Posted: 6:22 pm Sunday, September 22nd, 2013
By Matt Porter
Stephen Morris may not play a lot against struggling South Florida, but he will be available.
On Sunday, Hurricanes coach Al Golden said Morris will be limited in practice early in the week, but expects the senior quarterback to be full-go when Miami visits USF on Saturday (noon, ESPNU).
Golden said Morris’s right ankle injury, suffered during Saturday’s 77-7 win over Savannah State, was a bone bruise. It was originally believed to be a sprain.
Morris was injured on a first-quarter tackle by Savannah State defensive end Alex Wierzbicki. He fell to the turf and left the game for x-rays, which were negative.
“He’s doing good,” Golden said. “There’s some soreness, certainly, and some stiffness. Otherwise Stephen would have been back last night.
“Everything’s positive. He got through treatments and everything. We’re going to be real careful with him in the first 48 hours. It did not swell overnight, it did not go backward overnight. The young man did a great job of getting on top of it last night and early this morning.
“He’s a fast healer. He’s very tough-minded. I expect him to be back on the field real soon.”
Asked if Morris would be ready to face the Bulls (0-3) on Saturday, Golden said: “Oh yeah. Absolutely. I feel good about it. We might be careful with him tomorrow, but our goal is to get him going for our Tuesday practice, which is our most demanding practice.”
In relief of Morris, the Hurricanes (3-0) used junior Ryan Williams, who was 11-of-13 for 176 yards and two touchdowns. Redshirt freshman Gray Crow was 6-of-6 for 55 yards.
Other notes from Golden’s day-after conference call with local media:
* When asked about the 10 penalties Miami accrued for 75 yards, Golden didn’t mince words: “I’m annoyed. You know how to get me on Sunday. You got me.”
He said he can accept a penalty that comes from playing hard, but Miami’s flags against the Tigers were “selfish penalties, foolish penalties … dead ball fouls and things of that nature.”
* Center Shane McDermott, who spent the Savannah State game in a walking boot on the sidelines, suffered a foot injury against Florida.
“Initially we thought he would make it back,” Golden said. “Shane is very tough so we have to be smart. If it was up to Shane, he would play and practice every day.”
Senior Jared Wheeler backed up McDermott, a Palm Beach Central High alum. Golden was high on Wheeler’s performance: “Oh, what a great job he did.”
* Sophomore safety Deon Bush made his season debut following offseason sports hernia surgery. Golden said his conditioning is still an issue, but he played 26 plays and on special teams and expects him to get more work against USF. “I expect his biggest game to come now,” Golden said. “Hopefully he’ll stay healthy.”
* Last night, Duke Johnson left the game in the first quarter after taking a heavy hit and did not return. Golden said it was time to get other running backs some work. That was the third game in a row Johnson has left the game after a hard tackle. “Kids see that as a personal challenge,” Golden said. “They want to go after him. It’s Randy Johnson. He’s going to have to learn to handle that and be smart.”
* According to a participation report released by the team, Miami played 81 players against Savannah State.
That meant numerous players either made their debuts or saw the most action of their career. Stacy Coley and Beau Sandland caught their first touchdown passes. Gus Edwards had his first rushing touchdown (then added two more). Gray Crow threw his first TD pass. Defensive lineman Earl Moore had his first interception. Even walk-on receiver John D’Uva – a sophomore transfer from Fordham who was cleared last week – played on Miami’s final drive.
“I got a number of texts late last night from guys thanking [me] for that opportunity and being grateful,” Golden said.
However, the player volume led to confusion at times. On one of Savannah State’s long kick returns — the Tigers had 32- and 24-yarders — Golden said he failed to make the substitution he wanted. He shouldered the blame for the result.
“It was crazy,” Golden said. “It’s very hectic in a game like that.”