Shannon says Harris needs good practice to start

BY foxsports • November 23, 2010

Miami coach Randy Shannon has tried to snuff out all talk of a quarterback dilemma for weeks, insisting Jacory Harris would return to his starting job when healthy.

Harris is now healthy.

And there's no guarantee - not yet, anyway - of his return to the Hurricanes' lineup.

Shannon said Tuesday that he'll wait to see what Harris and Stephen Morris do in practice this week before a decision is made on who starts Saturday's home regular-season finale against South Florida (6-4).

''If he's sharp and crisp, we'll go with him. If he's not, we'll have to go with Stephen,'' Shannon said. ''He knows it, and he's going to work hard this week in practice.''

Morris has started the last three games for Miami (7-4) while Harris recovered from a concussion, going 2-1 and leading the Hurricanes to at least 464 yards of offense in each outing. But Morris also threw three interceptions in the last 9 minutes of last Saturday's loss to Virginia Tech, which raised Shannon's ire.

Still, those giveaways alone won't be the deciding factor on whether Harris plays or not this weekend.

''There's something people do not realize,'' Shannon said. ''Jacory's cleared medically. But he's missed some time. We've got to get him back into it and everything. It's like anything, you've got to get both of them ready. Whoever has the best practice, that's who you go with.''

This game will play a large role in dictating which bowls the Hurricanes and Bulls get chosen for, and perhaps decide some recruiting battles, but will have little else besides pride at stake.

Still, Shannon said the Hurricanes are treating it like any other game, so he's not taking the quarterback decision lightly.

Harris has been doing some light throws for about two weeks and was part of practices last week, but was barely part of the game plan for Virginia Tech. He was listed as questionable, though the reality was he would have played only in an emergency situation.

Harris hasn't played since getting knocked out of Miami's loss at Virginia on Oct. 30.

''I'll put it to you like this,'' Shannon said. ''Say a guy comes back from a sprained knee ligament. He's got to get back in a rhythm, got to practice well, got to get back into it. That's where Jacory is right now.''

Harris, who has thrown the second-most touchdowns in Miami hostory, has completed 132 of 245 passes for 1,646 yards with 14 touchdowns and 11 interceptions this season. Morris - who was the fourth-stringer and a redshirt candidate before Harris got injured - has completed 52 of 103 passes for 880 yards, with five touchdowns and seven interceptions.

As a team, Miami's 21 interceptions this season are tops in the nation, tied with Buffalo.