Starting at quarterback on Thursday for the No. 16 Miami Hurricanes against North Carolina will be...
Malik Rosier or N’Kosi Perry.
N’Kosi Perry or Malik Rosier.
“That’s a good question,’’ Richt said Wednesday, when asked on the Atlantic Coast Conference coaches’ teleconference if he knew who would be starting, and if so, who it would be. “We’ll know when we roll out on the field, first play, for sure. So that’s what I’m going to tell everybody. But yeah, I know.’’
Richt clearly maintained the same philosophy on Wednesday that he has espoused since Perry came in midway through the first quarter to lead the Canes to victory over FIU on Saturday: Whoever he believes gives Miami the best chance to win will be the starter.
The best thing for fans about the Hurricanes (3-1) having only five days to prepare for North Carolina (1-2) in their ACC opener at 8 p.m. Thursday at Hard Rock Stadium? One day less to wring this quarterback topic dry.
Said in another way: One day sooner to learn who Richt’s “heart’’ told him to choose.
“It’s like any other position,’’ Richt said Wednesday. “I always tell the players you have to earn the right to win and you have to earn the trust of the coaching staff and your teammates to get in the game...[Perry] has grown up in my opinion to the point where he knows what we’re doing [and] why we’re doing it.’’
North Carolina coach Larry Fedora said he thinks both Rosier and Perry “have simliar styles.’’
“I mean, both kids can beat you with their legs. They both can run. And they both can throw the football.
“I don’t know about the way they make decisions. I don’t know about their personalities or any of those things. But I know that both of them are quality quarterbacks in this league, and both can beat you.’’
Earlier this week on Hurricane Hotline, Richt said that one of the factors that would affect who starts would be, “How I gauge it in my heart to say, ‘What is the best thing for us to do right now?
“Malik did nothing wrong,’’ said Richt, who praised Perry for his decision-making, accuracy and crisp throws several times this week. “Malik has been battling for us his whole career. And as a starter he’s done a really good job. Ups and downs like anybody. We saw N’Kosi is not perfect either. That’s what happens when you get to play and everybody realizes you’re not perfect and they’ll be crying for the next guy one day.’’
Rosier is 13-4 in his last 17 games as a starter, and 14-4 including the game he started against Duke in 2015, when quarterback Brad Kaaya had a concussion. His numbers this season: 38 of 73 (52.1 percent) for five touchdowns, with two interceptions. He has rushed for another 88 yards and five touchdowns.
Perry replaced Rosier for the third series last Saturday with 7:35 left in the opening quarter, completing his first 10 passes en route to a memorable performance in UM’s 31-17 victory. He was 17 of 25 for 224 yards and three touchdowns, with one underthrown interception in the third quarter. He returned for about the last minute-and-a-half of the game after third-string quarterback Cade Weldon played in one series.
Perry, who was suspended for the LSU opener for violating team rules that stemmed from months back, Richt said, has played in the past three games, going a combined 26 of 39 (66.7) for 317 yards and six touchdowns, with 25 yards rushing.
This past Monday, Perry got all the first-team snaps during the 15 minutes of media viewing, followed by Rosier.
On Tuesday, it was Rosier taking the first-team snaps during media viewing.
“I think he played well,’’ UM offensive coordinator Thomas Brown said Tuesday of Perry. “I would say he had one ill-advised throw, probably underestimated his arm a little bit on the scramble to try to take a shot. But other than that, I thought he was very accurate. I thought he ran the offense very well. I think he showed some escapability at times when the pocket broke down and holes kind of opened up.’’
Brown reiterated how valuable competition is at every position.
“I say all the time that I think competition solves most of your problems,’’ he said. “No one guy at any spot should ever feel comfortable, like, ‘It’s my job no matter what happens. Obviously the more depth we have, the more guys that are prepared to play and can help us win, the better off we’ll be down the stretch.’’
▪ Richt said receiver Ahmmon Richards (knee) will not play Thursday. It will be his fourth consecutive game he misses.
▪ Safety Jaquan Johnson, who has a hamstring injury, is a “game time decision,’’ Richt said.