Miami focused on football, not any pending NCAA penalties
While University of Miami fans and employees wait to hear from the NCAA regarding possible penalties for past football violations, the Hurricanes themselves insist their unified focus is elsewhere.
"We've got to approach it the same way we've been approaching it the past couple of years -- that's to trust in Coach (Al) Golden, and trust that him, our athletic director (Blake James) and our president Donna Shalala are going to make the right decisions for the university," said quarterback Stephen Morris, who joined UM defensive end Shayon Green at the Atlantic Coast Conference Kickoff media event Sunday in Greensboro, N.C.
"They've been doing an unbelievable job in, No. 1, being great leaders for this team and helping us focus on getting ready for the season. It's my job, and Shayon's job and the rest for the team to just focus on what we can get done."
The NCAA has been investigating Miami's involvement with booster Nevin Shapiro for nearly two years. The university self-imposed bowl bans each of the past two seasons in hopes of lessening any NCAA penalties.
Morris and Green insisted Sunday they only were interested in on-field events.
"For me and the offense, we've got so many things to worry about," Morris said. "The NCAA just isn't one of them right now."
Defensively speaking, Green agreed.
"We're focused on other things, like we've got camp coming up and our first game against FAU," Green said.
Miami went 7-5 (5-3 in the ACC) last season, when it tied North Carolina and Georgia Tech for the Coastal Division crown.
The Hurricanes return 19 of 22 starters and will open the 2013 season against Florida Atlantic on Aug. 30 at Sun Life Stadium. Eight days later, the Florida Gators will visit in a highly anticipated intrastate battle.
Pittsburgh and Syracuse have joined the ACC for this season to make it a 14-team league. The Panthers are in the Coastal Division.
Miami will conclude the regular season at former Big East rival and new Coastal foe Pitt on Nov. 29.
"I've never been to Pittsburgh," Morris said. "It's going to kind of be cold, so I'm not looking forward to that; I'm a Miami boy."
Morris heads an offense that includes sophomore running back Duke Johnson, whose 2,060 all-purpose yards in 2012 were the second-most in school history.
The senior quarterback did not throw an interception in his final 139 throws last season. That's still a long way from the ACC record for consecutive passes without an interception: 379 by NC State's Russell Wilson in 2008-09.
Morris recently attended and won the camp's skills competition at the Manning Passing Academy held by Archie and sons Peyton and Eli.
"It was a great experience," Morris said. "No. 1, just having the opportunity to meet so many other quarterbacks from different conferences, as well as get to know the guys in the same conference."
Morris is one of four ACC quarterbacks among the 34 players nominated for the Davey O'Brien Award, which annually goes to the nation's top quarterback. Clemson's Tajh Boyd, North Carolina's Bryn Renner and Virginia Tech's Logan Thomas also are contenders.
Neither Boyd, Renner or Thomas owns the record for most passing yards in an ACC game. That mark belongs to Morris, who threw for 566 yards in a 44-37 win against NC Sate on Sept. 29. Phillip Dorsett caught the winning touchdown pass from Morris with 19 seconds left.
"That whole NC State game still feels a little surreal, just the way how it ended and the way how it started was kind of crazy," Morris said. "Truly, I just have give glory to God -- that's an accomplishment I'll cherish for the rest of my life. Hopefully, nobody will beat it anytime soon."
Charlie McCarthy can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org
or on Twitter @mccarthy_chas.