CORAL GABLES — N’Kosi Perry‘s first practice as a college quarterback lasted a little longer than expected.
Or, to hear Mark Richt tell it, that was what he expected.
After the Hurricanes ran a two-hour session on a 90-degree Tuesday morning, Perry was one of the last players off the practice field. Richt grabbed a ball and a center, and ran through a few extra snap exchanges with Perry at the far edge of the field.
“If we could have a ball out there a month ago, we wouldn’t be going through this,” he said. “But it’s pretty typical.”
Perry, who played in a shotgun offense the last two years at Ocala-Vanguard High, was a little rusty under center — teammate Chris Herndon said the youngster had “a few fumbles” — and he didn’t know precisely where Richt wanted his hands to take the snap. He’ll learn a lot more from Miami’s coaching staff over the next few weeks. If he learns it well enough, Richt may hand him the keys to the offense.
But that’s many long hours of instruction away.
During the first two weeks of practice, Miami will install its offense and defense and work at a “slower pace, so everybody gets it,” Richt said. For the entire offseason, he has tried to determine which of his four quarterbacks is the most worthy to succeed Brad Kaaya. He hasn’t seen nearly enough of them to make that call.
During the media viewing portion of Tuesday’s practice, redshirt junior Malik Rosier and redshirt sophomore Evan Shirreffs split first-team reps. Richt said he would “probably” stick with that rotation “for a good bit.” They were the co-No. 1s in spring, though neither distinguished themselves as a clear-cut favorite to win the starting job.
Perry, wearing No. 5, was the third quarterback up in Tuesday’s drills. Richt said Perry, who enrolled in May, split second-team reps with fellow freshman Cade Weldon, who arrived in January.
“He’s got very good passing fundamentals,” Richt said of Perry. “Which is what I thought. … Not a lot of wasted motion, got nice zip on the ball. He does understand touch. He’s a passer. He’s not just a thrower, like some guys are.
“I’d say maybe 50 percent he’s getting right now, which is probably pretty good, first day, at the pace that we’re going. That’s why you practice, study film and correct things. We’ll install at a pace that’s faster than comfortable for him, but he’ll catch up.”
Teammates will help Perry in that regard.
“He did well,” senior wide receiver Braxton Berrios said. “A few first-day mistakes as always, and that’s across the board: that’s N’Kosi, Malik, Evan, all the quarterbacks. But you can tell he’s excited. He knows what to do, it’s just the point of doing it and making the right decisions. He looked good.”
Quarterback is the major worry for this program, which expects its defense will be among the ACC’s best. The winner of the starting job also replaces the school’s all-time leading passer in Kaaya, a tough leader and accurate passer who started the last three years.
“I hope they don’t feel any more pressure than any starting quarterback around the country feels,” Berrios said. “Whoever wins the job, we’re going to believe in him and that he’ll do the best job for us. I hope they feel comfortable in that.”
CANES CAMP 2017
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Injury updates: Burns could miss opener
Video: Perry runs through first drills
Day 1 practice notes: Perry batting third
Photos, videos: Practice footage, field under construction
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Offseason features, news
A sit-down with Richt, Parts I-IV
Miami gearing up for QB battle
Perry learning, adjusting, impressing
UM’s offense will depend on Walton
Quarterman leading Miami’s defense
LBs motivated by UM’s ‘ghosts of greatness’
Richards hoping to be All-American
Berrios tired of hype
‘The Playmaker’ high on Richards
Winston: Perry’s going to be ‘really good’
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Porter’s preseason All-ACC ballot, predictions