2018 Miami Hurricanes Camp Preview: Anybody ready to push Malik Rosier for starting quarterback job?

The Hurricanes are back on Greentree on Saturday for the start of camp. This week, we will take a look at the biggest questions surrounding the Hurricanes entering the first day of practice. Today we begin our series with this question: Are any of the underclassman quarterbacks ready to push Malik Rosier for the starting job?

N’Kosi Perry (left) is entering his redshirt freshman season. (Matt Porter/The Palm Beach Post)

The Hurricanes’ starting quarterback for the season opener looks to be set — Malik Rosier. But it’s what’s behind him on the quarterback depth chart that has created excitement surrounding the position entering fall camp.

While Rosier will very likely be the starter when Miami opens the season against LSU on Sept. 2 in Arlington, Texas, the added depth at the position is the only reason there’s even a slight sense of uncertainty. The quarterbacks behind Rosier are redshirt freshmen N’Kosi Perry and Cade Weldon, and true freshman Jarren Williams. Continue reading “2018 Miami Hurricanes Camp Preview: Anybody ready to push Malik Rosier for starting quarterback job?”

Malik Rosier isn’t ready to give up his job and has fought through shoulder pain to prove it

Malik Rosier, who has won 11 of 13 career starts as Miami’s quarterback, leads the Hurricanes against Wisconsin in the Orange Bowl Saturday night. Good stuff, right?

Malik Rosier of the Miami Hurricanes rushes against the Pittsburgh Panthers on November 24, 2017 at Heinz Field in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Justin K. Aller/Getty Images)

Not good enough for many fans who were over the moon about Miami’s 10-0 start and are now seeking someone to blame for those consecutive losses to Pittsburgh and Clemson to end the regular season.

Let’s begin by blaming Clemson for being the No. 1 team in the nation and the defending national champion. Proven power like that has a tendency to rend the sturdiest game plan.

The Pittsburgh clunker is harder to swallow, a 24-14 road loss during which Rosier was briefly benched in favor of backup Evan Shirreffs. That day would have been N’Kosi Perry’s time to shine if he weren’t in the final stages of a true freshman season that has been all about learning and redshirting. Next summer, coach Mark Richt will have his choice of Perry or new signee Jarren Williams or, what, more of Malik?

My advice is don’t count Rosier out so quickly. He’ll fight like a demon to keep his job in 2018, even though his comments on the matter during a Thursday Orange Bowl media session were borderline angelic.

“If N’Kosi or Jarren come in and beat me, then my cap’s off to them,” Rosier said. “I’ll support them the whole way. I’ll help them in any way I can…You can ask N’Kosi himself. I want him to be as great as he can be because if there’s no competition I won’t get any better. The only way I can grow is if someone pushes me to be better.”

That’s the voice of a leader, protecting against division within the team and projecting a little, too. If you want to be starter for Miami at any position, prove that there’s no better option. If you want to suit up for Miami, period, prove that you belong.

Expect Rosier to do just that on Saturday night, taking on the No. 6 Badgers with an eye toward firming up his relationship with Richt. The coach chose him last summer based on the fullest grasp of Miami’s offense system. Now, with a bruised throwing shoulder refreshed by three weeks free of continued pounding, it’s time for Rosier to demonstrate his full grasp on Miami’s future, too.

Don’t bet against it. This guy has been hurting since the North Carolina game on Oct. 28, when he briefly left a tense 24-19 road victory so that the possibility of a broken collarbone or some other disaster could be ruled out.

“They said ‘If you can throw, throw, and if you can’t, just let us know,’ ” said Rosier, who popped a couple of Aleve and returned to complete a career-best passing day of 356 yards.

He’s been letting the Miami training staff know pretty much every day since with a steady discipline of early-morning treatments on his sore shoulder, sometimes calling him out of bed at 5:20 a.m., followed by class and practice and often two more hours of treatment in the evening.

Richt surely couldn’t spare Rosier with games against Virginia Tech and Notre Dame coming on consecutive weeks in November. Already the Hurricanes had lost leading rusher Mark Walton to season-ending injury and eventually they would lose prime receiving targets Ahmmon Richards and Chris Herndon, too.

