Malik Rosier is 10-0 as the University of Miami starting quarterback.
He can run, he can pass and he can even play baseball — if he weren’t so darn busy winning football games.
Rosier, a 6-1, 216-pound redshirt junior from Mobile, Alabama, will face the Virginia Cavaliers (6-4, 3-3 Atlantic Coast Conference) at noon Saturday when the No. 2 Hurricanes (9-0, 6-0 and No. 2 in the College Football Playoff rankings) play in their final home game of 2017.
Of more than 100 quarterbacks ranked by the NCAA, Rosier is 10th nationally in passing yards per completion (14.2 yards), 15th in total offense (305.4), 20th in passing yards per game (267.8) and 34th in passing efficiency (fourth in the ACC) with 20 touchdowns and seven interceptions.
He has thrown for 2,410 yards, and run for 339 yards and another four touchdowns.
So, Malik, considering you’ve never lost a game as a starter and put up strong numbers, do you feel maybe you’ve been underrated and not gotten enough accolades?
“It’s great to have, but that’s not my main goal,” he said Wednesday night during a teleconference. “My main goal is to come out every day and win. If I get an accolade then I get it.
“That’s one thing Ed Reed talked about,” Rosier said of the former UM and NFL safety great who spent time with the team last week before the Notre Dame game. “He was like, ‘I wouldn’t have got what I got without the teammates around me.’
“It’s not about me being as good as I am. It’s about me making the people around me even better. If I win something that’s cool and that’s fine. But at the end of the day football is one of the greatest team sports that we could play. I’m just having fun out there with the guys and I’m not worrying about individual goals now.”
UM coach Mark Richt has said more than once that he didn’t think Rosier would ever play for him because he wasn’t disciplined enough and not following the coach’s guidance.
“I really believed that,” Richt said after UM’s 41-8 trouncing of Notre Dame. “The way he was going, he wasn’t going to play for me, but he did what he had to do. I’m proud of him and he did some things tonight that only a veteran quarterback can do.”
Rosier, whose first victory as a starter was in October 2015 at Duke when he filled in for the ailing Brad Kaaya (concussion), indicated that the biggest difference in UM being able to dominate teams is the resurgence of the run game. Richt, Rosier said, “is really big on physical dominance,” and when the Canes barely got past a down North Carolina program 24-19, he said they “weren’t that physical.”
“He was pissed off all week going into Virginia Tech,” Rosier said of Richt. “And he told all the linemen, if you guys aren’t physical up front we won’t win this game. That’s been the biggest difference. That’s the reason why we’re not overlooking teams anymore. Especially with our receivers, too. They’re bringing more of a physical presence in the run game.
“You’ll see Ahmmon Richards and Lawrence Cager playing the backside receiver route, blocking safeties three, four yards down field. We’re playing more physical as an offense and that’s the reason the offense has been changing so much in a better direction.”
Added Rosier: “One of the biggest ways you can demoralize a team is by running the ball.’’
How much fun is it to run and score?
“Running is a lot of fun,” Rosier said. “I know the offensive line loves it because there were multiple times, especially last year, that sometimes they would outnumber us in the box and it was just because Brad really wasn’t much of a dual threat quarterback. But now with me having the ability to run, even if they do load the box, we know that one of those defensive ends or linebackers have to account for me running the ball. So, it just takes a guy out of the box and it helps the offensive line, it helps the whole way the game flows.
“If it’s third-and-1 or 2, we have multiple plays built in behind the QB draw. It opens up a different arsenal for our offense and makes the defense think about different coverages they can and can’t run vs. us.”
Rosier came to UM in 2014 as a dual-sport athlete in football and baseball, with his scholarship for football.
He said he was determined to make both work, and even boomed a home run one game in 2015. But he finally realized in December 2015 that he’d have to drop baseball to focus on football, as Richt, a quarterback guru, had just been hired to replace former UM coach Al Golden.
“I do miss baseball,” Rosier said Wednesday. “Baseball was something I always loved as a little kid, something that when I have kids I plan on getting my son or daughter into softball or baseball.
“But right now my focus is on football. These guys and this university and the fan base deserve my utmost attention to football right now. As much as I love baseball, that’s not really on my mind as much.”