Two goals for Mark Richt this week: narrow QB race, create a depth chart

Mike Harley (3) is one freshman who has earned playing time. (Miami Herald)

Entering the third week of camp, Miami is starting to realize who will play this fall and who won’t.

That includes its quarterbacks.

Mark Richt is likely to cut the group of four quarterbacks contending for the starting job to three — or perhaps two — before Saturday, when the Hurricanes scrimmage for the second time this fall.

Malik Rosier, who went 8-of-14 for 181 yards and three touchdowns in last Saturday’s scrimmage at Hard Rock Stadium, will almost certainly be in the mix. Evan Shirreffs, who had an efficient day (10-of-14, 132 yards, touchdown) appears likely to remain a contender. Same goes for N’Kosi Perry (6-of-15, 68 yards, interception), who apparently outperformed fellow freshman Cade Weldon (2-of-10, 40 yards, interception).

“I’ve got to narrow it down,” Richt told Hurricanes broadcaster Joe Zagacki after the scrimmage, according to a video UM posted.  “Just got too many guys taking reps with the 1s. We need continuity. I wanted to at least go one scrimmage and take a peek. We’ll see where we go from here.”

The order of quarterbacks in the scrimmage, according to the stretch lineup, was Rosier, Shirreffs, Perry and Weldon. All four, Richt said, played with the first- and second-string units. The scrimmage was closed to the public and media.

Zagacki, talking with UM broadcast cohort Don Bailey Jr. during a live CanesFest broadcast following the scrimmage, said “the older guys might have an edge by a shadow” in the quarterback competition. Rosier, Zagacki said, “sometimes is great, sometimes is perplexing, but he’s trending toward getting more consistent, which is what we need.”

He noted that Shirreffs threw a “beautiful stop-and-go to (Dionte) Mullins for a touchdown … one of the best throws I’ve seen him make since the spring.” Bailey added that Shirreffs is “more athletic than you think, I can promise you that” and is “learning and learning and learning” after playing a relatively limited amount in high school.

A major concern raised by Zagacki and Bailey regarding Perry: his lack of experience under center. Perry played in a shotgun offense the last two years at Ocala-Vanguard, throwing for 4,085 yards, 46 touchdowns and six interceptions. Bailey commented that the style “set him back” coming to UM.

“It’s been his Achilles’ heel, one of them,” Zagacki said. Perry fumbled a few exchanges on Day 1 of camp, leading Richt to work with him for several minutes after practice.

Perry, according to scrimmage video highlights released by UM, floated a pass to Lawrence Cager for a long gain while working with the first unit. Weldon threw an interception on a red-zone pass intended for Cager. Romeo Finley picked it, an apparently underthrown ball.

Mullins, by the way, was one of several “guys who flashed” in the scrimmage, according to a review from Zagacki and Bailey. The others: receiver Ahmmon Richards, linebacker Shaq Quarterman and cornerback Malek Young (whom Richt appears to be high on; he had an interception). All are sophomores.

Richards and Quarterman are locked-in as starters, while Young is likely to play a role in a rebuilding secondary and Mullins could be in line for steady work as a receiver.

Miami’s depth chart will  come into greater focus this week.

“We’ve got to get the right people in the right spots,” he said. “We’ve got to hone in on who’s going to be able to start, who’s going to be able to play. Before you know it, by the time the next scrimmage rolls around, we’ll be getting ready to break into scout teams and things of that nature.”

CANES CAMP 2017

Richt looking for QB, leadership
Stats report from the scrimmage
Video: What we learned

Progress report on Miami’s top-tier D-line

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In-depth position previews
QB | RB | WR | TE | OL
DL | LB | DB | ST

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The Guide to Watching Miami Football
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The Glossary of Canes player nicknames
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Fun facts from the 2017 media guide
Projecting Miami’s 2018 draft class
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UM picked to win the Coastal
Porter’s preseason All-ACC ballot, predictions

 

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