Hurricanes coach Mark Richt talks about the status of the team
Trayone Gray is the real deal.
Cade Weldon and N’Kosi Perry are in a “tight race’’ to be the backup quarterback.
And Bubba Baxa is “kicking them out of the yard.’’
Six days before the University of Miami football opener against LSU at AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas, Hurricanes head coach Mark Richt went on his weekly WQAM radio show with Joe Rose and Zach Krantz and made sure not to share anything too revealing to LSU coaches who might be looking for an edge any way they can get it.
Richt did, however, say UM coaches are expecting Ohio State graduate transfer Joe Burrow, listed as a 6-4, 215-pound junior, to start against Miami in Sunday’s AdvoCare Classic.
Burrow is battling 6-5, 183-pound sophomore Myles Brennan.
Burrow redshirted in 2015 and was the backup to OSU starter J.T. Barrett in 2016 and 2017. At Ohio State, he played in 10 games and completed 29 of 39 passes for 287 yards and two touchdowns. He also rushed for a touchdown.
As of early Monday morning, LSU coach Ed Orgeron had not announced the starter, but most believe it will be Burrow.
Richt said Burrow is a “super mobile guy. You can expect certain quarterback run aspects’’ and if not “you can expect … more of a power running game…play action pass and more pocket stuff.
“We think it’s going to be Burrow... But we’ll see.’’
Here’s some of what Richt told WQAM on Monday:
▪ When asked how much information UM coaches were able to get on LSU that they could use:
“They did televise their spring game so you at least can look at their personnel and get a good idea of who is going to being playing where in their base offense and base defense — a little bit scheme wise, too. You’d be surprised at what you can glean on some of the articles you read on guys wanting to brag about how much different they are on defense for example or how many different blitzes and twists and stunts. You get the feeling they may do a little bit more than a year ago.’’
▪ How do you prepare for a team that doesn’t have a starting qb?
“You have to watch tape of what that that coordinator did in the past.’’ Right said he figures that “the majority will probably be the same. There will be some wrinkles.’’
▪ Richt said Rosier has improved in his timing and progressions and deep balls. “He knows what he’s doing and he knows his footwork and ball handling. I think the greatest improvement he’s made is deep ball throws... So many people play man coverage. You’ve got to try to take some shots.’’
“...That’s kind of what happened in the Pitt [loss],’’ Richt said. “We don’t connect on enough of them and they have their way with us because they have so many guys in the running game.’’
The coach said Rosiers confidence is up, as is the confidence in him by his teammates.
▪ The four captains for LSU, according to Richt, are Rosier, linebacker Shaq Quarterman, safety Jaquan Johnson and center Tyler Gauthier. All four got the most votes from their teammates as being the guys they view as team leaders.
▪ When asked who the backup quarterback is, Richt offered no surprises:
“I’ll narrow it down to Weldon and N’Kosi right now... Right now it’s a tight race...”
▪ On true freshman quarterback Jarren Williams:
“Jarren Williams is really making a lot of progress but he is a true freshman and I don’t think he’s quite ready for this moment. When his day comes he’s going to be special, I can tell you that.’’
▪ The coach lauded starting running back Travis Homer and backup DeeJay Dallas. Dallas is up “in the 220 range’’ from about 195 pounds last season as a freshman.
Richt once again praised fifth-year senior fullback/tailback Trayone Gray for being “the guy that has really had a great camp.’’ After Homer and Dallas, Gray “is the next back in the game.’’
▪ The first-team offensive line is “much better” Richt said. “The top five have been the same since Day One of camp.”
Richt said freshman DJ Scaife and Tennessee graduate transfer Venzell Boulware will rotate into games. Boulware is a guard and Scaife had been practicing lately at backup left tackle, but Richt said the guards are more apt to have a rotation.
▪ Some of the true freshmen he mentioned who have impressed:
Defensive end Greg Rousseau -- “It feels like he’s been here two years but he’s a true freshman...’’
Defensive tackle Nesta “Jade’’ Silvera: “He’s got a lot to learn year yet but Jade is a really tough, physical guy.”
The coach mentioned the young receivers, but didn’t point out any specifically.
He indicated that true freshman tailback Lorenzo Lingard, “once he figures it all out,” should be a force.
(Hopefully Lingard figures it out sooner than later)
Richt said tight ends Brevin Jordan and Will Mallory, as expected, “are going to play and play a bunch... You can count on those guys being in the game from the very beginning.”
▪ On new kicker Bubba Baxa: “You know what? Bubba Baxa has really come on. He’s kicking extremerly well. This operation…We’re snapping great, holidng great our operation time has been very good... On kickoffs he’s been kicking them out of the yard.”
▪ UM will rotate defensive tackles. “We have to.
“We’re built on speed. We’re built on pursuit. We’re built on just guys flying around. You’ve got to substitute to get that done. That’s what we tell our guys. Put yourself in position to get the trust of your coach and we’ll go three deep if guys deserve to play. We want great morale and great conditioning. If he plays 80 plays that’s too much for a guy, if he plays 30 or 40... much better.”
Rose asked Richt if he has ever been to AT&T Stadium (home of the Dallas Cowboys) and seen the massive video board.
“I’ve never been there and everybody says the same thing,’’ Richt replied. “It’s just like nothing anybody has ever experienced before so. Yeah, you know how it is. They always cut to the head coach a lot of times in the middle of the game. I’ve got to make sure I’m not looking up all the time. You guys will wear me out if I do that.”