University of Miami

UM backup QBs struggle with consistency. Here’s why one with potent arm not ready yet

University of Miami quarterback Malik Rosier (12), along with the other UM quarterbacks, is shown here recently during practice at Greentree Field on campus. Pictured at right are backups N’Kosi Perry (5) and Cade Weldon (17). Freshman Jarren Williams is at far left.
University of Miami quarterback Malik Rosier (12), along with the other UM quarterbacks, is shown here recently during practice at Greentree Field on campus. Pictured at right are backups N’Kosi Perry (5) and Cade Weldon (17). Freshman Jarren Williams is at far left. CJUSTE@MIAMIHERALD.COM

University of Miami quarterback Malik Rosier is not relinquishing that starting job anytime soon.

On Monday, UM offensive coordinator Thomas Brown went on WQAM radio to talk some Canes and gave the impression that the backup quarterbacks are not where coaches would like them to be at this point.

“It’s been up and down with those guys, to be honest with you,’’ Brown said on the Joe Rose Show, two days after UM’s second scrimmage at Tropical Park. “N’Kosi [Perry] has flashed a lot. He’s a really good football player, progressing along. But he’s just still been inconsistent too much at times. I would say, out of all those guys, Jarren Williams has probably the best arm talent in the room. But he’s obviously a young dude. He’s a freshman. That’s the hardest spot to be able to come in and play early, quarterback from a freshman standpoint. But talent is not an issue with him. It’s with him being able to understand our offense and learn the command of it.”

Added Brown: “Cade Weldon [has done] some nice things throughout the camp so far. He had a couple picks Saturday. Some were his fault and some weren’t his fault. But obviously you’ve got to do a better job of taking care of the football.”

Sources said Weldon threw more than two interceptions this past Saturday, and that’s something head coach and quarterbacks specialist Mark Richt will not tolerate.

The Canes’ backup QBs, in order of practice rotation during media viewing since fall camp began Aug. 4: redshirt freshman Perry, redshirt freshman Weldon and true freshman Williams.

In a one-on-one interview last week with the Miami Herald, Richt said he was “so proud of the younger guys’ approach now compared to what it was. It wasn’t good enough. It was not good enough and it was making me crazy. They weren’t even in the competition because they weren’t doing what it takes to be the man.

“Jarren is trying but he just started.

“N’Kosi has come light years in his approach to football. He’s got a little quiet confidence about him. I think he knows he’s talented. I think he knows he can do it. I think he knows that it also is more than that. Now that he understands it’s more than that and he really needs to be an expert at what he does and of what we’re doing and how we’re doing it, he’s seeing the value of that. I think before he thought he could drop back and if somebody weren’t open he could start scrambling and make a play, and he can a lot. He can. But you can’t build your whole offense around that.

“You’ve got to work the system the way it needs to be worked and help your protections and help your receivers and help your run game and then do your thing, so he’s come a long way in his approach.”

Perry, 6-4 and 195 pounds, was known as one of the top dual-threat prep quarterbacks in the nation when he came to UM from Ocala Vanguard High and said last week on media day that he has “improved a whole lot, especially mentally— knowing where to go, learning how to read the defense better.

“I’m not a run-first quarterback,’’ Perry said. “I have the ability to run obviously, but I’m a pass-first guy. I want to get the ball to my receivers no matter who they are. I’ve been working on my consistency.’’

Weldon is a thicker 6-3, 220-pounder whose father Casey was the 1991 Heisman Trophy runner-up under none other than offensive coordinator Richt at Florida State. Out of Tampa Jefferson, he said last week this is “definitely the most comfortable I’ve felt since I’ve been here.”

And Williams, 6-2 and 220, was a four-star, consensus top-10 quarterback out of Lawrenceville (Georgia) Gwinnett High. He threw for more than 3,000 yards and 28 touchdowns last season, with only four interceptions. And he rushed for another 10 scores.

But he has a long way to go in learning the offense and being able to run it in a game.

Richt told the Herald he would feel more comfortable with Perry or Weldon in a game.

How about Jarren? the coach was asked.

“Not really,’’ he said. “Jarren could go in and make some plays and the opponent would line up in a certain look and he’d drop back and drop it in there and everybody would be like, ‘Oh, look at that!’

“But just like that kid from Alabama [ Tua Tagovailoa] last year, just like that last play. The play before that he took about a 15-yard sack. It should have been game over. He did a freshman thing. And then the next play, he launches this beautiful bomb, someone catches it and they win the national championship.

“That’s what happens with freshmen — true freshman, especially. Not redshirt freshmen as much.”

Starting sophomore cornerback Trajan Bandy was on a conditioning bike instead of practicing with the others during media viewing Monday. In Bandy’s place, along with usual starter Mike Jackson, was Jhavonte Dean, who had two interceptions in Saturday’s scrimmage.

Starting defensive end Joseph Jackson wore a large brace over his left arm and elbow on Monday, and was practicing with the No. 3 team during media viewing. Defensive coordinator Manny Diaz said, “Just a protective thing. Just to protect the elbow.’’

UM Quarterback, Jarren Williams shares why he chose the University of Miami for football.

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