University of Miami

Richt: N’Kosi Perry ‘in driver’s seat,’ but Williams, Weldon have chance to unseat him

N’Kosi Perry discusses his return to starting lineup

N'Kosi Perry started his fifth game of the season against the Virginia Tech Hokies. The Miami Hurricanes quarterback has learned from his earlier return to the bench.
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N'Kosi Perry started his fifth game of the season against the Virginia Tech Hokies. The Miami Hurricanes quarterback has learned from his earlier return to the bench.

The season is evaporating before our eyes.

And nothing made that more obvious than University of Miami coach Mark Richt being asked by WQAM radio host Joe Rose on Monday about the starting quarterback situation for 2019 and if ‘N’Kosi Perry has got a real good chance to be the quarterback of this team’ next season.

“He’s in the driver’s seat,’’ Richt said of Perry, who is improving with each game he starts. “But there are some other guys on campus, as we know, [Cade] Weldon and [Jarren][ Williams, that are talented guys. They’re going to get their chance to perform in the spring especially and show what they’ve got. I’m not going to close the door by any means because you just can’t do that at this point. But I do see a lot of growth in N’Kosi and I think he’s got the skill set. He can make all the throws and he runs the ball well.”

As for redshirt freshman Weldon and true freshman Williams, Weldon was suspended four game previously this season for violating team rules. Wiliams was suspended this past Saturday at Virgina Tech, also for violating undisclosed team rules.

Weldon came in for the last drive against the Hokies, taking a knee. Williams is available for the regular-season home finale at 3:30 p.m. Saturday against Coastal Division champion Pittsburgh.

Backup quarterbacks
Redshirt freshman quarterback N’Kosi Perry (left) and true freshman Jarren Williams (right) shown at practice before the season began. Both were suspended at differnt points this season. Matias Ocner

Perry completed 21 of 34 passes for 171 yards and two touchdowns, and also scored his first career rushing touchdown, in UM’s 38-14 victory at Virginia Tech.

“Even on that quarterback sneak, you can imagine having two tight ends going into the game and then you got zero,’’ Richt said of Perry’s 1-yard touchdown run, referring to starting tight end Brevin Jordan (ankle) and backup Will Mallory (knee) both getting injured. Both tight ends are unavailable to UM (6-5, 3-4 Atlantic Coast Conference) for Saturday’s game against the Panthers (7-4, 6-1).

“You’re like, what do you do on the goal line? What do you do on short yards? Probably 90 percent of our sets have a tight end in it. We were scrambling around a little bit, getting into some four wide receiver sets, some three receiver sets with two backs.

“On the goal line one time, we were down there on the 1, we run a sneak in a four-receiver set, 10 guys pile up over the ball and Kosi was smart enough just to take it outside and find a way to get in the end zone. We like how he’s growing.

“...I thought he did well. He’s getting better. He’s getting more comfortable as he goes. We had a couple shots. We had a deep ball [to Dee Wiggins that] if we complete that, that was about a 60-yarder for a touchdown. We had another one that landed right in the hands of our running back [Travis Homer][ would have been another 70-yarder – another 130 yards of passing and a couple more touchdowns would have been really a big day.

I thought he handled things well. First of all, no turnovers. That has a lot to do with the quarterback position. We got three, they got zero... Kosi I think is getting it. I think he’s growing. I thought he really managed the game well and made a couple big-league throws too.”

Richt also was asked by Rose about former Clemson quarterback Kelly Bryant, a graduate transfer, “putting Miami on his list’’ as potential teams for next season. Bryant was previously scheduled to officially visit UM this weekend and be at the Pittsburgh game, but reported late Monday that Bryant had cancelled his trip to Miami and instead would be visiting Auburn.

“We can’t make mention of anybody in that regard,’’ Richt said earlier that day of Bryant, when asked about the situation with Bryant and his possibly landing with the Hurricanes. “That’s just NCAA rules.’’

Added Richt: “We’re always looking to recruit and get our roster right the best it can possibly be. But we can’t really say anything in particular.”

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