Harris named Miami's starter for Ohio State game
CORAL GABLES, Fla. (AP) -- The latest quarterback competition at Miami ended before it started.
Jacory Harris will start when the Hurricanes play No. 15 Ohio State on Sept. 17, a decision that's not a surprise - but came with surprising timing. Miami announced the choice Wednesday, just one day after coach Al Golden said the competition between Harris and Stephen Morris for the first-string job would continue through at least the weekend.
"We'll allow those guys to compete here Thursday, Friday, Saturday, then figure it out," Golden said Tuesday.
On Wednesday, that plan was scrapped.
The decision was announced by email shortly after noon, almost simultaneously with Golden's appearance on the weekly Atlantic Coast Conference coaches' call. Golden did not reveal why his timetable for choosing a quarterback changed so abruptly, and university officials said players are not available for comment until Friday.
Morris was the starter in Miami's 32-24 loss at Maryland on Monday night, and Golden had some sharp words when assessing his performance. Harris sat out Monday's game while serving a suspension handed down by the NCAA after it was found he was one of several players who accepted extra benefits from a former booster.
Golden credited Morris - who completed 19 of 28 passes for 195 yards, but fumbled the ball away once in the early going and threw two interceptions in the final minute - with some strong throws and decisions, but also cited the sophomore for what would best be described as inconsistency.
"Too many operational things that the quarterback is responsible for that we need to improve," Golden said Tuesday. "Clearly, a lot of those situations that we got in, either from an operational standpoint or confusion coming out of the huddle, we've got to get cleared up. But that has got to come from the quarterback position. There's no other way to do that. And we need to improve as a team, and certainly Stephen does in that area as well."
Harris has appeared in 36 games over his first three seasons, with 50 touchdowns and 39 interceptions. He was picked off four times in a loss to Ohio State last season.
Although the quarterback issue is settled, many depth-chart issues still remain for the Hurricanes.
Harris was among five players who served one-game suspensions on Monday. Of those, Harris, linebacker Sean Spence and receiver Travis Benjamin are down to start against Ohio State. Defensive linemen Adewale Ojomo and Marcus Forston are listed as co-starters at their respective positions. Ojomo and freshman Anthony Chickillo are competing at one defensive end, while Forston and Micanor Regis are vying to start at defensive tackle.
Three other players - safety Ray Ray Armstrong, defensive lineman Olivier Vernon and tight end Dyron Dye - are not eligible to return until next month. Wide receiver Aldarius Johnson, suspended indefinitely because of a violation of team rules, also is not among the six players listed at his position on the latest depth chart.
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