Barry Jackson

UM coach says ‘too many guys didn’t show up.’ But Richt blames himself for this one thing.

Miami Hurricanes head coach Mark Richt watches from the sidelines as UM plays LSU on Sunday in Dallas.
Miami Hurricanes head coach Mark Richt watches from the sidelines as UM plays LSU on Sunday in Dallas. adiaz@miamiherald.com

A six-pack of UM notes on a day that the Hurricanes disclosed that Malik Rosier remains the starting quarterback:

UM coach Mark Richt took the blame for one element of the Hurricanes’ game plan that wasn’t productive against LSU. But offensive coordinator Thomas Brown also put the onus on players on Tuesday to get their act together, essentially.

Richt said he miscalculated by allowing Malik Rosier to finish the game with 16 rushing attempts.

“I want the ball in our back’s hands more than they had,” Richt said. “I don’t want [Rosier] having 16 carries, because some are sacks and I don’t want him pulling the ball down so much. We had the QB running a little bit more than I wanted him to run.”

The common theme in the four consecutive losses, dating to last November, was “not executing, beating ourselves, got too many guys taking turns throwing stuff up,” Brown said. “And also guys not being prepared for the moment.

“I told the guys if nobody is in the stadium, and not a big hype around the game, you put a scout team or even our defense on the other side of the ball,… we got too many guys who execute when the pressure is not on. There’s a mental added pressure because.... it’s on prime time television. We had too many guys that didn’t show up and play the way they should be playing. We will fix that by wanting to get them better or find somebody else to do their job....

“Nobody’s job is ever safe. It’s a competitive environment. We got to do a really good job of putting guys in a spot where they can compete to push guys so no one has a chance to ever feels they’re relaxed or too comfortable or get complacent.”

Brown added that “If you are not self-motivated, it’s going to be tough for you period. Not just in this game of football, but life you will struggle, if you can’t look yourself in the face every day and motivate yourself to be great.”

Richt quibbled with any notion that the team wasn’t prepared. Malik Rosier had said UM wasn’t prepared for some blitzes but that coaches told him they can’t anticipate every possible blitz.

Brown said the UM staff wants to “get more guys involved in the game. We got young guys who can help us out a bunch. They’ve got to learn what to do. I am not going to throw you in the game and you can’t function for us and ending up hurting us.”

Susan Miller Degnan will have a piece on the quarterback situation. Rosier took three of the five sets of first team reps on Tuesday, with N’Kosi Perry and Cade Weldon taking one each.

Mark Richt wouldn’t discuss the size of the gap between Rosier and the backups.

Brown said freshman tight end Brevin Jordan, who logged nearly every snap against LSU, “played pretty well. True freshman coming in. Played 71 snaps, had limited missed assignments. I thought he played his butt off.”

Among other freshman, Brown praised Brian Hightower, who “continued to do what he has been doing in practice.”

Brown, asked why Ahmmon Richards and Travis Homer weren’t more involved in the first half, before Richards’ knee injury, answered this way:

“If you get down big, it’s hard to run the ball a whole lot. That takes Travis out of the game other than being able to pass protect. That does change the game a little bit. Got down too big, too fast. Ahmmon got banged up a little bit, so that took him out of the game a little bit. He’ll be fine.”

Richt said Richards’ knee is still an issue and he’s “day-to-day.”

On the offensive line: Brown suggested that Jahair Jones and Venzell Boulware will both continue to split left guard snaps. “We want to rotate guys up front to keep them fresh,” Brown said. “Venzell has done a good job coming in late, learning the system.”…

Guard Hayden Mahoney graded out best of the six offensive linemen who played….

UM on Monday changed the way it communicates on the offensive line to pick up blitzes. The question is why this wasn’t done before the LSU game.

Center Tyler Gauthier is now assuming a larger role in that. “Keep my head up so I can make calls for blitzes. We are doing it for the full game now. It went really well today. I think it is going to help us a lot.”

Brown said the change is “going to be huge.”

The line’s overall play wasn’t up to UM’s standards. “I haven’t slept very well the past two days,” Gauthier said. “We played better in camp than what we did that night. Whether it be nerves, I don’t know what it was for everyone. We came out with a lot of good things.”

But Richt said “most of the game, the protection was good.”

Richt’s impressions on UM’s defense against LSU: “The most disappointing thing was having opportunities for turnovers, ball on the ground and we don’t get on it. We had a ball hit our hands that could have been a pick, but we had a late hit on the quarterback. I don’t understand the [spearing] call on Trajan Bandy [which led to his first-quarter ejection].

“If [the receiver] catches the ball and becomes a runner, he’s not a defenseless player. He didn’t dive or torpedo the guy. I don’t want Trajan to stop tackling people aggressively. We can’t have that.”

UM opponents have converted 57 consecutive kicks against UM, including 25 field goals in a row, dating to a November 2016 game against Duke.” Every time they line up it [is good], unfortunately for us,” Richt said.

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