Posted by Chip Patterson
UPDATE: Stephen Morris was listed as OUT for spring practice when Miami released their pre-spring depth chart Wednesday night. Ryan Williams was No. 1, with early enrollees Gray Crow and Preston Dewey as No. 2 and No. 3, respectively.
After injuries and turnovers led former Miami head coach Randy Shannon to flip frequently between Jacory Harris and Stephen Morris in 2010, Harris - a senior - kept a strong hold on the starting position for most of Al Golden's first year in 2011.
Golden opened up the quarterback competition upon his arrival in Coral Gables, and let the two quarterbacks compete all the way until the end of fall camp. According to Golden the race for the starting position was neck-and-neck for nearly six months, and several teammates confirmed that observation heading into last season.
Morris, now the heir apparent to the starting quarterback position, will be limited during Miami's spring practice - which opens Saturday morning. According to The Miami Herald, Morris underwent back surgery in the offseason. Miami would not confirm the reason for Morris' limitations, but the junior quarterback is expected to meet with the media on Thursday.
Morris' limitation provides an opportunity for Memphis transfer Ryan Williams to make his case for snaps in 2012. Golden likely had no plans of naming a starting quarterback based exclusively on spring practice, but the extra experience Williams has gotten - and will get this spring - should put him in position to compete in the fall.
A native of Miramar High School, Williams decided to transfer back home after just one season with the Tigers. Williams played in all 12 games as a true freshman in 2010, starting in 10. He completed 165-of-290 passes for 2,075 yards and 13 touchdowns, winning the starting job on the field in the second game. The 6-foot-6, 220-pound quarterback led Miramar to its first ever Florida State Championship in high school, breaking a state record with an 85.7 completion percentage in the title game.
What Morris does have is game experience with the Hurricanes, and the advantage of competing for the job already. But with Williams hungry to produce for his hometown school, any steps made this spring could make for another interesting quarterback competition in the fall for Al Golden.
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