CORAL GABLES, Fla. -

Stephen Morris played as a true freshman at Miami, played again as a sophomore and now is the Hurricanes' starting quarterback as a junior.

The way he sees it, he had a redshirt year thrown in there as well.

Morris was sidelined for the entirety of spring football while recovering from back surgery. Instead of moping about, he became an unofficial assistant coach, literally having a whistle dangle from his neck during spring workouts and doing what he saw coaches do -- praise his teammates for good plays, try to correct things that weren't going so well.

He says it's made him a better leader. His teammates agree, and that's why they expect big things from Morris when the season opens on Saturday at Boston College