It appears that the Miami Hurricanes, who still control their destiny in the Atlantic Coast Conference’s Coastal Division, will have quarterback Stephen Morris back this season.
It just might not be for Saturday’s Florida State game.
Miami coach Al Golden said Sunday that Morris has a sprained ankle, and indicated that backup Ryan Williams might make his first start Saturday as a Hurricane against the No. 12 Seminoles.
“We’ll assess Stephen as the week kind of unfolds,’’ Golden said. “But right now we’re going in thinking that Ryan is going to be the guy.’’
Morris, a junior, hurt his left ankle with 8:26 left Saturday in Miami’s 18-14 loss to North Carolina.
“The X-rays are negative for any kind of fracture,’’ Golden said. “He’s been getting treatment all day, so it is a sprain. It’s not a high-ankle sprain. It’s the better of the sprains you can get on your ankle.”
Morris, who threw two interceptions Saturday, has completed 154 of 268 passes for 1,991 yards and nine touchdowns – with six interceptions – in seven starts this season.
Williams, a redshirt sophomore who transferred from Memphis and sat out, per NCAA rules, last season, threw two passes this season in three games for seven yards and a touchdown – before Saturday. He completed nine of 13 Saturday for 80 yards, and was sacked once, a costly play that resulted in UM needing 16 yards for a first down with less than a minute left.
He got 11 of those yards on fourth down, turning over the ball to UNC.
“I don’t think there’s any question it’s going to be a challenge,’’ Golden said of Williams possibly starting. “Ryan did a nice job moving us down the field the other day in a tough situation. We just needed to come through with one more play to get us down there. Hopefully he’ll learn a lot from that.’’
Golden was asked if he might be inclined to sit Morris, since FSU (6-1, 3-1 ACC) is in the ACC’s Atlantic Division – not Miami’s Coastal – and thus, the game would not have a bearing on Miami (4-3, 3-1) being able to qualify for the ACC title game.
“We have no idea knowing where his health is right now,’’ Golden said. “I don’t think I can imagine a scenario where we’re not going to try to do whatever we have to do to try to beat Florida State. So, without giving your question any thought, I think our kids deserve everything we’ve got to try to win this next game.”
The coach said Williams’ backup would be “either Preston Dewey or Gray Crow.’’ Both are freshmen. “Preston obviously was ahead of Gray earlier in the season and Gray has responded the last two weeks,’’ Golden said. “We’re really going to have to evaluate their body of work over the course of the season and where they are mentally and who would be ready for this opportunity if it should arise.’’
MORE INJURY NEWS• Golden confirmed that freshman Duke Johnson (toe) was a “game-time decision in terms of we really didn’t know what we were dealing with last week in terms of his foot. It wasn’t getting any better. As the week progressed we had to relieve him of a lot of the work he was doing. He fought through it and did a nice job for us.’’
Johnson gained 47 yards on 14 carries, but was held back from returning kickoffs.
“It’s precautionary,’’ Golden said. “We’re just trying to make sure we alleviate any stress or pain. I know he aggravated it a couple times during the game, but right now he’s not showing up on any report as having gone backwards.’’