CORAL GABLES, Fla. (AP) -The car's violent jolts woke Robert Marve from his sleep. Much like he would on the football field, the quarterback quickly looked around and surveyed the situation.
He had only one realization.
``I didn't think I was going to live,'' Marve said. ``It didn't look good for me.''
That's what emergency responders thought when they got to the scene and saw the flattened 2007 Dodge Charger, which rolled six times before slamming against a tree. Marve's hard-sided suitcase was outside the vehicle, bent in half. The high school helmet he wore when leading Tampa Plant High to a 15-0 record and a state championship was splintered.
Somehow, he got lucky.
Marve sustained serious hand and wrist injuries that night last summer, but he walked away.
And Tuesday, when the Miami Hurricanes open spring football practice, Marve will walk onto the field as a newly minted team leader, the presumptive starting quarterback for a young, rebuilding club with perennially high expectations.
``I can't wait,'' Marve said. ``I hope they let us be live a little bit this spring, have a little fun, get knocked out here and there and get up and not know where we're at. You miss little things like that when you're not playing. They're just part of the game of football.''
Imagine that.
After taking the hit of his life, Marve still wants Miami coach Randy Shannon to let some 290-pound defensive end get some shots at him this spring, a time when quarterbacks are usually as well-protected as heads of state. But it's been 18 months since Marve played a real game, so he's itching to get that adrenalin pumping again.
Chances are, though, Shannon won't let his quarterbacks get pounded too much, since one of them will have to actually be healthy enough to play in a few months when the season starts for real. Marve, Jacory Harris and Cannon Smith will be the candidates in the spring, and Shannon says the competition is ``wide open.''
None of the three has thrown a college pass. Kyle Wright graduated and is prepping for an NFL shot. Kirby Freeman, who also graduated, skipped his final season of eligibility and has enrolled at Baylor, where he hopes to play this fall.
So at 'Quarterback U,' the quarterbacks are all new.
``It's been kind of fun,'' Shannon said. ``Those guys are kind of like football junkies. They're around all the time, they're always watching film, they're playing catch with the receivers, they're playing catch with each other. They're having competition, but it's a great competition. They're always challenging each other.''
Offense was a problem for the Hurricanes last season, when they finished 5-7 and missed a bowl game for the first time since 1997.
Wright and Freeman - beset by erratic receiving all season - combined to throw for 15 touchdown passes and 20 interceptions. Some thought Marve would have gotten playing time as a true freshman in 2007, but the injuries from the July 16 crash eliminated all chance of that happening.
Originally, Marve and two teammates - wide receiver Jermaine McKenzie and linebacker Colin McCarthy - planned to leave southwest Florida around mid-afternoon to get home in time for an early Monday morning workout. It's about a four-hour drive.
But a 3 p.m. departure became 5 p.m., then 7 p.m., then 9 p.m., as things kept happening to derail the group from getting on the road. They left long after sundown. Shortly past midnight, McKenzie, who was driving, fell asleep and broke neck vertebrae. McCarthy, in the passenger seat, was left with minor cuts and scrapes.
Marve got the worst of it all. His left (nonthrowing) hand was deeply cut and his left wrist was broken. Doctors originally thought he could lose a finger. He needed surgery and weeks of rehabilitation, but was back on the field as the scout-team quarterback about midway through the season.
``As much as people want to say the car accident hurt me, it actually helped me twice as much,'' Marve said. ``I believe everything happens for a reason. So that happened for a reason. I didn't know the playbook half as well then as I do now. And I'm still learning a lot more. So it's time to get started.''
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