University of Miami

Rosier, Testaverde are finalists to be Kaaya’s backup

Brad Kaaya discusses the battle for the Canes backup QB job

University of Miami Hurricanes quarterback Brad Kaaya talks Friday, Aug. 19, 2016, about Vincent Testaverde and Malik Rosier and what they need to do to win the job.
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University of Miami Hurricanes quarterback Brad Kaaya talks Friday, Aug. 19, 2016, about Vincent Testaverde and Malik Rosier and what they need to do to win the job.

And then there were two.

University of Miami coach Mark Richt announced Friday the backup quarterback job will be won either by redshirt sophomore Malik Rosier, Brad Kaaya’s backup last season, or redshirt sophomore Vincent Testaverde, a walk-on and transfer from Texas Tech whose father won a Heisman trophy at UM.

Redshirt freshman Evan Shirreffs, who had been taking second-team reps for most of camp, did not make the cut. Kaaya later revealed Shirreffs has been dealing with an injury to his throwing hand since the start of camp. Meanwhile, several players said it’s expected that highly touted freshman Jack Allison will redshirt this season.

Richt plans to spend the final two weeks leading up to the Sept. 3 season opener against Florida A&M letting Rosier and Testaverde split all of the second-team reps.

“It’s not 100 percent solid that one of those two will be the No. 2, but they’re in the driver’s seat right now,” Richt said. “All these guys, even the top two, they’ve not done everything like we want it done on a consistent basis. But they’ve shown flashes, and they’re a little more solid, maybe, in their accuracy or the decision-making process.”

Richt remained consistent in saying Rosier has to do a better job of making the smart play and not trying to be a hero. Kaaya said Testaverde has improved his mechanics and “throws a tight spiral.”

“I need someone to run the system,” Richt said. “I need someone to do what they’re supposed to do on a down-by-down basis. Just be consistent in your reads, be consistent in your accuracy, be consistent in getting us in the right place, be consistent in declaring who the Mike linebacker is and our run and passing game schemes to let everyone know who to block. Those are the things they have to do.”

MULLINS IS MAKING STRONG IMPRESSION

Freshman wide receiver Dionte Mullins, finally cleared by the NCAA’s eligibility center on Thursday, worked alongside his teammates in a pair of shorts and a helmet for the first time. Richt raved about a play Mullins made in his second practice.

Kaaya said Richt is a big fan of Mullins and that his coach refers to the former Miami Gulliver Prep Under-Armour All-American as “jingle joints.”

“He ran a little stop route, the ball was a little high, he snatched it, tucked it and turned up field, nice and smooth,” Richt said of Mullins. “Looks like a really smooth athlete.”

Because of the NCAA’s mandatory five-day waiting period, Mullins will not be able to practice in full pads until he completes five practices/workouts. With UM off on Sunday, that means Mullins wouldn’t be able to practice in full pads until Wednesday.

ASSESSING THE OFFENSIVE LINE

Richt said he feels comfortable with about “six to seven” of the team’s offensive linemen being able to handle assignments in a game.

“[That’s] assignment and just the skill set to get the job done, and being able to do it on a consistent enough basis to have some peace,” Richt said.

Who is in that group? Aside from the regular first-team unit — left tackle Trevor Darling, left guard Kc McDermott, center Nick Linder, right guard Danny Isidora and right tackle Sunny Odogwu — likely backup interior lineman Alex Gall and sophomore tackle Tyree St. Louis.

“There’s other guys that at least know what to do, and you can function like that,” Richt said. “If a lineman knows what to do and puts his hat in the right spot, and he fights like mad, even if he’s not dominating, you can function and play.”

St. Louis has been taking first-team reps at right tackle and some at left tackle recently. Gall, a senior, can play all three interior spots.

Redshirt freshman Bar Milo, a four-star recruit from the same high school as Kaaya in California, said he’s been moved from tackle to left guard in the past week. He admitted Friday he’s struggled in camp but feels like the move might be for the best.

“Earlier in training camp, I was having a rough time,” Milo said. “I was having mental issues. I went to Coach [Richt] and told him, and I can’t thank him enough for how patient he has been with me. I haven’t been playing how I wanted to this training camp, but I’m starting to get back into that fun, festive mood that I’m usually in when I get on the field, taking pride in the protection.”

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