Coach: Jacory Harris won starting job

Updated: September 8, 2011, 5:16 PM ET
Associated Press

CORAL GABLES, Fla. -- Turns out, Stephen Morris did not necessarily lose Miami's starting quarterback job because the Hurricanes opened their season with a loss to Maryland.

Instead, Jacory Harris locked it up weeks ago.

Miami coach Al Golden finally ended the mystery on Thursday, saying Harris edged Morris during August practices. Their competition ended abruptly and with Morris winning pretty much by default after Harris was ordered to sit out one game by the NCAA following an investigation that confirmed allegations of him taking extra benefits from a former booster.

"Jacory won the job in camp," Golden said.

Simple as that.

Harris was named the starter once again on Wednesday, even though Golden originally planned to let Morris -- who passed for 195 yards with no touchdowns and two late interceptions in Monday's 32-24 loss -- continue vying for the job through at least this weekend. Miami (0-1) doesn't play again until Sept. 17, when it will host No. 15 Ohio State (1-0).

Upon further review, Golden changed course.

"My natural instinct is to say, 'Let them compete,' " Golden said. "And then I evaluated it all day, I guess that would have been Tuesday. Kind of slept on it Tuesday night. And then informed both of them. ... It was primarily because of the body of work that Jacory put together in training camp, his experience and obviously what we saw in the game. The things that we needed in the game were really things that we thought Jacory could give us at this stage."

Players were not available for comment Thursday. Harris is expected to address reporters Friday.

Even though Harris is now the starter again, as he was for the bulk of his first three seasons at Miami, Golden quickly noted that things can change again down the line. And offensive coordinator Jedd Fisch added that Morris will continue pushing Harris in practice.

"He needs to be pushed," Fisch said after the team ended its Thursday workout. "The best part about our situation is competition. He knows that Stephen went out and played a really good game on Monday night and did a lot of really good things. And unfortunately, it ended the way it ended with a couple plays, but he played really well. Jacory has had a really good camp and did a nice job understanding his experience should help us taking care of some of the issues that we had in the game."

Morris completed only 4 of 10 passes for 28 yards in the final 1:33 on Monday night in a failed rally attempt after Maryland took a 26-24 lead. Morris connected with LaRon Byrd for 17 yards on a third-and-15 play, but was intercepted for a touchdown four plays later and picked off again on a desperation heave as time expired.

Some procedural things, such as delay-of-game penalties on consecutive plays in the second half, also helped seal the decision to change starters for now.

"There were some things in the game the other night that I think (Harris') experience and maturity would have helped immeasurably," Golden said. "So that's the decision that we made."


Copyright 2011 by The Associated Press

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