Morris injury clouds FSU's preparations
October, 15, 2012
By David M. Hale | ESPN.com
US PresswireFlorida State will prepare for both Ryan Williams (11) and Stephen Morris (17) in practice this week. The Seminoles face Miami on Saturday night.
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. -- Jimbo Fisher doesn't believe he's run into any luck this week just because Miami figures to be without its starting quarterback. In truth, it probably just means Florida State will have to work all that much harder to be prepared for what's in store when it faces off against a Hurricanes offense likely to be led by backup Ryan Williams.
Starter Stephen Morris went down with a shoulder injury in last week's loss to North Carolina, and Miami coach Al Golden said he's expecting Williams to start this week. But Fisher isn't taking anything for granted.
"You have to prepare for both," Fisher said.
Morris had started all seven of Miami's games this season, and he leads the ACC in passing yards with 1,991, and he played against the Seminoles last year, too. Williams, on the other hand, has thrown just 15 passes in a Miami uniform, having transferred from Memphis last year.
That means digging a bit deeper into the film archives, as Fisher said he'll likely study some of Williams' work at Memphis from the 2010 season to get a handle on what Miami's backup quarterback brings to the table.
"You can get a judge of what he can do, so you may buzz through a film," Fisher said. "But after that you've got to key the guys around him."
After Morris left last week's game in the fourth quarter, Williams completed 9 of 13 passes for 80 yards, but Fisher said he's not expecting the Miami offense to change drastically regardless of which quarterback is on the field.
"You can do some different things, but the foundation is going to be the same," Fisher said.
Williams might simplify things a tad for the FSU pass rush. While Morris is a capable runner, Williams is more of a pocket passer. At 6-foot-6, however, he won't be easy to bring down.
Nevertheless, Fisher said getting pressure on the quarterback will be key to slowing the Miami offense.
"That's vital whether he's experienced or inexperienced," Fisher said.
With that in mind, Fisher said his team will be spending far more time this week studying Miami's formations and keys rather than its personnel.
"We have to study the plays and the keys and the things Miami does -- that's the big thing," Fisher said.
And while losing Morris could be a big blow for the Hurricanes, Fisher knows the dangers of putting a backup quarterback in a big spot. He's seen his share of No. 2 QBs step up and produce when given the opportunity, and he's expecting nothing less from Williams.
"How each team responds to that is their own dynamic from within. Some teams can respond to those things, some don't," Fisher said. "They'll be prepared, and a lot of times, it'll rally guys around him."