Canes starting to get answers

With one final preseason scrimmage scheduled for tonight, the Hurricanes should really be coming together as a team by now. They seem to be getting some answers to some of the tough questions they faced heading into fall camp.

With two-a-days over and with just one scrimmage left on the schedule before the team begins preparing for its season opener against Charleston Southern next Thursday, the Hurricanes seem to be getting some answers.

The biggest question fans everywhere want to know is who will be named the team's starting quarterback. Coach Randy Shannon said on Sunday that he'll likely name the starter by the end of this week. What have we learned about the competition so far?

Not much.

Most people seem to think that it's clearly a two player race between redshirt freshman Robert Marve and true freshman Jacory Harris. The only thing that's interesting to note here is that in both of the scrimmages so far, the media's been able to watch the second unit offense. In both scrimmages, it was Harris running with the twos and Marve with the ones. Again, does that mean anything? We won't know until later this week.

UM coaches obviously have enough confidence in running backs Javarris James and Graig Cooper to rest them in the first couple scrimmages, something Shannon said will happen again tonight. The other running backs are being evaluated and have gotten the bulk of the carries in the scrimmages so far. How guys like Damien Berry, Derron Thomas, Shawnbrey McNeal, and Lee Chambers fit into the picture remains to be seen but one thing's for sure -- the coaches seem confident that James and Cooper are ready to go.

Isn't it nice to see lots of competition behind someone like Sam Shields, who most fans believe hasn't played to his true potential yet? Shields had a big day on Sunday and hopefully the good play of the younger guys will push him harder than he's been pushed the past couple seasons when there wasn't a whole lot of depth behind him. It's showtime for him and if he wants an NFL career in his future, he'll have to hold off the younger players and step up to have a big season.

While the starting lineups won't be released until next week, it looks like the starting five on the offensive line is what everyone expected it to be going into fall camp -- Jason Fox and Reggie Youngblood at tackle, Orlando Franklin and Joel Figueroa at guard, and Xavier Shannon at center. Hopefully the guys behind them are developing to give the Canes some quality depth at the position that many believe is one of the team's strengths heading into the season.

Not having Eric Moncur and Allen Bailey at full speed for all of fall camp so far has fans wondering how effective they'll be in the opener. That remains to be seen but what an opportunity it's given guys like Adewale Ojomo, Steven Wesley, and the three true freshmen at the position. Ojomo, especially, is expected to make some noise rushing the passer this season so the experience for him running with the first team and going up against guys like Fox and Youngblood every day has been huge.

There are still a lot of questions to be answered between now and next Thursday. Which linebackers will step up? Which corners will take the lead on the depth chart? Who will be the return specialists on this year's team? All of those questions will hopefully get answered between now and next week. But, for now, it seems a lot of questions have been answered for the Hurricanes.


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