If just for one night, Miami quarterback Malik Rosier had the thrill of a lifetime helping lead the Hurricanes to victory Oct. 31 against Duke in the controversial game that ended with UM’s eight-lateral kickoff return for a touchdown as time expired.
But Rosier would like more thrills in the coming years, so to that end, the dual-sport Canes athlete said after bowl practice Saturday that he will not play baseball this season to stay with football, improve his game and get to know new coach Mark Richt.
Richt is expected to call the offensive plays next season and work with the quarterbacks.
Though a two-sport athlete, Rosier attends UM on a football scholarship. Next year, besides Kaaya, he’ll be competing against redshirt sophomore Vincent Testaverde, redshirt freshman Evan Shirreffs and incoming four-star freshman Jack Allison.
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“I haven’t talked to Coach Richt,’’ said Rosier, who will be a third-year sophomore next football season and would have been a sophomore outfielder in baseball this season. “I talked to [baseball] coach [Jim] Morris and he’s understanding.’’
Rosier played in seven games this season as Brad Kaaya’s backup, completing 29 of 57 passes for two touchdowns, with three interceptions. But the high point of his season – that might be an understatement – was his lone start at Duke, when Kaaya had a concussion and couldn’t play.
In that 30-27 win, Rosier completed 20 of 29 passes for 272 passes and two touchdowns, with one interception.
Rosier played in 14 games last season in baseball. He batted .294 with three runs scored and three RBI. He hit his first career home run against Rutgers, a solo shot on Feb. 15.
Rosier said that because it’s Richt’s first season, and “especially if we get a new quarterbacks coach, I want to be here to show him what I have to offer. So for me, I think this year I’m going to take off.
“Maybe next year after I have a full year with the new offense – if it changes – then I’ll be able to go back to baseball.
“I’m going to stick just with football. In case we get a new offensive coordinator and the offense changes, I want to be here to dedicate myself to football and make sure I understand the offense. …I’m going to definitely talk to [Richt] after the bowl game and see what he has planned.’’
What are Rosier’s impressions of Richt?
“He’s a very straightforward guy and I really like that,’’ said Rosier, from Mobile, Alabama. “He’s Southern. I can feel that Southern hospitality. I remember just hearing him talk. I [wouldn’t] say it was a warm feeling, but very comforting, like the voice was very soothing.
“One thing he says [is] he doesn’t yell. He said he’s not a very loud guy, he’s not a very aggressive guy. But he is very demanding and he [is respectful], so that’s huge to me.”
Rosier said his fellow baseball players have been very understanding.
“I’ve talked to most of the guys over there,’’ Rosier said. “I’ve talked to the coaches. They’re rooting for me, they said. ‘Listen, we understand. We wish you the best.’ [They said] if I ever want to come back and play and hit, that I’m very welcome to.”
Rosier said he’ll be a big baseball fan this season.
“I’ll definitely go to most of their games,’’ he said. “I’ll probably be up top doing homework while I’m watching them play.”
▪ Former UM running backs coach Don Soldinger watched practice Saturday and voiced his approval of the Richt hiring.
“Great hire,’’ said Soldinger, a Butch Davis supporter. “How can you be upset? The guy has got to be in the top-10, the upper-echelon of college coaches. I mean, he’s done it wherever he has been. He’s been around great programs and he’s from the U.
“Even though he hasn’t been involved that much because he’s been at other places, it’s still home when you come back. I thought Butch would have been good, too. But it’s like, hey, one or the other. He’ll do a great job.”
▪ Interim coach Larry Scott said Richt showed up with recruits during practice…Safety Jamal Carter wore a red, no-contact jersey Saturday.