Harris spent the next 11 games playing behind Marve, who was named the team's starting quarterback just before the 2008 season started. The good thing for the Canes and Harris is that Randy Shannon gave the young quarterback many opportunities.
Shannon said he'd play Harris in the first half of every game and he did just that. It didn't take long for fans to realize that was a reality either, as Harris was inserted into the Florida game when the Canes were backed up on their own goal line. Harris got them out, completing a pass up past the 10 yard line. Ever since that throw, it seems, Harris has made the most of his opportunities.
Whether it was the Duke game when Harris led the team on a tremendous second half surge or the Virginia game when Harris led his team on a long touchdown drive in the closing minutes to send the game into overtime before leading the go-ahead drive in the extra period, Harris delivered when called upon.
The numbers don't lie. Harris had a rock solid freshman season, finishing the regular season as one of the nation's top-rated first year passers. In fact, only Boise State's Kellen Moore and Baylor's Robert Griffin finished with better passer ratings than Harris among true freshman quarterbacks in college football this season. Again, Harris delivered when given the opportunity.
One of the most critical areas of Miami's football team over the last two seasons has been the design of the offense under second year coordinator Patrick Nix. In 2007, both of his senior quarterbacks struggled to find any type of consistency. Marve had an up-and-down first season as starter. Harris, however, seemed to be a lot more comfortable in Nix's offense and seemed to spread the ball around a little better. He seemed to deliver the ball to the right people when given the opportunity.
The Miami Herald reported Thursday that Marve, who may end up a great quarterback here one day, will miss the bowl game because of a one-game suspension and that means Harris will be given a big opportunity. Coach Shannon will likely downplay the importance but isn't it very important? As a Canes fan, don't you want to see how Nix's offense looks like the same quarterback is running it the whole time -- the same quarterback whose passer rating is the highest of all four quarterbacks over the last two seasons? Hasn't Harris earned the opportunity?
I think so and I'm looking forward to seeing what Harris can do when he'll have a whole week to prepare for being the team's starting quarterback when the Canes take on Cal next Saturday.
You should be, too.