Two years ago, Miami quarterback Malik Rosier’s close friend Matthew Jordan — the backup quarterback for Georgia Tech — showed him photos of former Yellow Jackets signal caller Justin Thomas after the Canes won 38-21 and knocked Thomas out of the game in the first quarter.
So, when the fleet-footed Rosier was asked Wednesday if he thinks he’d have fun running Georgia Tech’s run-oriented, triple-option offense, he didn’t flinch.
“Nah, not really,’’ Rosier said.
“He showed me pictures of [Thomas’] body and he was just banged up, bruises everywhere,’’ said Rosier, whose No. 11 Hurricanes (4-0, 2-0 Atlantic Coast Conference) will face Georgia Tech (3-1, 2-0) at 3:30 p.m. Saturday (ABC) at Hard Rock Stadium. “The teams we’ve played, they’ve left a couple of marks on me, but that offense is brutal on a quarterback’s body.”
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UM’s defense, which scored back-to-back touchdowns by linebacker Shaquille Quarterman and defensive end Joseph Jackson in last year’s 35-21 Miami victory in Atlanta, just hopes it can pull off another dominating performance to keep the Hurricanes in the hunt for the Coastal Division crown.
Georgia Tech is led by 5-10, 180-pound junior quarterback TaQuon Marshall, whose 856 yards of total offense (523 rushing, 333 passing) and 13 touchdowns responsible for (nine rushing and four passing) in four games puts him among the top 10 nationally in five statistical categories. He leads the nation in scoring (13.5 points a game) and leads the ACC in rushing with his 130.8 yards a game.
UM defensive tackle Kendrick Norton on Wednesday called Marshall a “shifty guy.’’
“He might be a little bit lighter,’’ Norton said, “but he’s a smaller guy that can run, so we’ve got to contain him. You’ve got to be a certain type of athlete to play quarterback there.”
The Yellow Jackets are second in the nation in rushing offense with 396 ground yards a game, and the Canes defenders know to keep their eyes on their assignments —or else that deceivingly basic offense will pull off a huge run or long pass. Though the Jackets have only attempted 34 passes this season, they’ve completed 19 and are fifth nationally in passing efficiency, with no interceptions.
“It comes back to what every game does – explosive plays, which is really their greatest threat,’’ Miami defensive coordinator Manny Diaz said. “Everyone thinks about the run game. They’ve only thrown it  times in four games, but when they do, they get yards. They’ve got guys down the field that can go get it. The quarterback throws it down the field better than you wish he did.
“Tackling is super important. Our secondary was outstanding tackling in that game a year ago, and will have to be again. There’s very little margin for error.’’
With two starting defensive backs likely out for this game (safety Sheldrick Redwine with an undisclosed injury and cornerback Dee Delaney with a right knee injury), UM will have to compensate with less experienced backups.
“They do a lot of things with the quarterback to try to make you get your eyes off your key,’’ starting safety Jaquan Johnson said. “But just focus on your man. You have to have great eye discipline.... For the most part you’re not going to really be prepared for it until you actually play in it.”
Said Jackson, who scored against the Yellow Jackets last season on an 18-yard fumble recovery in the second quarter: “It’s pretty tough to prepare for a team like that. You do as much as you can in practice, but it’s going to be way faster in the game, so you just gotta be able to hopefully adjust...while it’s happening, and maybe you’ll get accustomed to it.”
In that 2015 game of which Rosier spoke, his buddy Jordan replaced Thomas and completed 4 of 8 passes for 59 yards and an interception, and ran for 60 yards and a touchdown. As of Wednesday, Rosier said he hadn’t spoken to him yet this week.
“We usually just tell each other good luck before every game,’’ Rosier said. “I know they’re preparing for us and we’re preparing for them. Probably on like Thursday or Friday I’ll shoot him a text and wish him the best.”