Hurricanes Mark Richt talks about the 31-17 win over FIU
It sure sounds like redshirt freshman N’Kosi Perry is going to get his first career start at 8 Thursday night against North Carolina (1-2), though Richt wouldn’t flat-out say that Monday morning during his weekly radio time slot on WQAM with hosts Joe Rose and Zach Krantz.
We get to speak to Richt later today.
Here’s what Richt told WQAM on the quarterback subject in regard to N’Kosi Perry playing most of the game (17-of-25 for 224 yards and three touchdowns, with an interception) in UM’s 31-17 victory on Saturday over FIU (with some other stuff blended in, courtesy of the coach):
“First of all, just to explain what happened. I really wasn’t sure what I was going to do all throughout the week as far as substitution and all that kind of thing. It wasn’t until the night before the game that I said, ‘Series three I’m going to put him in and just see where it goes.’
“I didn’t know how well we would start the first couple series. I didn’t know what was going to happen once he got into the game. So, instead of trying to predict it and decide beforehand what was going to happen, I said, ‘Let’s just put him in there.’
“He played well. He hit about 9, 10 in a row and everywhere moving the ball and scoring points and all that, so I kept him in there.
“The other thing that was in this consideration was the fact that N’Kosi, he’s growing up. He’s maturing as a player. He’s doing much better. Now, I tell you, [third-string quarterback] Cade Weldon has done the same thing. Those guys started out a little slow on the maturity level stuff. It has taken them a little while to understand what it takes to be a guy that deserves to play out there and now they’re both really practicing well and playing well.
“Cade had the mishap on the fumble but really it was more of a situation where the snap was a little bit left, the back was a little bit too close, he’s getting ready to throw the bubble screen and the ball got knocked out of his hand and then it bounced funny and got between his legs.... I thought he did a heck of a job just to get the guy on the ground to keep that from being a touchdown. It turned out to be a field goal unfortunately.
“Those young QBs are now becoming the kind of practice players and the kind of students of the game, and even classroom, all that stuff, they’re doing what they need to be doing to have even a shot of becoming a player for us.”
Rose: “Who starts Thursday night after the big tease after N’Kosi’s game?” (Note that redshirt senior Malik Rosier has been the starter, and is 13-4 in his last 17 games starting, and 14-4 total as the starter.)
Richt: “I’m going to leave it at “We’re going to play the guy that gives us the best shot of winning. That’s the deal. At every position there’s a lot of competition. Look at [offensive lineman] Venzell Bouleware, he comes in and he’s pushing Jahair Jones and Hayden Mahoney. And he’s playing and he’s rotating with those guys.
“[Offensive lineman] DJ Scaife played a lot at right tackle and spelled Navaughn [Donaldson].
“And now he’s working at the left tackle, too, where Tyree [St. Louis] knows that he’s going to do well and know that we’re going to substitute a little bit.
“The QB position is a little bit harder just to rotate every couple series, you know. So, I’m just going to observe a little bit more practice. We got one this morning because it’s not a day off. It’s a short week. We’ve just been kind of scrambling just to get the game plan in to be honest.”
Rose: “So you really have no idea?”
Richt, while Rose is still talking: “I have a pretty good idea. But I’d prefer to... To be honest with you I’m not 100 percent sure but I do a lot of things based on what my gut, what my spirit’s telling me, and right now I’ve just been scrambling around trying to get this game plan in.”
Rose: “Did he play better than you expected?”
Richt, not including lots of details on the beautiful slant for a touchdown to receiver Lawrence Cager: “…Yeah, there were some really good balls.”
Also: Expect struggling punter Zach Feagles to be replaced on Thursday by backup Jack Spicer. At least it sounded that way this morning.... UM, which rose to No. 16th in both major polls, is 3-1.