Canes QB Battle Far From Over

Suspension of Harris settles Canes' QB controversy for one week

By David Hill
|  Wednesday, Aug 31, 2011  |  Updated 3:04 PM EDT
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UM students react to the suspension of eight football players who admitted to taking improper benefits from convicted felon Nevin Shapiro.

UM students react to the suspension of eight football players who admitted to taking improper benefits from convicted felon Nevin Shapiro.

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At University of Miami, the quarterback competition is anything but settled.

Jacory Harris' one-game suspension for taking improper gifts from former booster and convicted felon Nevin Shapiro gave Stephen Morris the starting nod in the Canes' season-opener Monday evening against Maryland.

But head coach Al Golden said Wednesday the two will still compete with each other for the starting job when the Canes take the field against Ohio State at home on Sept. 17.

"We have two or three practices during the bye week there so we'll let them compete," Golden told the Miami Herald.

Golden said the competition between Harris and Morris "was really close" before Harris was suspended. "They were neck and neck. I think anybody on the team will tell you that," he added.

The NCAA helped make the decision for Golden, at least in the opener, when it suspended Harris and seven other players for taking gifts from Shapiro. Harris will also have to pay back around $140 in meals, entertainment and club admissions that he admitted to taking from the booster, the NCAA said.

Golden said it was "impossible" to know who would have been the starter if Harris had not been caught up in the scandal, but praised Morris for his recent work in practice.

"He came on really strong those last three or four practices, including the last scrimmage," Golden said. 

Morris has been taking snaps exclusively with the first-team offense since Harris was declared ineligible last week, and a strong showing at Maryland would give him a leg up on Harris.

Still, the controversy over who will lead the Canes offense will continue after a brief reprieve. If the Canes struggle to put points on the board against a middling Maryland squad on Monday, you can bet that Canes fans will be clamoring for Harris' return to the first team.

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