Posted by Chip Patterson
The Stephen Morris experience at Miami got a harsh dose of reality when the first-place Virginia Tech Hokies came into Coral Gables on Saturday. While Morris had impressed Hurricanes fans by orchestrating wins over Maryland and Georgia Tech, but the fourth quarter unraveling against the Hokies have turned all eyes back on injured starter Jacory Harris. The Hurricanes entered the fourth quarter tied 17-17 with Virginia Tech, and a win would keep their ACC Championship hopes alive. But the Virginia Tech defense was not about to surrender the Coastal Division on account of a freshman quarterback. Morris was picked three times in the final 9 minutes, and Tyrod Taylor put the nail in the coffin at the 6:25 mark with his 18 yard touchdown scramble.
Harris was cleared by doctors to play, but remained on the sideline throughout the 31-17 loss. Now, with an in-state showdown against South Florida to close the season, head coach Randy Shannon must decide whether to start the recovering quarterback. Harris has yet to see the field in a game since suffering a concussion against Virginia on October 30, and has worn the green, non-contact jersey in practice. When asked about Harris' status for Saturday's game, Shannon was predictably ambiguous. Shannon said that Harris would start against the Bulls, but only "if he's ready." The head coach stressed that it would depend on how Harris' timing and rhythm looked in practice this week, and that doctors would be on the sideline to assist in the decision.
Shannon has been very vocal about supporting the health of his quarterback rather than thinking the team's offensive needs. He may also know that the fate of the Hurricanes is basically sealed at this point. Officially eliminated of the Coastal Division race, the Hurricanes are likely staring down an invitation to the Sun Bowl in El Paso, Texas. They could still be selected by the Champs Sports Bowl in Orlando, but the Sun Bowl officials have already expressed interest in seeing the Hurricanes down in the Lone Star State. With the game against South Florida having little to no meaning for Miami, working out Stephen Morris for one more game might not be a bad idea for Miami.