“Everyone says that the body follows what your mind says,” Rosier said. “It was one of those things where I was going to have to suck it up and play or I was going to just have to give the job up. I’m not ready to give the job up.

“That Sunday and Tuesday practice before the Virginia Tech game I could barely pick up a ball, my shoulder was so sore and, like, damaged.”

Makes sense, then, that Rosier’s passing night against the Hokies was nothing special, with three balls caught by Virginia Tech defenders and only 10 by his teammates. The answers came in different ways, however, with the quarterback rushing for 84 yards and one touchdown in Miami’s 28-10 victory. Matter of fact, Rosier caught a gadget pass from Braxton Berrios for 17 yards, too.

This guy’s not backing off. Wisconsin’s players certainly expect a strong performance from him. Badgers linebacker T.J. Edwards compares Rosier to Ohio State’s J.T. Barrett, the only quarterback to beat Wisconsin this year, with the distinction that Rosier is “a little more dynamic” as a running threat.

Encouraging, but Rosier is more excited about the zip he says has returned to his passing since the hard contact of the regular season ended.

“You can tell (in Orange Bowl practices) that my arm is feeling better,” Rosier said. “Some of the throws that I was underthrowing, now I’m hitting the guys in stride.”

So says the man with 25 touchdown passes and just 11 interceptions this season. Good stuff, but there’s always the notion that Perry’s arm, described by Berrios as “by far the strongest on the team,” would be greater.

Can’t kill all that with a win over Wisconsin, but it would keep the talk going and, fair or not, that’s probably the best Rosier can ever hope for around here.

Miami Hurricanes’ Mark Richt ‘dang sure’ going to test N’Kosi Perry

N'Kosi Perry (247)
N’Kosi Perry (247)

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N’Kosi Perry, take your best shot.

University of Miami coach Mark Richt, speaking on Miami’s WQAM-560AM on Monday, confirmed that Perry, an incoming freshman from Ocala-Vanguard, will be given an opportunity to win a starting quarterback job that no one else has been able to nail down.

“I’m not saying N’Kosi’s going to be the guy but we’re dang sure going to find out what he can do,” Richt said.

Richt reiterated following the final scrimmage of the spring on Saturday, at Boca Raton High, that Malik Rosier and Evan Shirreffs are co-No. 1s in the race to succeed Brad Kaaya and that everybody else is vying to be No. 3.

Richt wouldn’t rule out a summer jump by Cade Weldon, Vincent Testaverde or Jack Allison, but the favorites for now are Rosier, Shirreffs and Perry, a dual threat as a runner and passer.

“I think the good news is we’ve got guys that know what they’re doing and they can function in this system and if they just clean up a few things with the accuracy here and there and a decision here and there, I think we’ll be fine,” Richt said.

Should Perry win the job, it won’t be just his unique skillset that affects Richt’s play-calling.

“You’ve got to do what he can do,” Richt said. “If you’ve got a younger guy, maybe you don’t throw the whole playbook at him.”

Among other noteworthy items:

  • Richt said sophomore Travis Homer “is doing a nice job” and is the backup running back to Mark Walton. Richt is pleased with Homer’s pass protection and improved ball security.
  • Richt singled out Santaluces’ Darrell Langham, who had eight catches for 57 yards and two TDs in the scrimmage. Langham was honored as UM’s most improved receiver in the spring. “He’s starting to play big,” Richt said of Langham, who’s listed at 6-foot-4, 220. “He’s starting to reach out and snatch balls.”
  • Richt said highly touted recruit Navaughn Donaldson, an offensive tackle from Miami-Central, has dropped more than 25 pounds since reporting. “He’s a massive guy,” Richt said. “He showed up at 380, but he’s worked. He’s in the 354 range or something like that.” Richt said coaches had Donaldson work with first-teamers who can help correct mistakes. “He’s done a nice job,” Richt said.
  •  DB Malek Young, who had two interceptions Saturday, has “proven he can play,” Richt said. “He’s proven he can be counted on. Everybody can see the picks. They can see the interceptions, but is he forcing the run properly? Can he make tackles? … I think he’s had a super, solid spring.”