University of Miami

UM quarterbacks reflect on their progress for first time this spring

Miami Hurricanes quarterback Malik Rosier talks about motivating the team

Miami Hurricanes quarterback Malik Rosier gives his insights on the UM quarterback situation Saturday, March 25, 2017.
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Miami Hurricanes quarterback Malik Rosier gives his insights on the UM quarterback situation Saturday, March 25, 2017.

The University of Miami quarterback corps is deep in numbers but shallow in experience.

The battle continues for the coveted starting spot.

Three of the five signal-callers vying to replace NFL-bound Brad Kaaya were made available to the media Saturday for the first time this spring.

“It’s fun,’’ said redshirt junior Malik Rosier, the only contender with experience, not to mention a victory as the starter at Duke in 2015. “We teach each other stuff every day.

“We’re like, ‘Hey, what did you see on this play?’ And Evan [Shirreffs] will tell me and I’ll tell Jack [Allison]. Our defense is throwing new stuff at us, so it’s something we’re trying to learn. The reason I came here, the reason I came here with Brad – I could have gone other places once I figured out Brad signed… But I came in for the competition because that’s what I love.”

Rosier continues to be the first quarterback to throw during rotations, followed by redshirt sophomore Shirreffs, redshirt freshman Jack Allison and redshirt junior Vincent Testaverde.

Miami Hurricanes quarterback Malik Rosier gives his insights on the UM quarterback situation Saturday, March 25, 2017.

Be assured that one or two of the competitors will finish spring practice as the leader or leaders, or at least a touch above the others, and a new pecking order will be established by coaches when fall practice starts in August and the five are joined by dual-threat true freshman N’Kosi Perry.

“We’re trying to make it as even as possible — especially through the installs where we haven’t necessarily done a lot of reps on any particular play,’’ quarterbacks coach Jon Richt, the son of head coach Mark Richt, said Saturday. “Not trying to judge anybody too early and get too many ideas in our head.”

Shirreffs, at 6-5 and 216 pounds substantially bulkier and stronger than he was the past two seasons, said he got into one series at the end of the 2016 opener against FAMU, and handed off to running backs he couldn’t recall.

“It’s really nice to be out there competing every single rep,’’ Shirreffs said. “I think I’m physically more ready to be on the field if asked to be out there. And just knowing the playbook, obviously. Last year it was new to everyone. And now we’re going through the installs for the fourth or fifth time and getting everything down.”

Miami Hurricanes quarterback Evan Shirreffs talks about being able to compete for a starting job after practice on Saturday, March 25, 2017.

Allison, now with 200 pounds on his 6-5 frame, said he’s also gotten stronger.

“We’re all doing pretty well,” Allison said. “Last year, I took it serious, too. Now it’s just knowing it could be you, so we’re all working hard to make sure we do the right thing.”

Rosier said he feels he was started first in the rotation by virtue of his age and experience.

“I mean, it’s something just with trust,’’ Rosier said. “It’s also me just being older than everyone else. They gave me that leeway: ‘Go with [top running back] Mark [Walton]. Go with the 1s.’ And Evan has been there too a lot. Evan’s throwing to Ahmmon [Richards], too.

“It’s just a quick rotation that we’re in right now. But I think they kind of trust me because I did win the [backup] spot last year.’’

Rosier was asked if he expects to be the starter.

“Honestly, I have no idea. I want to be, but Evan’s good. Jack’s good. Vince is good. [And] Cade [Weldon]. All the quarterbacks are good.

“If you take off one day and you have a bad day, you might go from first to second, from first to third, from first to last. If you don’t bring your ‘A’ game, you’ll definitely fall back.”

Rosier, like the others, including Jon Richt, said “consistency’’ would be key in determining the next quarterback.

As for true freshman Cade Weldon, unavailable to reporters because of his youth, Rosier said he was coming along.

“He’s good,’’ Rosier said. “I mean, he gets so frustrated. He was like me in the spring [last year]. Struggling, just couldn’t get it. The defense is moving so fast. The offense, you’re trying to learn it [and] it’s so fast.

“Like I told him, ‘Take it one play at a time. If you don’t know, back up, wait a second. If they yell and scream, that’s fine. That’s good. But as long as you know what you’re doing before every snap, that’s the biggest thing... Weldon’s coming along very well.”

Vincent Testaverde, also competing for the starting spot, did not address the media Saturday.

Miami quarterbacks coach Jon Richt expounds on how the quarterbacks are doing in the race to replace NFL-bound Brad Kaaya Saturday, March 25, 2017

▪ The UM running back position is “dangerously thin,’’ according to Mark Richt, who said he wouldn’t comment on the quarterbacks. The media is still waiting to talk to Walton, about whom Richt gushed. “If one guy got hurt we’d really be in trouble at this moment,’’ Richt said. “We’re still trying to possibly get some more help at that position before camp starts.”