CORAL GABLES — Mark Richt has gone into many a season not knowing who his starting quarterback will be, and no coach likes that kind of uncertainty.
Especially when his team is on the rise, and could climb rapidly if the offense proves reliable.
Richt was asked to weigh in on the race Saturday, following Miami’s fifth practice of camp and a week before UM’s first scrimmage of camp. Richt said he’s happy with the early practice performances of the contenders: redshirt junior Malik Rosier, redshirt sophomore Evan Shirreffs and true freshman N’Kosi Perry and Cade Weldon.
In a different setting than usual — a quiet, spacious conference room at UM’s student center, near a pre-planned event where he would speak afterward — Richt paused to collect his thoughts.
“I think I’ve got guys who know what they’re doing or catching on fast,” he said. “I see plenty of arm strength, leadership, moxie, whatever you’d want a quarterback to have.”
They’re “obviously” making mistakes, Richt said, but not the ones he dislikes the most.
“The mistake of throwing it up for grabs, I’ve seen maybe once or twice, out of all the balls we’ve [thrown],” he said. “We’ve had some picks, but it hasn’t been a guy throwing a ball into harm’s way. It’s been mostly defenders making good plays or maybe getting hit as you throw, or a guy jumping a route, which happens from time to time.”
That’s another feather in the cap of defensive coordinator Manny Diaz. Richt is satisfied that, in the face of a defense expected to be among the ACC’s best, his potential starting quarterbacks have shown him a “determination to not be reckless” with the ball.
That makes him believe in his guys. But he’s not yet sure whom to trust for the Sept. 2 season-opener against Bethune-Cookman, much less the Hurricanes’ first road game (Sept. 9 at Arkansas State), or the biggest game of the regular season.
That would be Sept. 16 at Florida State, which was ranked No. 3 in the preseason coaches’ poll released Wednesday. Miami was No. 18.
Those kinds of early tests, with a blimp-sized question mark looming over the practice field, can make a coach pensive. Richt, who enters his 17th year as a head man, is no different.
“I know all four of the guys we’re giving reps to could run this system and run this team,” he said. “That’s the good news.”
“I’ve just got to figure out who. Just got to figure out who.”
CANES CAMP 2017
Porter’s video recap, live chat
Perry ‘a passer, not just a thrower’
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
10 big storylines, how to follow camp
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’
Cager angling for a comeback
Richt on swag | Says ‘The U is back’
Richt has really strong sandwich takes
Willis takes leave | Gone: Mayes | Odogwu | Haskins
Other fun stuff
CanesFest set for Aug. 12
Analyzing the 2017 schedule
The Guide to Watching Miami Football
A visual history of Miami football stadiums
Exclusive look at UM’s new alternate jerseys
UM jersey numbers have meaning
The Glossary of Canes player nicknames
Thomas produces music for DJ Khaled
Fun facts from the 2017 media guide
Projecting Miami’s 2018 draft class
Miami’s over-under: 9 wins
UM picked to win the Coastal
Porter’s preseason All-ACC ballot, predictions