Barry Jackson

Some feedback on UM backup quarterback battle and Rosier’s evolution

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.
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.

A six-pack of Canes notes on a Saturday:

Entering Saturday’s practice, neither Cade Weldon nor N’Kosi Perry has significantly distanced himself from the other in the battle to be UM’s No. 2 quarterback behind Malik Rosier, according to a UM official.

That UM source said Weldon had played better than Perry in August until Weldon threw five –yes, five – interceptions in the scrimmage last Saturday, according to a Canes official in attendance.

Perry has the stronger arm, but Weldon’s arm is adequate.

Though Perry has good mobility, so does Weldon. That UM source said Weldon is a strong, powerful runner and not afraid to take a hit.

Perry’s performance has been uneven this month. He has made some very good plays and displayed improvement from the spring. But he also has thrown multiple interceptions in the red zone.

Weldon takes very well to coaching and takes the responsibility of playing quarterback here very seriously, we’re told. Being the son of a former NFL quarterback and high school coach (Casey Weldon) certainly helps in that regard.

Mark Richt has said he could see a scenario where Perry is the backup one week and Weldon the backup another.

What’s the point of doing that?

The advantage is “they would have to compete each week,” quarterbacks coach Jon Richt said.

Jon Richt praised both recently.

Richt said Perry “during the summer I think he got a little tired at some point, because it’s a long summer. It’s a grind non-stop for these guys. But then in the past two months, the dude has really turned it on and has done a great job focusing and is coming with a whole new attitude.”

I asked Jon Richt where Weldon has improved.

“Confidence and knowing exactly what he’s doing and why he’s doing it,” Richt said. “And then also understanding what the defense is doing, so he can react faster. He’s really, really done a good job of buckling down and focusing and acting like he wants to be the guy.

“Some of these freshmen come in and they know,‘Alright, I know I’m not playing this year and I’m redshirting so I’m just going to chill back and have fun on the scout team.’ Now, he’s kind of figured out that part of life is over. Let’s get your mind right, let’s get ready to go to work. He’s done a great job of coming to work every day.”

Meanwhile, Rosier has changed his leadership approach. He told me he “cussed out a couple of receivers and linemen” this summer and “they were stunned.”

In the past, “if someone messed up, I wouldn’t say anything because I thought it wasn’t my fault,” Rosier said.

But he realized that wasn’t working. And now after he yells at a teammate, he later goes back calmly and apologizes to the teammate and says, “If you want to be great, we can’t have that.”

He said offensive players who make mistakes sometimes apologize to him and Rosier says: “Don’t apologize. Just fix it.”

Bottom line?

“I have been on them all summer,” Rosier said.

Jon Richt put it this way: “This year he went through the summer being the man and then he acted like the man for the most part. So, I think that kind of [carried] over and gained his confidence, and now he’s playing with a whole new confidence.”

Rosier has watched every offensive snap of every 2017 UM game and worked with quarterbacks guru David Morris – as well as Jon Richt – on shortening his stride and other mechanical adjustments.

“Last year if you look at it, he was very, very good at driving the ball to people in between the numbers, in between the hashes,” Jon Richt said. “He wasn’t so good when he had to put touch on the ball or if he had to throw it over a linebacker or a deep ball or whatever it was,that’s what he struggled with, and that’s what he worked on all summer. He’s done a nice job so far.”

Rosier’s completion percentage last season (54) ranked 98th in the country.

Jon Richt said freshman quarterback Jarren Williams “throws it prettier than a lot of dudes in the country. He’s really impressive throwing the football and once he figures it out and slows the game down for himself as he sees everything and understands exactly what we’re asking from him, I think he’s going to be a very good football player.”

One UM source said Williams has “come down to earth” when he went up against higher-quality defensive players in practice. He’s a very good prospect but he’s simply not ready yet.

Defensive coordinator Manny Diaz, reflecting on the first two seasons for junior linebackers Shaquille Quarterman, Mike Pinckney and Zach McCloud, recalls “the three of them arguing about who left the toothpaste open. It was like an old married couple. Zach has almost a military level of dedication. Shaq is the alpha. He’s the bullbog. Pinckney is the flash and all the style that comes with playing the position but he cares for the University of Miami as much as anybody we have.”

We’re in the midst of 10 consecutive days of Canes columns leading up to Miami-LSU. Here’s the archive page for the first two, including Kirk Herbstreit’s views of UM and lots of personnel notes.

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