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'Canes preparing for unknowns with FAU

The SportsXchange

There's always an air of mystery about an opening game, University of Miami coach Al Golden says, but the Hurricanes' upcoming affair against Florida Atlantic takes things one step further.

Not only have the Owls not announced their starting quarterback with less than a week to go before the season opener Friday at Sun Life Stadium on Friday, they also reportedly have been tinkering with the idea of playing two and even three quarterbacks at one time.

One news report out of Owls camp had Melvin German, III, who had come out of spring with a tentative hold on the No. 1 quarterback job, lining up at wide receiver.

That would leave junior college transfer Jaquez Johnson and freshman Greg Hankerson to take snaps in the spread attack coach Carl Pelini installed last year in his first season with the Owls.

"No. 1, either Johnson or Hankerson is who we expected at quarterback," Golden said. "I think with either one of those we're going to see a lot of ride-in-the-side, lot of misdirection, more quarterback runs.

"They did throw the deep ball very well a year ago, and they do have some deep threats in (William) Dukes and (Daniel) McKinney at the slot.

"And I was very impressed with the tight end (Nexon) Dorvilus. I think five of his 30 catches were for touchdowns, so he's a red zone threat."

The Owls also have a new special teams coordinator, which Golden sees as another X-factor.

"That's why these opening games are tough," Golden said. "You better give all your energy to an opening game because you have no idea what they have been preparing for the last ninth months."

THREE PLAYERS TO WATCH VS. FLORIDA ATLANTIC:

-- Senior QB Stephen Morris is an accomplished veteran with a strong arm who passed for 3,345 yards and 21 touchdowns in 2012. He could improve on his completion percentage (a career mark of 57.7) but has the capability of putting together big games -- three of 400-plus yards last year.

-- Sophomore RB Duke Johnson wasted no time making a big impression last year, rushing for a freshman-record 947 yards and setting a school record in kickoff return yardage with 892. Golden has said he wants to give Johnson more touches this fall.

-- Junior LB Denzel Perryman fought through injuries that cost him three games last year, but he still finished second on the team with 64 tackles. He has moved back to his original spot as an outside backer after being forced by circumstances into the middle as a sophomore.

Notes: Freshman Walter Tucker has been moved from linebacker to fullback, where he will back up senior Maurice Hagens. ... Freshman RB Denny Dillard has been dismissed from the team, but no reason was given. ... Senior DE Dyron Dye, the last Miami player involved in the booster scandal that led to the ongoing NCAA investigation, has been dismissed from the team. ... Redshirt freshman WR Jontavious Carter left the team during the fall camp. He did not appear on any of the early depth charts and was not expected to be a factor in 2014.

--Team correspondents for The Sports Xchange contributed material for this story.
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