Though Mark Richt said he may rest Brad Kaaya, who absorbed multiple hard hits in Saturday’s loss to FSU, the quarterback with the injured shoulder participated in practice Tuesday.
“He threw a lot better than I thought he would throw. I wouldn’t have known that his arm was bothering him,” Richt said. “I don’t even know if it was. I didn’t ask him. I was just watching him throw it and he zipped the ball well. I don’t even think there’s an issue. He practiced the whole way. He did a good job.”
Kaaya did not practice Sunday, the day after Miami’s 20-19 loss. He injured his shoulder on the first play of the game, one of three times he was sacked. One of the hits, an illegal shot to the head, knocked out part of his molar.
“If you play quarterback, you’re going to get hit,” said Richt, who played quarterback at UM from 1978-82. “That’s just football. Now, should you get hit by an unblocked guy first play of the game? No. But he got hit and he does get back up. That’s what pocket passers do. That’s the measure of a quarterback’s toughness, being able to do that.
“Quarterbacks that are pocket passers don’t cross the line of scrimmage and knock down linebackers and all that kind of stuff, but they’ve got to stand there in a vulnerable position as they’re scanning the field, making decisions and throwing the ball. Every time the ball’s snapped, you have to trust that protection’s going to be there, because if you don’t you’ll be dancing around when you’re supposed to be sitting firm and throwing strikes.”
Senior right guard Danny Isidora said the offensive line takes the blame for Kaaya’s shoulder injury. “That’s on us,” he said. “That was a blitz we didn’t pick up. … It sucks, obviously, but we just have to get better. We’re all working to get better so he doesn’t get hit.
“He’s a tough kid. I respect him for that.”
Junior center Nick Linder said Kaaya “is doing good. He’s getting better. He was moving around good.”
Running back Mark Walton said Kaaya was “shut down a little bit today in practice, but when he was throwing the ball I think he was throwing very accurate at times. I think he’s coming back, slowly but surely, getting his shoulder together.”
Any reason to think he won’t play?
“I think he’s playing,” Walton said, echoing Isidora and Linder.
Asked why Kaaya was not permitted to speak to the media this week, Richt answered with a shrug.
“Just didn’t feel like it,” he said. “I guess, my prerogative as a head coach to decide who does and who doesn’t.”