The Hurricanes are back on Greentree on Thursday. Let’s go position-by-position and tell you what we know, what we don’t know, and what we want to learn this month.
First up, Brad Kaaya and other Hurricanes quarterbacks not named Brad Kaaya:
Projected depth chart
15 – Brad Kaaya – Jr. (6-4, 215)
16 – Evan Shirreffs – R-Fr. (6-5, 210)
12 – Malik Rosier – R-Soph. (6-1, 215)
11 – Jack Allison – Fr. (6-5, 200)
14 – Vincent Testaverde Jr. – Jr. (6-2, 200)
Numbers to know
Kaaya finished top-three in the ACC in yards (3,072), yards per attempt (8.3), passer rating (142.1) and fewest interceptions (5). He finished fifth in completion percentage (61.3) and sixth in touchdowns (16).
Rosier appeared in seven games, but saw nearly all his action in his first career start at Duke (20-of-29, 272 yards, 2 TD, 1 INT) and a poor showing (7-of-22, 42 yards, 2 INT) when Kaaya left the Clemson game with a concussion.
Miami had the 48th-most efficient passing attack (136.3 rating), finished 32nd in yards per attempt (8.0) and was 71st in scoring (27.8 points per game).
The Hurricanes showed some explosive ability, finishing 31st in passing plays of 20-plus yards (62) and 13th in throws of 30-plus (31).
In three spring scrimmages, Kaaya completed 64 percent of his passes (despite more than a dozen drops) and threw 10 touchdowns and one interception. UM had five scholarship receivers and was without injured No. 1 target Stacy Coley for half the spring — that hurt the backup QBs, who operated with a crew of walk-on wideouts and a struggling second-string offensive line.
Quote of note
“He’s a deadly accurate passer. Great decision-maker. He’s a great team leader. Doesn’t hurt that he’s about 6-4 and smart as he can be. And he’s been to war. He’s had two full seasons in the league, and even though he’s running a different system now, he knows what it’s like to play before a crowd, home and away.” – coach Mark Richt on Kaaya
A perfect match
Few quarterbacks in the country feel as lucky as Kaaya, now under the tutelage of a veteran coach who boasts an impressive list of pupils (Heisman winners Charlie Ward and Chris Weinke, plus No. 1 overall pick Matthew Stafford and SEC Aaron Murray). As a draft-eligible junior, Kaaya may be hoping to show scouts his worth as a potential first-round pick. Or not; he said he won’t decide his future until the season ends.
What’s Kaaya’s ceiling?
He is the straw that stirs the Hurricanes’ drink, and he must have a productive season for Miami to make any noise in the Coastal. Kaaya can pick apart defenses if he has time to throw, so UM’s offensive line must keep him upright. He spent his offseason learning the ins and outs of Richt’s offense — plays, reads, footwork, techniques – and though Richt will call plays, Kaaya will have control at the line of scrimmage to tweak and change calls. How comfortable is he with the offense? How much can Richt put on his shoulders? As with every other player, we’ll want to see the gains Kaaya made over the summer under the guidance of UM’s new strength and conditioning staff.
Looking for No. 2
If the Canes can protect him, and his running backs and receivers stay healthy, Kaaya should be one of the most productive quarterbacks in the nation. Especially since could be his last college season, it’s imperative for UM it develops a worthy successor. That appears to be Allison, the seventh-best quarterback in the 2016 recruiting class. Richt said he won’t hesitate to burn Allison’s redshirt if he proves worthy. Shirreffs and last year’s backup, Rosier, will get long looks.