CORAL GABLES, Fla. (AP) -The last time Miami quarterback Robert Marve threw a pass in a real football game was more than 600 days ago, and it was a moment he'll never forget.
State high school championship game, 17 seconds left, down by four.
Marve brought his right arm back, found his receiver, and delivered a title.
``You have to understand, in my little world, I was on top of the world for a second,'' Marve said Friday. ``And then I got humbled down, to be just happy that I'm alive.''
h a 5-7 season.
A new year for Marve and the Hurricanes begins Saturday morning when camp finally gets under way, and when it does, he might just be the favorite to win a wide-open competition for the starting quarterback job. The wrist and hand that he injured so severely in that car crash are strong again, he's regained lost muscle mass and most importantly, he simply cannot wait to get started.
``I can't say I'm not nervous,'' Marve said. ``But I'm more excited than nervous. I'm so excited to be able to play football again.''
Marve is, for lack of a better term, the savvy veteran of this year's Hurricane quarterback corps. He's the only quarterback in the competition who was with the team last year, albeit in a redshirt role. Jacory Harris - a true freshman - was finishing high school a few miles away at Miami Northwestern, succeeding Marve as the state's most coveted player. And Cannon Smith was in prep school a year ago, well off the radar of most fans at ``Quarterback U.''
But Hurricanes coach Randy Shannon insists that Marve, Harris and Smith all have an equal shot at the job, and that Marve's additional familiarity with offensive coordinator Patrick Nix's system doesn't automatically put him in the driver's seat.
``They're all the same to me,'' Shannon said. ``All of them are doing a great job. They're moving the offense, they're doing the things we want to get done. One day in practice Cannon threw a deep ball, the next day Robert threw a deep ball, then another day Jacory threw a deep ball. So, to me, they're all doing a great job for us, trying to win the game and lead our offense.''
Marve isn't bothered by the competition.
Quite the contrary: He's embracing it all.
``Having an opportunity to play at the University of Miami is a great honor for me and my family,'' Marve said. ``I'm really looking forward to the opportunity that I have. I feel like myself for the first time in a very long time.''
He saw firsthand last season what a drawn-out quarterback controversy can do to a team. Kyle Wright and Kirby Freeman flip-flopped in the first-string role last year, neither thrilled with the situation. Some players were pro-Wright, a few seemed to be pro-Freeman, and almost everyone else just wanted the incessant Kyle-or-Kirby questions to go away.
By default, those questions are gone now. Wright graduated and is looking for a role in the NFL, Freeman (who also graduated) decided to skip his final season of eligibility at Miami and transfer to Baylor, which is considerably closer to his family's Texas home.
But this year's quarterback crop - all of whom want the job, obviously - seems determined not to be a divisive force in the locker room. Marve, Harris and Smith spend time together, speak well of one another, evaluate each other on the field and in the film room.
``We all like each other and I think that's a big thing,'' Marve said. ``We all have a fun time together. We have a good time working. I think we make each other a lot stronger on the field. It's a lot of help when you can talk to a player and say this happened on your back side or this happened on your front side or this happened on a blitz. So it's been a lot of help having other guys by your side.''
As a high school star at Tampa Plant High, Marve didn't need any help. He had 280 completions, 4,380 passing yards and 48 touchdowns as a senior, and now that he's recovered from the injuries suffered in that July 2007 wreck, teammates say he's throwing the ball as well as ever.
``He's a very athletic quarterback and he's very competitive and he goes out to win,'' Miami left tackle Jason Fox said. ``He tries to be a playmaker. That's the attitude you want. I don't want to single out Marve. All the other quarterbacks have done a tremendous job too.''
Which is why Shannon doesn't know who'll start for Miami on Aug. 28 when the season opens against Charleston Southern.
``At the University of Miami, the best players always play,'' Shannon said.

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