation for the Class of 2015, played on both sides of the ball and exploded with an impressive junior campaign at Pasco High in Dade City, Fla.”
Archibald, 6-6 and 244 pounds, is rated as the fifth best tight end in the Class of 2015 by ESPN. Rivals.com and 247Sports.com have him as the 17th best tight end in the nation.
SUSAN MILLER DEGNAN
HERE'S THE RELEASE STRAIGHT FROM UM WHILE I'M WORKING ON STORY...
So sorry to hear the Barrow news. I'm talking to someone right now on phone who knows the family and confirms to me that Barrow's mother is very ill and he wants to take care of her. Susan Miller Degnan
CORAL GABLES, Fla. -- Linebackers coach Micheal Barrow is taking a sabbatical from coaching to devote his time and attention to a family matter.
"As a proud University of Miami graduate, former football player and coach, it is with a heavy heart that I announce I'm taking a sabbatical from coaching this season,” Barrow said. “This was an extremely tough decision to leave my dream job. However, I have a very important family obligation that requires my full attention, and I would not have had enough time to effectively fulfill my coaching duties.
“With the 2014 football season starting soon, please know that I am truly sorry if my decision brings the organization any inconveniences. I would like to thank President Shalala, Blake James, Al Golden, the coaching staff, UM football players and the entire UM family for seven great years. During this time, my professional career has grown and afforded me wonderful opportunities on and off the field. I have enjoyed working alongside some excellent colleagues and privilege to coach some great kids. I will never forget my tenure at the U and I'm looking forward to watching them this year. Go Canes!”
Head football coach Al Golden wished Barrow and his family the best, and said the Hurricane legend will be missed.
“Coach Barrow has always put faith and family first in his life and this is clearly a time in his life where family needs him,” Golden said. “Micheal Barrow is the very definition of a Miami Hurricane - having given 11 years of class, service and leadership to the University and our community. We wish Micheal, Shelly and their children all the best as they enter a new chapter in their lives and we certainly hope Mike will return to coaching and mentoring young people in the near future.”
Barrow’s departure has resulted in subsequent promotions of two current Hurricanes staff members. Former running back coach and two-time national champion Hurlie Brown will move to the defensive side of the ball as linebackers coach for his 15th year of coaching. In addition, assistant director of operations and national champion Tim “Ice” Harris has been promoted to running backs coach. Finally, former Hurricane captain and national champion Kevin Beard will replace Harris as assistant director of football operations.
Brown, who completed his first season as Hurricanes running backs coach in 2013, will shift back to the defense where he spent his playing career in the orange and green as a standout Hurricanes safety.
“Words cannot explain how fired up I am about going back to coaching on the defensive side of the ball,” Brown said. “The defensive side of the ball has always had a very special place in my heart. And to be given the opportunity now in my career to be able to coach linebackers at the University of Miami is a dream come true.
“I have played on the defensive side of the ball all my life, safety, corner, linebacker and some defensive line. My passion and love for football has always come from a defensive mindset. Aggressive play, physical play and playing with a high motor are all defensive terms that have helped fueled me to love this game. I know I can help instill my love for the game and the University of Miami in the young men that are playing linebacker for the Hurricanes today. It is truly a blessing from God!”
Golden said Brown’s mentality is a perfect fit for his defensive staff.
“When I informed Hurlie Brown about the vacancy on defense he was sad to leave the running backs he coached and recruited, yet equally excited about the opportunity to return to the defensive side of the ball,” Golden said. “Hurlie brings with him 14 years of coaching and playing experience at four different defensive positions. His time on offense has made him a better coach, and Hurlie has always had a great rapport with our players, regardless of their position, so I know his transition back to defense will be a seamless one. We are excited to add Hurlie Brown and his attacking mindset to our defensive staff.”
Harris, who has more than 24 years of high school coaching experience and recently joined the staff as assistant director of football operations from nearby national powerhouse Booker T. Washington High School, was promoted to running backs coach.
“I am so excited to be the running backs coach at the University of Miami. Having been born and raised in Miami and also a high school football coach in Miami, words cannot explain how I feel about this great opportunity, “Harris said. “It’s a dream come true. I have a great passion and love for the game of football and developing young men to help them achieve their maximum potential every day and also be great in the community.”
Golden is excited to shift Harris into his new position.
“I’m extremely happy for Ice Harris and his family,” Golden said. “Ice has been a winner, teacher and mentor to young people in South Florida for more than 20 years and is excited to share his wisdom with our student-athletes here at The U! Coach Harris brings a championship mindset founded on discipline and toughness to the running backs room. Born and raised in Miami, Ice is an excellent recruiter and is excited to continue the many relationships he has formed here in the Miami community and throughout the state over the years. It is with great respect and admiration that we welcome the National Champion Ice Harris to our staff as running backs coach.”
A member of the Hurricanes team that won the 2001 national championship, Beard will join the staff from his most recent position as coach on the University School (Fort Lauderdale, Fla.) coaching staff.
“I am truly thankful for this opportunity. I understand that this opportunity does not come around often. To come back to my alma mater, a place that has shaped me to be the man that I am today is truly a blessing,” Beard said. “I am excited to get started with this new chapter in my life. I hope to pass on the legacy that was passed on to me during my tenure here to bring a national championship back to the Miami Hurricanes.”
Golden is excited about welcoming a member of the Hurricanes community back to the football staff in Coral Gables.
“We are very fortunate to add Kevin Beard to our staff. As a former team captain of a national championship team here, he truly understands what it means to be a student-athlete at The University of Miami,” Golden said. “His diverse background as a player, teacher, coach, and trainer enables him to contribute in a unique way, and we’re looking forward to him sharing his experience with our team. His work ethic and personality will be welcome additions to our staff. I am excited to have him rejoin the U Family.”
Just when you thought it would be a smooth, quiet transition into fall camp...
Long-time University of Miami football coach Micheal Barrow is leaving the football program, a source told The Miami Herald late Thursday.
Fall camp opens for the Hurricanes on Tuesday afternoon, and UM coach Al Golden was previously scheduled to address the media on Monday.
Barrow’s departure was first reported by CanesInSight.com.
A native of Homestead, Barrow coached linebackers at UM for seven seasons. Barrow played for the Hurricanes from 1989-’92, when he was the Butkus Award runner-up and finished seventh in Heisman Trophy voting. He was the Big East Defensive Player of the Year and finished his career as the third-leading tackler in UM history.
Other Internet reports by CaneInsider.com and 247Sports.com said former UM receiver Kevin Beard would be joining the Hurricanes’ staff, though it was not confirmed.
The 247Sports.com report said Beard has joined the UM staff “in a quality control position.’’ FootballScoop.com reported UM special teams quality control assistant Billy Furman left for Eastern Kentucky.
When reached by the Miami Herald late Thursday, Beard, who was a UM player from 1999-2003, said, “I don’t have a comment.’’
When asked if he would love to become a UM staff member, Beard, the receivers coach at University High School in Davie, said, “Definitely. If it happened that I could be an asset to UM, that would be a good situation.’’
And CaneSport.com's Gary Ferman posted on his message board that he heard from a source close to Barrow who said Barrow's mother was very ill and that Barrow wanted to care for her -- but Ferman wouldn't confirm.
SUSAN MILLER DEGNAN