Preparing for the biggest game he has ever had playing football Miami Hurricanes starting quarterback Jarren Williams has conversed with program legends like Jimmy Johnson.
Jarren Williams surprised many outside the Miami Hurricanes football program by beating out N’Kosi Perry and Tate Martell to be named the first-team quarterback. Those inside the program were not as surprised. Williams accuracy and ability to make reads quickly earned him the starting position.
Former Miami Hurricanes head coach Jimmy Johnson and record-setting Miami Hurricanes QBs Stephen Morris and Brad Kaaya are among the Miami football luminaries that Williams has connected with in the ten days since being named as the starter. Williams will make his first start on Saturday night after redshirting as a freshman in 2018.
Williams took just nine snaps and completed one pass in three attempts against Savannah State last season. He added a rushing touchdown against the Tigers. Martell and Perry are redshirt sophomores. Perry started six games for Miami last season. Martell attempted 28 passes and had 22 rushing attempts for Ohio State in 2018.
Morris holds the Miami passing yardage record for one game with 566 against North Carolina State in 2012. Kaaya is the school’s all-time leader in passing yards. Williams told The Athletic what he discussed with Kaaya and Morris on a group chat. Williams will be wearing Kaaya’s old number 15.
They told me this is the moment you have prepared your whole life for, so don’t let the moment get too big. Brad told me to go out there, be me and have fun with it. This is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity, so take advantage.”
Not too many sophomores (academically) are afforded the opportunity of speaking with the first coach and only one of three ever to win a college national championship and a super bowl. Williams was able to speak to Johnson to get some advice about making his first start in a big game against Florida.
“He’s a great guy. I love him. He just told me ‘protect the ball’ and told me he liked the way I spin the ball. He said some nice things and said to take things one step, one play at a time. Don’t let the moment get too big…His speech, it fired me up, I will tell you that.
I know how big this game is, but me and the guys were talking about just…focusing on one play at that one time. You are not going to hear the fans screaming. All the noise, we’re tuning it out. We’re just focusing on our assignment.”
Jarren Williams talking with Jimmy Johnson after practice today pic.twitter.com/lBGGloHyOv
— Christopher Stock (@InsideTheU) August 21, 2019
The demeanor of the Miami football team changed once Williams was named the starting QB. It was likely a sense of relief for the Hurricanes players to be able to stop discussing who the starting QB might be and be able to start focusing on the game plan for Florida. Diaz spoke to The Athletic about Williams.
“We are very confident, the team is very confident in Jarren. All the reasons why we picked him, he still shows all of those attributes. Since that day, we have been game-planning for two weeks, enabling him to run the same stuff again and again that we will feature in Orlando. I don’t think that has just helped him, but (also) everyone on offense.
It is a natural thing to have the confidence of the coaching staff and the team to know you’re the guy. And that’s why we made the decision we made public; we felt that (part) superseded any value in having a surprise on Saturday.”
Williams is the first Miami freshman starting the season opener at QB since Kaaya started the 2014 season opener in 31-13 loss at Louisville. That was the Cardinals first ACC game. Williams gets his chance Saturday night in Miami’s first game against Florida since 2013.