University of Miami

University of Miami QB Jake Heaps healthy, happy to be back on field

After missing Monday’s scrimmage with a sore elbow, University of Miami quarterback Jake Heaps returned to practice Wednesday and participated fully in the morning and afternoon sessions.

“I was glad to be able to come out here for a two-a-day practice and go through all of it [Wednesday] and have no issues, so that was a major positive,” Heaps said. “I’m extremely excited to be out here and excited that I’m healthy.”

UM coach Al Golden, who, after consulting with the team doctor insisted that Heaps not compete in the scrimmage, is extending the quarterback competition until he deems it prudent to name a starter between the 23-year-old Heaps and 18-year-old Brad Kaaya.

“Guys, I’m working through it, honestly,” Golden said when asked about a pending depth chart. “Honestly, I could keep releasing them every day, but it would be to make you guys stop asking the questions.

“It’s one of those things,” he said of the quarterback race. “I don’t know if you really just say, ‘We have to have a drop-dead time.’ I’m just going to play it by ear and let it unfold and see where it goes.”

The Hurricanes open the season Sept. 1 at Louisville.

Heaps, who had three days of rest because Monday’s scrimmage was sandwiched by off days, said the latest injury was not a recurring issue and never happened when he played for Kansas or BYU. He said he wanted to play Monday but was stopped by coaches.

“The competitor in me wanted to be out with my teammates and battle with them and enjoy that,” Heaps said. “… Not to be able to do that was tough. At the end of the day, it’s about in the long run getting ready for Game 1.”

Golden said he talked to the doctor after learning of the soreness.

“He wanted to go,” the coach said of Heaps, “and sometimes you’ve got to say, ‘It’s just not worth it.’ Jake knows it doesn’t go against him. It’s just the body of work in training camp. He threw the ball well [Wednesday].

“All the conspiracy theorists who are out there, you know, it was what it was. He had a sore arm, we held him out, and he’s back out there [Wednesday].”

Heaps said he will be rehabbing the injury.

“This was a very recent deal, and you’ve got to make sure you’re doing your due diligence to make sure any effects don’t come back,” he said. “But it’s definitely behind me, and I’m just trying to do everything I can to make sure I’m 100 percent and nothing reoccurs from there.”

Offensive coordinator James Coley called the competition between Heaps and Kaaya “pretty heated.”

“It’s pretty close, absolutely,” Coley said.

Coley was asked how concerned he was about Heaps’ elbow.

“Zero, zero,” he said. “[Wednesday] he threw some really nice balls. He was a little sore the other day, so better safe than sorry. … He came out here [Wednesday] and threw some darts out there, so I’m not worried about it at all.”

Regarding Kaaya, Golden said coaches are “trying to shake him up every day,” but he stays “very poised, unflappable at times. I thought he played really well. … Every day he’s being consistent in his approach — doesn’t get too high when it goes well [and] if he makes a mistake he’s on to the next play. That’s a good trait for a quarterback.”

Golden also praised Kevin Olsen and said he is improving on and off the field. “He’s getting better and he’s getting stronger, and his weight is going up. I have no doubt he’s made a long-term commitment. In the meeting rooms he’s been really good. He’s sharp. He’s answering questions.”

Said Olsen: “I think I’m playing pretty well when I’m in there and the offense is clicking as a whole right now. Yeah, I’ll be here. I came here to compete, and I know that’s what it’s going to be. I obviously didn’t come here to be the backup, and however the cards may fall they will.”

On the other side of the ball, defensive coordinator Mark D’Onofrio said cornerbacks Artie Burns and Corn Elder were exceptional in the scrimmage, which is why they were two of only three players Wednesday who wore the coveted black jerseys earned by the best performers. The other man in black was defensive end Anthony Chickillo.

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