By Steve Gorten, Special to the Post
CORAL GABLES – No matter the outcome of the four-quarterback battle to be Brad Kaaya’s backup, Malik Rosier insists he won’t transfer.
“That hasn’t [gone through my mind],” Rosier said after the second practice of fall camp Friday. “One thing about me is if I pick somewhere, my mom is like, ‘Once you do something, you stick with it.’ If I don’t win [the No. 2 job], I’m going to stick here because you never know what might happen. Brad might go down. Evan [Shirreffs] might go down. Then, who is the third guy? Me.
“Hopefully, I’m not the third guy. But if I am, then Evan beat me and he deserves it. Right now, I’m looking at every day taking it one day at a time.”
Rosier also dismissed the possibility of switching positions, adding there’s been no discussion of that with UM coaches. The 6-foot-1, 215-pound redshirt sophomore appeared to be the clear cut No. 2 behind Kaaya at the end of last season, during which he played in seven games and made his first career start at Duke (20-for-29, 272 yards, 2 TD, 1 INT).
But by the end of spring practice, he’d been supplanted by Shirrefs, who was more comfortable and successful in new coach Mark Richt’s offense. Part of “the pack” behind Kaaya, as Richt described Rosier, Shirreffs, Vincent Testaverde and Jack Allison on Friday, Rosier said he isn’t sure where he stands.
“Honestly, there’s competition everywhere. I can’t say I’m second or third. Right now I’m hoping I’m second,” said Rosier, who noted he mainly worked with the second team Friday. “I’m trying to bust my butt. For me, every day I try to come in as the starter. I try to beat Brad out. He knows that, too. Every day he pushes me and I push him. Same thing with Evan and Vincent.”
Richt said Rosier “knows what he’s doing,” but has to be more conservative with his decisions.
“When plays break down, he has a tendency to want to make something special happen,” Richt said. “Sometimes, you just [have to] burn the ball. Sometimes you just take a sack. I think that wanting to make every play a great play, sometimes it’s not good. I always say, ‘don’t turn a bad play into a catastrophe.’ If it’s a bad play, burn the ball. We’ll punt. I’m okay with that. Sometimes he has a tendency to want to stretch more out of a play than he should.”
Rosier said he has made progress in that regard, noting that he threw the ball out of bounds in practice Thursday after reading the coverage wrong, and was praised for his decision. His attitude toward having to fight for the No. 2 job?
“It’s a new coaching staff, new offense and I’ve got to prove myself. It’s just like my freshman year,” Rosier said. “Last year I had to prove myself, prove that I could play and that I could win. Same here. I’ve got to show these new coaches I can come and play and win for them. That’s the biggest thing for me. …Like in the NFL, I have to show that I can play in their system. That’s the reality of the job here.”
Richt said he doesn’t have a timeline for naming Kaaya’s backup but might do so as early as the first scrimmage.
“I just want to have peace that I’m doing the right thing,” he said. “Sooner or later, we have to get the reps for the number two guy. If I have to wait until even after the third scrimmage, which gives me still 10 practice days prior, I think we’ll still be okay.”