Wednesday, September 7, 2011
Al Golden makes right call ... just too soon
By Heather Dinich
In no way does the decision to start Miami quarterback Jacory Harris surprise me.
In talking to coach Al Golden and first-year offensive coordinator Jedd Fisch this offseason, it was clear that they liked what they saw. They have the only senior quarterback in the conference and have said repeatedly that he is better than he was a year ago.
Jacory Harris had a performance to forget in his last game against Notre Dame.
Now Harris has been given the chance to prove it.
The only problem with this decision is the timing of its announcement. Aside from the fact that it was unexpected (Golden said on his teleconference this week the quarterbacks would be given Thursday, Friday and Saturday to compete), it now gives Ohio State extra time to prepare knowing which quarterback it will face. If Golden wanted to get Harris the much-needed snaps with the first team, by all means he should do it -- behind closed doors. The earlier this decision was made the better, considering Harris' practice reps with the first team diminished because of the one-game NCAA suspension. The bye week will give Harris the time he needs to adequately prepare for his first start since ... I know, you don't want me to bring it up again, do you, Miami fans?
The last time Harris started a game -- against Notre Dame in the Sun Bowl -- he put on a clinic for what not to do. He completed 4 of 7 passes and threw three interceptions. As a senior, there's no question he wants to leave the program with better memories.
And there's no question Miami fans are ready for some.
As popular as Stephen Morris is with the fans, Harris earned the chance this offseason to redeem himself. There are certain advantages his experience will bring. Golden said "too many operational things" went wrong with Harris against Maryland, "confusion coming out of the huddle." Those are mistakes that aren't usually made with a veteran.
It's important to remember that Golden didn't take Harris out of the quarterback competition -- the NCAA did.
"It wasn't my choice that the quarterback competition ended two weeks ago, even before our second scrimmage," Golden said. "We had to completely go a different direction than we wanted to, had to remove Jacory from it prematurely. I wanted them to at least get a chance to compete and win [the job] on the field."
Morris has had his chance. Now it's Harris' turn. The only problem with that is that the Buckeyes now know it, too.