The Miami walk-on quarterback who wears No. 14 on his orange jersey is not some anonymous teenager taking reps every now and then.
Neither is the young man competing with him to back up one of the nation’s top signal-callers.
With the Hurricanes’ opener against FAMU a week from Saturday, Vincent Testaverde – the son of 1986 UM Heisman Trophy winner Vinny Testaverde – is vying to be the No. 2 man behind standout Brad Kaaya.
And so is Malik Rosier – the scholarship quarterback who led UM to the miracle win at Duke last season.
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“I was of course nervous at first,’’ Testaverde said Tuesday after practice, then added that when he was told late last week he “was going to be competing for the No. 2 spot, it definitely boosted my confidence a little bit because I’ve been working hard.’’
“It’s special,’’ Vincent said. “He knows it’s my favorite number, too. I’m just trying to keep everything up and hopefully get to where he got one day.’’
Young Testaverde has been throwing passes to another son of a Hurricanes legend. Freshman tight end Michael Irvin II, whose dad is Pro Football Hall of Fame receiver Michael Irvin, has impressed his teammates with soft hands and a competitive spirit.
“Yeah, we’re both in with the [second-team] group,’’ Testaverde said, “so I’ve thrown quite a few passes to him, building a little relationship. It’s something special. It’s pretty cool.’’
Many were surprised when the redshirt sophomore Testaverde, a transfer from Texas Tech, was named by coach Mark Richt as one of the two contenders. He almost always lined up behind fellow redshirt sophomore Rosier and redshirt freshman Evan Shirreffs during the 15 minutes of daily media viewing the past few weeks of camp.
“He just tells me, ‘Be confident,’’’ Testaverde said his father, a member of the College Football Hall of Fame, told him before he was chosen as a finalist for the backup job. ‘“Don’t be discouraged if you don’t get the spot you want. Just keep pushing away. Do what the coaches ask.’’’
The younger Testaverde completed 15 of 26 passes for 116 yards and an interception during a 34-13 loss in 2014 to Texas in his only game for the Red Raiders. At 6-1 and 200 pounds not nearly as large as his 6-5 father, Vincent didn’t play football until his junior season at Tampa Jesuit.
“You’re always a little nervous,’’ Vinny Testaverde told the Miami Herald after watching his son compete in a scrimmage this past spring. “But always excited, too.’’
Mark Richt said that last week’s second scrimmage would determine the two finalists, but told reporters Tuesday, “If somebody spits the bit or is not a guy who we can trust, we may roll somebody else into that spot.’’
Shirreffs could have been hindered by an injury on his throwing hand. He and true freshman Jack Allison were wearing scout team jerseys on Tuesday.
Rosier said after practice that he wouldn’t say he expected to be named one of the two backup finalists, but that he would have been disappointed had he not been. Last year’s outstanding performance against Duke (20 for 29 for 272 yards, two touchdowns and one pick), when Kaaya was out with a concussion, helped him stay in the race.
“That’s one thing that me and Coach Mark Richt talked about,’’ Rosier said. “He said, ‘One reason we all selected you is I have experience with Duke. I know how to win. I won it away vs. a Top-25 ranked team… And that’s something he’s looking for, a quarterback that doesn’t fold under pressure.’’
▪ Gerald Willis, a 6-4, 285-pound redshirt sophomore defensive tackle who sat out last season after transferring from Florida following various altercations and disciplinary problems, has been suspended for the opener, a source confirmed to the Herald. There was no reason given for the suspension. Willis, a backup who had five tackles and two sacks in last week’s scrimmage, wore a scout team jersey Tuesday.