Malik Rosier, ever the upbeat, honest quarterback, is a realist.
Although University of Miami coach Mark Richt confirmed Tuesday that Rosier is still the starter, the fifth-year senior quarterback conceded after practice that he can’t continue to play the way he did Sunday in the Hurricanes’ 33-17 loss to LSU or he’ll eventually be benched.
“Obviously, if I keep messing up then by all means coach Richt has the right to bench me and let somebody else play,’’ Rosier told reporters. “It’s one bad game, and we’ve still got 13, 14 more and I don’t plan on ever letting that happen again.”
Rosier completed 13 of 35 passes Sunday for 259 yards and one 32-yard touchdown to freshman Brian Hightower, with two interceptions — one of them returned 45 yards for a touchdown to make it 27-3 at halftime.
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His completion percentage: 42.9.
“For me this one was pretty bad,’’ Rosier said. “From my point of view there was so much more I could have done, so much more left on the field. That’s something I can’t have happen, especially with our receivers and talent base on the field. I have to give these guys a chance to make plays for me all over the field.”
Considering this was Miami’s fourth consecutive loss dating to last season, all of them poor performances by Rosier, he has a daunting challenge ahead to prove he is the quarterback the college football world saw when he led the Canes to 10 consecutive victories to begin 2017.
In those three losses to end last season, Rosier finished 15 of 34 passes for 187 yards and two touchdowns against Pitt, for a completion percentage of 44.1. He hit 48.3 percent of his passes in the ACC title game against Clemson, going 14 of 29 for 110 yards and no touchdowns, with two interceptions. And in the season finale against Wisconsin, he completed 11 of 26 passes (42.3 percent) for 203 yards, with three picks.
Twelve of his last 16 interceptions dating to 2017 have come in the past seven games.
He was asked if there is a common thread among the four straight losses.
“Not really,’’ Rosier said. “Some of those were just bad decisions by me. Some of it was just great execution by the defense. That’s something that we’ve got to fix. What can you say?
“There is nothing I can do about it now. I can’t sit here and say I lost four in row and now I’m just going to hang my head and just walk around here sad.
“No, I’ve got to keep going. We’ve got to get this winning streak started back. We won 10 in a row last year. I’m trying to win 12, 13 in a row now. We’ve just got to keep it going.”
Richt said at his news conference that Rosier’s backups — redshirt freshmen N’Kosi Perry and Cade Weldon and true freshman Jarren Williams — were all “getting better,’’ adding, “I’m not going to say who’s going to play in the game.’’
The coach later said of the backups that “they’re at the point where they deserve PT [playing time.’’
Tuesday’s practice reps were rotated among the four quarterbacks. “There were five reps,’’ Rosier said. “I had three with the first team, Cade had one, Kosi had one. Jarren rotated with the twos throughout. Those guys are getting a lot of reps, which is really good for them. ...Hopefully we can get multiple quarterbacks in.”
Rosier spoke to the team and told “the guys’’ that “we still have a whole ACC championship to play for. Obviously no one wants to lose — it’s a bummer, first game of the year and we’re 0-1. But if we win we’re still in it.
“I don’t think any of the guys’ heads are down and I don’t think anyone is, ‘OK, we’re out of it,’ because we’re not.’’
Said Hightower: “We’re on to the next game. In my eyes, [Rosier] had a good performance. They can say what they want, but we know what’s going on in the inside.’’
UM center Tyler Gauthier assured that Rosier would come out “and do better this week.”
Savannah State (0-1) lost its opener 52-0 to Alabama-Birmingham.
“He’s a good quarterback,’’ Gauthier said. “People have bad days. You have to take it running, learn from it and move on.”
UM offensive coordinator Thomas Brown, who said that despite Rosier being inaccurate at times he was pressured far too often, also addressed the excessive fan-bashing of his quarterback.
“It’s part of the game,’’ Brown said. “Fans kind of make this sport what it is. You do well they congratulate you. When you don’t do well they say you suck. It’s part of the territory. It’s part of being a professional.
“I guarantee you nobody is more upset than the people who are actually out here every day practicing. I know the feeling to get upset about stuff. But we’re going to fix it. We’ll get better.”