University of Miami football coach Mark Richt’s spin through the ESPN Car Wash on Tuesday began with a visit to “SportsCenter” at the network’s headquarters in Bristol, Connecticut.
Among the topics he covered: the quarterback situation, expectations, bringing back the swagger and back flips.
Richt was asked, naturally, about the quarterback situation, and what “the deciding factor’’ will be in making his decision among the four contenders: Redshirt junior Malik Rosier, redshirt sophomore Evan Shirreffs and true freshmen Cade Weldon and N’Kosi Perry.
“Who’s going to be your starting quarterback?’’ the coach was asked.
“I wish I knew the answer, because I’d really like to know,’’ he said. “That way you give whoever the guy is the most amount of reps and the most experience…
“You’re asking me, ‘Who do you like?’ I don’t know. I finally just resigned myself. We have to practice. We have to see for ourselves. We’ll put them in at least two scrimmage situations and just see who is most ready in my opinion and my son Jon’s opinion, who is coaching quarterbacks with me.”
Richt, on how this summer, heading into his second season, is different from last summer:
▪ “The players would tell you, 80 percent of them already know what’s up. They’ve been through a spring, and then by the time summer has rolled along we’ve installed our offense and defense for another time throughout the summer. There are some guys that came in summer session I, summer session II, so they’re just learning. But for the most part they understand us as coaches. We had no attrition within the coaching staff. Every player knows his coach, what he likes, what he wants. They understand our strength coach, Gus Felder, and his staff and what they want.
“The guys, they really do want to be great. They didn’t come here to be good. They’re tired of getting beat in certain moments, and so I think we’re in a good place right now.’’
So good, perhaps, that Richt was bold enough to end his SportsCenter interview with, “’The U’ is back.’’
UM finished 9-4 last season with five consecutive wins, including its first bowl victory in 10 years.
On how to bring back the swagger at Miami, which he previously said would be by “winning:’’
▪ “We just had our Paradise Camp, which was huge. At the end of the camp we had Ed Reed and Michael Irvin address our camp. We had Jonathan Vilma, Jonathan Beason, we had D.J. [Williams], we had Jeremy Shockey, we had Brett Romberg, who’s a Rimington Award winner; We had Devin Hester, we had Vince Wilfork. I mean, we had at least 10 first-rounders and probably four to five future [Pro Football] Hall of Famers. Michael Irvin already is one. They came and helped coach our camp.
They did it on their own dime. They did it because they love the U.
“Oh, my gosh. It was crazy. I mean even when we introduced those guys, those guest coaches in front of our camp, it was like a Super Bowl introduction. They were high-fiving each other, getting excited. Then I introduced our current coaches, and they were kind of in awe of the whole thing. We had our current players coaching there as well. It was a great weekend.”
Richt began his SportsCenter segment by dissecting his anatomy of sandwich-eating, which became a popular shtick at the Atlantic Coast Conference Football Kickoff recently in Charlotte, North Carolina.
Before he explained the 10-bite method, he explored a crusty subject.
“I’m not an advocate of cutting the crust off,’’ Richt said. “Don’t cut the crust off. If you have to, you have to. What really bothers me is the little [Uncrustables], you know, you ever seen those things, where there’s no crust? They kind of pinch them to seal them around.
“I got kids that will still peel that off. I’m like, ‘That’s not crust.’ But that’s a whole ’nother subject.”
Later in the day, Richt visited ESPN’s “First Take” and was asked the pros and cons of having a family on his staff.
▪ “It has been awesome. My son Jon is coaching quarterbacks with me. He’s a very competent guy. He is a very good recruiter, and we talk the same language, because you don’t want confusion in the quarterback room. He’s got a beautiful wife Anna and he happens to have our only grandchild, our granddaughter Jadyn, which is a blessing.
“When I got there there was a little note on my head coach’s door that said, ‘This meeting may be interrupted for a player.’ Then I added, ‘Katharyn,’ who is my wife, and ‘Jadyn,’ who is my granddaughter.
“Just having them there makes all the difference in the world.
There are nepotism laws all over the place and going in on the front end we got it worked out where he’s not really directly under me, he’s under Thomas Brown, our offensive coordinator. We got it all worked out, but it’s been awesome.
“Now, he was a quarterback,’’ added Richt. “Did I want him to play for me? No. It’s too much pressure. A different pressure on him. I didn’t want my wife to tell me who to play at quarterback.”
As for those back flips, which Richt does every year to impress the recruits, he explained their origin. “I started out in Boca Raton at the inlet bridge. We would jump off the inlet bridge, but this one surfer guy was doing the back flip and he got more attention than me. So I had to humble myself and said, ‘Can you show me how to do this back flip?’ And by the grace of God I landed on my feet.’’