Heading into this season, during the quarterback battle between senior Jacory Harris and sophomore Stephen Morris in fall camp, fans seemed to be all aboard the Morris bandwagon, and rightfully so.
After a less-than-stellar end to last season, which included a three-interception, 4-7 day in the Sun Bowl during Notre Dame’s 33-17 shellacking over the Canes, Morris gave fans what Harris used to provide: hope.
Morris did have that exciting, come-from-behind win against the Terrapins last year. And he did provide a spark for the offense in an otherwise lopsided game in the Sun Bowl. And to his credit, outside of a few critical late game mistakes against Maryland to open the season, he had an overall decent game as well.
So when Al Golden named Harris the starter just a few days after the loss, with a bye week still available for more time to contemplate, you could understand why fans were reluctant at first to go back.
But this is not the Jacory of yesteryear.
Outside of the home opener against Ohio State (where he threw two picks and the Canes defense stymied a broken down Buckeye offense), Harris has looked like the quarterback many expected him to be coming out of Northwestern in 2008, the one of whom you would see flashes during his freshman and sophomore campaigns. The one capable of making the big throw when needed. The one a team can rally around and expect to, more often than not, make the right call.
Consider that since sitting out the season opener against Maryland, Harris has completed 67 percent of his passes in his first four games. The Harris-to-Tommy Streeter connection, after three years of little excitement, has finally been established.
The interception-prone quarterback everyone has come to know and loathe? There may still be a few of those mistakes, but for those keeping count, Harris has thrown just three all year, and not one of those has come since the second quarter of the Kansas State game.
It doesnt hurt having Lamar Miller in the backfield, but the way the offense has been clicking, you would think that much of the criticism would go away.
Nothing is ever that easy.
Even with the offense looking more exciting than it has in recent years, the defense has yet to hold up their end of the bargain. Sure, the suspensions at the beginning of the year didn’t help matters. The season-ending injuries to Marcus Forston and Ramon Buchanan mean the Canes have even less depth than before, on a unit that was already concerned with depth. Unfortunate as it may be, the fact remains that the defense has been the main cause for concern in losses to Kansas State and Virginia Tech.
Those who are still calling for Harris to be replaced, claiming that the Canes’ 3-3 start is somehow attributed to his play, need to sit down and actually watch the play on the field. Miami has remained competitive since his return because of Harris, not in spite of him.
Jacory has done his part.