University of Miami football coach Mark Richt was asked Tuesday how confusing it is when he’s in a meeting room with his son, quarterbacks coach Jon Richt, and players say, “Coach Richt …”
“I think most people are calling him Coach Jon,” the head coach answered, before adding this: “It’s CMR on my underwear and CJR on his.”
Whether it’s “Coach Mark Richt’’ or “Coach Jon Richt,” boxers or briefs, both Richts are leading this year’s crop of Hurricanes quarterbacks.
Jon Richt, 26, has the quarterback coach’s title, but make no mistake that dad, 56, is the boss.
“Essentially, Coach [Mark] Richt is the quarterbacks coach; he’s the coordinator,” Jon said Tuesday after the Hurricanes’ fourth spring practice session. “So he’s going to install this offense the way he wants them to run it. Really, I’m kind of an enforcer right now. Whatever he’s saying, I’m saying.
“If you give a quarterback too many voices and too many choices, then these young guys, they don’t necessarily know how to compute all that and take it.”
On Tuesday, backup quarterback Malik Rosier addressed the media, saying both Richts are “specific” on what they want from their quarterbacks, “from footwork to even our rhythm drops to our play action, everything has to be precise.
“That’s one thing that is different for me and Brad,” Rosier said of this year compared to last, when James Coley was both the offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach. “I mean, Coach Coley was a great guy, but [the Richts] are really focused on our feet.
“They say their biggest thing is that, ‘Your feet make you right.’ ’’
Mark Richt, Rosier said, “wants your feet to be perfect because your feet make you perfect. … It’s making our game go to another level.”
The head coach said Tuesday that it was an “awesome blessing” to have Jon coaching with him. “He’s a very smart guy,” Richt said. “He’s a very good recruiter. I’m running the room. I’m coaching the quarterbacks. He’s there with me. There are certain drills he’s running. He knows exactly what we’re doing and how we’re doing it and can help a guy while I’m doing something else, which is a great advantage. And having his beautiful wife Anna and our little granddaughter [Jadyn] is especially nice.”
Hurricanes starter Brad Kaaya is, as expected, getting the first-team reps and excelling. But the other quarterbacks — redshirt sophomore Rosier, redshirt freshman Evan Shirreffs, redshirt sophomore Vincent Testaverde and freshman Jack Allison — are alternating rotations.
Mark Richt said he wants at least five quarterbacks on scholarship each season.
“That would be my goal,’’ he said. “Sometimes it’s four and sometimes it’s six.”
Two three-star quarterbacks committed to UM’s recruiting class of 2017, nicknamed SQUAD17, in the past week: dual-threat N’Kosi Perry of Ocala on Saturday and dropback passer Cade Weldon, the son of Florida State’s 1991 Heisman Trophy runner-up Casey Weldon, late Monday.
Also committing in the past week were 6-5, 240-pound tight end Brian Polendey of Denton, Texas, and four-star Miami Carol City receiver Kevaughn Dingle.
Jon Richt said newcomer Allison has gotten a lot of reps and is doing “a really nice job,’’ but that “this is the first time he’s been under center … so there’s a lot to learn. He was in shotgun” in high school, Richt said of Allison, so he “wasn’t necessarily doing the things we’re trying to ask him to do right now.”
Shirreffs had the best footwork after spring break because he’s not only a good student on and off the field, “he’s very conscientious,” Mark Richt said. “I can see him trying to do what I’m asking. When you’ve got guys just making up their own stuff, I promise you that guy won’t play for me. He’s got to do it the way we say. Evan is creating a lot of good habits.”
There are times, Jon Richt said, when asked about any confusion over the “Coach Richt” acknowledgments by players, that father and son both turn their heads.
“When he says, ‘Yes,’ ’’ the son said, “I kind of just let him take over.”