The Miami Hurricanes spring practice has been an interesting one, and one of the most interesting things that has developed recently is Jacory Harris being named the number one quarterback on the depth chart yet again.
Stephen Morris is now listed as the backup, and Spencer Whipple is now listed as the third-string quarterback. When the initial depth chart came out Spencer Whipple was listed as the starting quarterback—a move which many considered a ploy to motivate and foster competition between Harris and Morris. Most fans felt and hoped that Stephen Morris would eventually win the job (and he still can), but placing Harris in that spot is an interesting move by Golden.
Al Golden says this second depth chart is a result of offseason dedication, so apparently Jacory Harris has been putting in work in the offseason to recover from an abysmal season. That should be nothing new. If you look at the body of work, Jacory Harris always wins the job or impresses in the offseason and practices, even after Randy Shannon was fired Jacory won the starting nod for the Sun Bowl.
How did that work out for the Hurricanes?
What this story says is Harris probably has a great grasp of the offense and is confident in practice, but when the game rolls around he looks impatient and confused in the pocket. The interceptions are somehow being blamed on Randy Shannon’s coaching staff, who openly took the blame for Harris' interception woes.
From the fan perspective, large majorities are ready to see the Jacory Harris era at quarterback come to an end, and we're looking to Stephen Morris to mature and take over the reins at quarterback.
The question remains will Jacory Harris start and finish the season as the Miami Hurricanes starting quarterback?
If the 2009 Jacory Harris shows up then that is a strong possibility. People forget that Harris was in the running for the Heisman trophy his first year starting and showed flashes of being the next great Miami quarterback. During the 2010 season he seemed to regress and started to let things distract him from football. Everyone should be familiar with the Twitter incident the week of the Ohio State game and subsequent banning of Twitter for all Hurricanes players.
Look at Harris’s stats from 2009 (13 games):
242/406 (59.6 comp %)
140.10 QB Rating
Now if you compare those stats to his 2010 numbers (nine games):
148/270 (54.8 comp %)
116.60 QB Rating
It is very easy to see that there was a clear decline, but the truth is Stephen Morris’ numbers were not better than Harris even in a down year. Morris had a lower completion percentage, lower QB rating, and nine interceptions in six games' worth of action. In Morris’ defense he did play against tougher competition on the schedule than Harris did.
With a clear decline in Harris’ production, fans clamoring for someone other than him to start and his interception issues it does not seem that this change by Al Golden will be a permanent one. Even if Harris makes it to the beginning of the season as the starter it just does not seem likely that he is going to be able to shake all of his old issues and keep the starting job for the full season. Golden will probably have a very short leash with Harris and will not put up with excessive interceptions if he shows no improvement over last season.