Blog Entry

Miami's depth chart shuffle not a shock

Posted on: April 19, 2011 4:51 pm
Edited on: April 19, 2011 5:44 pm
 
Posted by Chip Patterson

With Miami's spring game in the books, Al Golden and the Hurricanes coaching staff released their final post-spring depth chart on Monday. Then, a few hours later, they made a few last-minute changes and released another. Many fans and critics have taken to speculation as to what the many changes and final results might mean for Miami heading into the summer break. One item that has been particularly headline-worthy is the lack of a starting quarterback.

That "controversy" should come as no surprise considering the attitude that Golden has brought to the Hurricanes since arriving in December.

If there is one thing that has jumped out from following the Hurricanes' spring practice it has been Golden's love for competition. One of his first goals after observing the Hurricanes was to increase the speed and toughness during Miami practices. He constantly is asking for more of the Hurricanes, but has shown he is not afraid to compliment/promote a deserving player.

Take the running back position, for example. Lamar Miller, Mike James, and Storm Johnson have been shuffled all spring in the multiple depth charts. When one player brought his best stuff and did something that deserved recognition, they found themselves atop the depth chart. In Saturday's spring game, Miller exploded with a 166 yard, three touchdown performance to lead the Orange team in a 30-17 victory over the Green team. When the depth chart was edited and re-released for the final time until the fall, Miller found himself standing alone as the first-string running back.

At the quarterback position, the coaching staff entered the weekend hoping that one player would emerge the way that Miller did.

"We’re continuing to let them compete and at the end of spring we’ll see where they’re at," offensive coordinator Jedd Fisch said of Harris and Morris earlier this spring. "But right now I see good things from both guys, and they’ve got to continue to compete and step up and show who wants to be the leader and No. 1 guy."

But when spring workouts came to a close neither Harris nor Morris had done enough to convince the coaches that they were THE choice at starting quarterback.

Morris certainly got the better of the spring game, completing 14 of 22 passes for 140 yards and two touchdowns. Morris did throw one interception to 2nd team all-ACC linebacker Sean Spence, which was returned for a touchdown. But the performance still outshone Harris' 18-for-30, 149 yard performance with no touchdowns and two interceptions.

Morris and Harris combined for 24 interceptions last season, and there has not been enough improvement in the spring for Golden to award the starting job to either quarterback. So just as he promised, Golden will let the players compete until someone has stepped up and earned the job.

But the quarterback indecision becomes even less of an issue when you realize how many different places on the depth chart the Hurricanes have a similar issue. Middle linebacker, right tackle, tight end, wide receiver are all positions still in open competition, and while Golden has identified starters at the cornerback position - all signs point to possible mix-ups before September's kickoff.

Different coaches have their own quirks about how to do deal with personnel, particularly in the offseason. Maybe this is just Golden's style. He has entered a situation of predictability and wiped the slate clean. There is a new formula being written at Miami, we just have to wait until the fall to see how well it works.
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