Miami Hurricane Position Preview: Quarterbacks
Of all the positions on the football field for the Miami Hurricanes, the easiest to preview is the quarterback group. Stephen Morris is coming into his senior year after a junior year that saw him throw for 3,345 yards and 21 touchdowns setting Miami school records for most 400+ yard passing games in a career with three and the ACC record for passing yards in a single game with 566. His strong arm and even stronger leadership skills were on full display last year. Clearly, there is no quarterback controversy in Coral Gables.
What about the others? Morris’s immediate backup will be local prep-hero Ryan Williams who transferred from the Memphis Bulldogs last year. Williams looked adequate, yet unspectacular, in spring practice. He is huge compared to the other Canes QBs, but has very little mobility. Any damage he does will be with his arm, not his legs. Ironically, despite his impressive size, he does not have great arm strength and relies more on accuracy. With Canes offensive coordinator James Coley going to more of a vertical passing game, Williams might struggle in any playing time he might see. Nevertheless, barring injury to Morris, Williams will spend the vast majority of the season holding a clipboard next to Coley.
Fighting for the third-string spot, will be Gray Crow and Preston Dewey. There is a huge drop-off here talent-wise, and if the Canes have to give either of these guys considerable playing time, they are in trouble. Crow is the better of the two and even gave Williams a bit of a run for the backup spot during spring practice. Dewey is too inconsistent to be trusted by the coaching staff, and is unlikely to see any playing time all.
The wild card here is incoming recruit Kevin Olsen, the brother of former Hurricane tight end Greg Olsen. He is the most heralded quarterback recruit in the Al Golden era, and despite some well-documented legal issues, he should be in the mix. He will be a true freshman, but the coaching staff is still non-committal about red-shirting him. The vacuum of talent behind Williams seems to make not red-shirting him a no-brainer, but his immaturity and poor decision-making this past spring could make Golden choose to give him a year to grow up.
The quarterback position for the Canes is a bellwether for the Canes, and if starter Morris has the kind of season many expect him to have, it could be a great year or Miami fans.