Hurricanes backup quarterback Malik Rosier said he and starter Brad Kaaya — his roommate this year — made an unusual request to University of Miami football coach Al Golden during spring practice.
“Me and Brad tried to pitch to Coach Golden about letting us get hit in the spring game,’’ Rosier said with a could-have-predicted-the-outcome grin. “Coach Golden wasn’t having any of that.’’
Rosier’s time will come soon enough — at least the two-sport redshirt freshman hopes as much.
There will be no quarterback controversy when fall camp opens Thursday morning for the Miami Hurricanes. But there most certainly will be a backup who firmly believes he will get playing time — and an entrenched starter who shares the same opinion.
“That would be awesome,’’ said ACC Rookie of the Year Kaaya, a sophomore who rents his off-campus house with Rosier and receiver Braxton Berrios, adding that it’s no big deal the starter and No. 2 quarterback live together.
“Most quarterbacks in the same grade don’t come in together,’’ Kaaya said. “Me and Malik did last year. Just because he plays the same position doesn’t mean he can’t still be one of my best buddies here.
“Everyone wants to see Malik in the game. I don’t want to give too much away, just because we have a few packages for him.
“He’s a very good athlete, and obviously he can do things with his feet.’’
Rosier, also a Hurricanes outfielder who hit .294 in a limited role this past season, has not taken a snap in college and has not gotten hit since December of 2013. But with his fastest 40-yard dash this summer at 4.59 seconds, and with the 6-1 backup bulking up from last year’s 193 pounds to “between 215 and 218’’ to help endure the physical pounding, Rosier said he’s “very excited’’ to begin practice.
“That’s the reason I came down here,’’ he said. “Last year it sucked being redshirted because I’m not used to never playing. But I needed to gain weight, establish my leadership this summer and get into the playbook even more.’’
Kaaya and Rosier are two of five scholarship quarterbacks on the roster. The others: junior Gray Crow, sophomore transfer Vincent Testaverde, the son of UM great and 1986 Heisman Trophy winner Vinny Testaverde; and 6-5, 195-pound incoming freshman Evan Shirreffs of Jefferson, Ga.
Rosier, 19, is from Mobile, where he grew up a Hurricanes fan and starred as a quarterback (passing for 1,852 yards and 16 touchdowns his senior season in a zone-read spread offense) and as a catcher and then Class 5A All-State outfielder in baseball for Faith Academy.
He attends UM on a football scholarship, but equally loves baseball, and isn’t ready to choose.
“I’m going to try to do both as long as I can,” he said. “Of course football is paying the bills …’’
Rosier had a strong spring, at one point filling in — and excelling — for part of a week when Kaaya had the flu. He completed 10 of 18 passes for 101 yards and a touchdown to Berrios in the first half of the spring game, but also threw an interception in the second half. His 82-yard touchdown drive included seven consecutive completions.
“We need to have packages for Malik because he brings a different element to the game,’’ offensive coordinator James Coley told the Miami Herald during a phone interview Friday, describing Rosier as “explosive.
“Not only can he throw it, but he can run, too.
“It’s true that he’s only one play away from being the starter, so he has to prepare that way. I challenge him all the time — ‘Hey, be your own superhero.’ ”
Still, staying in Coral Gables in June while his baseball program earned a trip to the College World Series for the first time since 2008 was difficult.
Rosier recalled sitting in his apartment with Kaaya, Berrios, tight end David Njoku and “Brad’s boy from home, Sal,” watching his team defeat Arkansas in Omaha, Nebraska.
“I was happy for us, but also kind of sad because you never know if we’re going to make it back to Omaha,” said Rosier, whose highlight in his 14-game stint was a three-run home run against Rutgers. “But I had to be back here for not only workouts, but to establish my leadership and get more into the playbook.
“Honestly, I don’t know when they’re going to throw me in. There are certain plays I run, but Coach Coley is like, ‘I don’t just want you to get good at those plays. I want you to get good at everything.’
“God forbid something happens to Brad. He doesn’t want me to be shell-shocked.”
Rosier, an international finance and marketing major, already decided with his roomies that on Thursday nights they’ll “sit down and watch extra film.”
Like Kaaya, Rosier thinks it’s only natural that the two top quarterbacks live together.
“We were like, ‘We spend so much time together, why not be roommates?’ ’’ Rosier said. “It makes sense. We’re all really cool with each other.
“This should be a really good year.”