University of Miami

First-teamers shine as backup QBs shed no-contact jerseys in University of Miami scrimmage

University of Miami backup Quarterback Evan Shirreffs (16) takes a snap while being watched by fellow QB's Brad Kaaya (15), Vincent Testaverde (14) and Malik Rosier (12) and Coach Mark Richt at practice on Sun., Aug. 7, 2016.
University of Miami backup Quarterback Evan Shirreffs (16) takes a snap while being watched by fellow QB's Brad Kaaya (15), Vincent Testaverde (14) and Malik Rosier (12) and Coach Mark Richt at practice on Sun., Aug. 7, 2016.

The University of Miami had its second scrimmage of fall camp Wednesday night, but this time coach Mark Richt didn’t share the statistics that would have perhaps provided a hint as to who, for instance, might be the backup quarterback to Brad Kaaya come the Sept. 3 opener against FAMU.

The backup quarterback field will be narrowed to two contenders in the next couple of days, the coach said.

This time around Richt left those backups for the ravenous first-team defensive linemen, exchanging the no-contact black jerseys the quarterbacks normally wear for the regular, full-contact orange ones that the rest of the offense wears.

The coach did not say if, or how many times, the backups got sacked.

“They were live,” Richt said of the backups, who include redshirt sophomore Malik Rosier, redshirt freshman Evan Shirreffs, true freshman Jack Allison and redshirt sophomore Vincent Testaverde. “Just wanted to see if they could make a play with their feet, or if they got hit, can they get back up and go play another snap? I got to see a little bit of that.

“I will have within a day or two either a No. 2 or a Co-No. 2. I’m narrowing it down to two. I want to watch the tape and be sure. But I’m pretty sure I’ve got it narrowed down to two. Whether one is ahead of the other right now I don’t know. I may just split time with the twos for the rest of the way until we make a decision probably a week from now.

“We’re getting closer.”

The scrimmage was delayed more than nine hours after lightning caused the Hurricanes to exit Greentree Field and head back into their building.

“A lot of guys were laying it on the line today and tonight,” Richt said. “We had to wait all day for it. Thankfully we had no school so we could get the work in.”

Richt said starting quarterback Brad Kaaya, whose No. 1 offense played against the No. 2 defense, “played great” despite throwing an interception. He got sacked once, the coach said.

“He had one play he turned into a catastrophe, which is not excusable,” Richt said. “Other than that, he played great… I’m guessing Kaaya hit 80-percent of his passes. That’s my best guess.”

Others whom Richt lauded were receivers Braxton Berrios and Stacy Coley and running backs Mark Walton and Gus Edwards. He said the latter two “made some really outstanding runs” and Coley “played great.”

“He’s been practicing very well,” Richt said of Coley. “He’s in better shape than he was in the spring, like most of them, and he’s had very little issues with injury…

“The No. 1 unit for both sides really had their way, I would say. Offensive ones did great. Defensive ones did great. So that’s what you hope this time of year.’’

Others praised by the coach: receiver Dayall Harris and tight end Chris Herndon.

“Herndon made a nice catch and physically caught a ball short of the first down and kind of manhandled a defender to get [it],” Richt said, adding that receiver Darrell Langham also “made a nice play on the goal line with really tight coverage.”

Among the freshmen who played well, Richt said, were running back Travis Homer.

“Travis has shown me that he is tough and smart — I think he’ll be a really good special teamer… We have three [tailbacks] ahead of him right now, but he has proven to be a guy that I think we’ll be able to count on this year…We’re not going to be afraid to put him into a game.”

Fellow freshmen standouts included cornerback Malek Young and linebacker Shaq Quarterman. Freshman linebacker Michael Pinckney (hamstring) did not participate.

UM’s next scrimmage will be Aug. 24, when the format will have the No. 1 offense and defense playing “on the same team,” Richt said, in preparation for FAMU.

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