University of Miami quarterback Malik Rosier knows he’s not perfect.
Be assured that he’s working on it.
And be assured that Rosier took a deep, cleansing breath when he learned on July 18 that coach Mark Richt made it official in every way except, perhaps, with a printed depth chart, that the fifth-year senior would be the starting quarterback in 2018 — or at least for the Sept. 2 opener against LSU.
Rosier broke into a smile and took a few seconds to quietly laugh Monday — the first time he addressed the media since fall camp began Saturday — when he was asked how he felt that day in July.
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“I think it was kind of a sigh of relief,” he said.
Rosier, however, is not letting up. Anything but. After throwing 10 of his 14 interceptions during the last six weeks of UM’s 2017 campaign, he knew he’d have to improve his accuracy to have a shot at leading the Canes again. He threw for 3,120 yards and 26 touchdowns last season and ran for another 468 yards and five scores.
But those picks...
He said Monday that one of his shortcomings last season was not grasping the total on-field picture.
“Sometimes I would kind of get funneled into seeing one side of the field,’’ Rosier said, “and now I’m seeing the whole field. It’s a lot better.
“The receivers are making plays for me all over the field and I told them guys, ‘I’m going to protect you. You’ve just got to catch the ball.’’’
Those receivers are as plentiful and talented as they’ve been in many years, Rosier confirmed.
“You don’t have guys tiring out,’’ he said. “You go from Ahmmon [Richards] to Darrell [Langham] to Evidence [Njoku] to [Dee] Wiggins at X; You’ve got got [Lawrence] Cager, [Mark] Pope, [Brian] Hightower at Z; Jeff [Thomas], [Mike] Harley and Quez [Ezzard] at Y.
“We’ve got guys that can move, we’ve got guys that can play, so, I think the best thing here now [is] we’ve got fresh guys coming in every play. Now we don’t have to worry about getting someone hurt or someone being fatigued as much.”
The two specifics, according to Rosier, that Richt and personal quarterbacks coach David Morris have stressed repeatedly regarding how to improve his accuracy:
▪ Shortening his throwing motion
▪ Reducing his stride
“Sometimes I overstride, which gets my body wide, gets my arm down and [Morris] said, I’m starting to overthrow balls. Those were the two biggest things I worked on,” Rosier said.
“My accuracy, it’s not even me being accurate, all the guys are accurate. I’m pretty sure Cade [Weldon] was throwing 80 percent yesterday. Kosi [Perry] was in the 70s. I was like in the 70s-plus.
“We have guys…it’s not even me, it’s like, everybody, Jarren [Williams] —we’re competing, man. And it’s so good to know that, like the guys behind me, if something happens to me we’re going to have a guy that can step up and make plays.”
Rosier will be pushed this season by redshirt freshmen N’Kosi Perry and Cade Weldon, neither of whom have played in a college game. And then there’s true freshman Jarren Williams, who had an impressive spring and became the newest darling of Hurricanes fans.
“Even though I’m the starter,’’ he said, “if I come out and have a bad day, [Richt] can be like, ‘Hey, listen, Kosi’s the guy, or Cade’s the guy. I can’t just let my guard down. I still have to compete, still have to come out here and show these guys that I am the guy and I can be the starter.”
Rosier, who looks thicker and stronger at 6-1 and 212 pounds, said he’s “100-percent’’ healthy after playing through serious shoulder pain the last part of the season.
What Rosier wants to prove most at this point, after failing to lead the Canes to victory not only against Pittsburgh in the regular-season finale, but against Clemson in the Atlantic Coast Conference title game and Wisconsin in the Capital One Orange Bowl, is that he can win the big ones.
“People know I can win,’’ he said, “but I feel like the bigger games you win, the more noticed you get.
“And it’s not even just me. I feel like we went a long way and we did something that Miami’s never done, but we didn’t finish right. That’s the chip on my shoulder.
“It’s also my last year. I’m trying to leave a legacy. I’m trying to leave my last statement as ‘Hey, we won the ACC Championship, hey, we played for the national championship.’
“ I want to bring Miami back because we’ve got the talent to do it.”