UM

Wednesday’s Miami Hurricanes scrimmage likely will determine two QB finalists

 

sdegnan@MiamiHerald.com

The race for a starting University of Miami quarterback is about to be streamlined — at least officially.

The first of two closed fall scrimmages is Wednesday, and coaches will evaluate the film, confer for however long it takes, then likely put out a depth chart that indicates the top two contenders.

After one week of practices that have been open to the media, it’s pretty clear who those finalists will be.

It’s just not clear who will win the starting job for the Sept. 1 opener at Louisville.

The four technically in the running are graduate transfer Jake Heaps, redshirt freshman Kevin Olsen and true freshmen Brad Kaaya and Malik Rosier.

The two expected to be chosen as finalists: Heaps and Kaaya, based on their performances and first-team participation at camp.

Fifth-year senior Ryan Williams, who would have been the starter, is still rehabilitating from reconstructive knee surgery in April and is expected to join the mix when he returns during the season.

UM coach Al Golden said Wednesday’s scrimmage will be a controlled one in which the first-team offense lines up against the first-team defense.

Coaches will “spot the ball in all the areas of the field that we’re working right now” to see how players respond.

The second scrimmage Monday will be more like a real game.

Golden said he never expected the quarterback battle to be so close.

“Man, it’s tight. It’s tight,” he said Monday. “It’s just unbelievable when you think about it. Couple weeks ago, it was three guys who we hadn’t seen. They squeezed it down pretty good.

“It’s a heck of a battle, and I’m excited by their work ethic, their commitment to this team, how much they’re learning. Clearly, you guys know, there’s execution going on. The balls aren’t on the ground a lot. So that’s good.

“We’ll see how it plays out. [I] thought it was going to be a little easier to narrow it down to two by Thursday, but it’s going to be tricky. We’ll just play it by ear … and see what happens.”

Golden was asked if Kaaya gave them any reason to believe he wouldn’t be able to handle opening the season at Louisville, should he win the job.

“Zero. Zero percent,” Golden said. “Poise, maturity, confidence, self-assured. And, you know, a guy that turned a program around in his league and won a whole bunch in a row.

“Good leader right now, finding the reads he needs to find. Doing what he needs to do. Good start for him. We’ll get the bullets flying on Wednesday. It’s going to be a great challenge for all our quarterbacks.”

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