Mark Richt used his hands on Friday to demonstrate the level of separation between starting quarterback Brad Kaaya and the other signal callers on the University of Miami roster.
“Kaaya,” Richt said, lifting his left hand up to about the brim of his panama hat, “pack,” as he dropped his hand down to his chest. “That’s what I got right now.”
Redshirt sophomore Malik Rosier, the backup to Kaaya a season ago, is in the middle of that pack.
On Friday, Rosier (6-1, 215) and redshirt freshman Evan Shirreffs (6-5, 200) took the majority of the snaps with Miami’s second team as redshirt sophomore Vincent Testaverde (6-2, 200) and freshman Jack Allison (6-5, 200) worked in behind them.
Richt said he could decide who UM’s backup quarterback is as early as the first closed scrimmage next Wednesday or wait until after the team’s third scrimmage on Aug. 24 because it would still allow the backup 10 practices with the second team prior to the season opener.
Rosier appeared in seven games last season and came up big for the Hurricanes at Duke, when Kaaya missed his only game with a concussion. Rosier completed 20 of 29 passes for 272 yards and two touchdowns in UM’s thrilling victory.
But that’s ancient history to this new coaching staff, and Rosier accepts it.
“My thing is that it’s a new coaching staff, new offense, and I’ve got to prove myself,” Rosier said. “I have to show that I can play in their system. That’s the reality of the job here.”
As a senior in high school, Rosier threw for 1,852 yards and 16 touchdowns, and ran for 1,301 yards and 17 TDs in a spread offense. In Richt’s pro-style offense, Rosier said he needs to get better at play-action passing and five-step drops. Richt said he also wants to see Rosier take fewer chances when plays break down.
“Malik knows what he’s doing,” Richt said. “He just has to take it from the meeting room to the field, like the rest of them. I think when plays break down, he has a tendency to want to make something special happen. Sometimes, you just [have to] burn the ball. Sometimes you just take a sack. I think that wanting to make every play a great play, sometimes it’s not good.”
Rosier said he’s doing a better job of that now in camp. But it seems he still has a long way to go in convincing Richt he should be Kaaya’s backup.
Rosier said UM’s quarterbacks are being charted on every pass and decision they make. He also said Richt provides plenty of criticism and tough love on the field.
“They have a spreadsheet,” Rosier said. “We haven’t seen it yet. But they keep track of the balls, incompletions, interceptions, and they grade it. I don’t know when we’ll see it, maybe at the end of the week, I don’t know. But they do chart what you do on every route.”
Rosier said he has not had any discussions about switching positions if he were to get beat out for the backup job. He also said he would not consider transferring.
▪ Defensive coordinator Manny Diaz said he would like to rotate 22 players on his unit “by the time the first quarter ends.”
“We feel like that is not a luxury, that’s a necessity in this day and age of tempo offense,” Diaz said. “Now, it’s not the YMCA, and we just can’t play for fun. We’re trying to find a two-deep that we can roll in waves. For sure, we have to have eight [players] up front. Then linebackers, I’ll play as many linebackers as I can possibly find.”
▪ What does junior Braxton Berrios like about freshman receiver Ahmmon Richards, who has been getting reps with the first team?
“He’s smart,” Berrios said. “He picks the game up well. He’s fast. He doesn’t get flustered because he got thrown in with the [first team]. He has great hands. He’s a good ballplayer.”