If the NFL’s passer rating formula were used on college quarterbacks, Malik Rosier would have a dismal 74.4 rating for the season. Among NFL quarterbacks who started this past weekend, only Josh Rosen and Derek Anderson have lower ratings.
N’Kosi Perry, by contrast, has a 96.2 passer rating, which would rank in the middle of the pack among NFL starters.
So why is Richt again starting Rosier when UM plays host to Duke on Saturday (7 p.m, ESPN2)?
Is Perry on some double secret probation after being reprimanded for an Instagram video holdings wads of cash?
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From what we’re told, no. And from what we understand, there is no new incident that has left Perry in the doghouse, though the staff would like to see more maturity from him.
Over the course of the past several months, there was one significant team event that Perry missed altogether (his mistake) and another that he arrived late. But these were not recent incidents and this is not the reason Richt continues to stick with Rosier.
Richt’s commitment to Rosier, as we explained last week, is based largely on Richt’s conviction that Rosier is much more adept at getting UM out of bad plays with audible calls and deciphering defenses. That’s critical in Richt’s thinking, and the loss to Boston College did nothing to change that belief.
“You call a play that has more than one answer so if they give you a different look, we know where to go with the ball if it is that coverage,” Richt explained on WQAM’s Hurricane Hotline.
And Rosier is better at that at this point.
But there’s a bit more to it than that.
UM believes Rosier is the better runner. He has 178 yards on 46 carries this season, a 3.9 average, and six TD runs.
Perry has rushed 32 times for 51 yards, a 1.6 average.
And this also has been a factor in Richt’s thinking:
He believes a lot of the breakdowns on UM’s offense — including a bunch in last Friday’s 27-14 loss at Boston College — are beyond Rosier’s control.
His first interception against Boston College was caused, in part, because one of Miami’s tackles (it appears as though it was D.J. Scaife) didn’t slide his protection over to the side that Rosier had ordered before the play started. But Tyree St. Louis also was beaten on the play.
“We decide we’re going to slide protection to the right and one guy doesn’t slide to the right and a free hitter hits the quarterback in the back of the head and we get a pick,” Richt told Joe Zagacki and Don Bailey Jr. on Hurricane Hotline.
“The quarterback is doing exactly what he’s supposed to do and the guy is open. But we make a little mistake.”
Another breakdown by Scaife — who was later benched — torpedoed a play in which Jeff Thomas was wide open and could have run for a touchdown if Rosier had the time to throw.
UM believes his receivers aren’t helping him enough. Lawrence Cager and Darrell Langham don’t consistently play to their size and Thomas was outfought for a ball last week.
Cager fell to the ground after one catch without making a move. Running back Travis Homer curiously ran out of bounds on another play.
From what we’re told, Mark Pope needs to really work on learning the playbook.
Freshman receiver Dee Wiggins dropped two catchable balls against BC.
And on one play last week, tight end Brevin Jordan ran the wrong route and was too close to Mike Harley Jr. That brought the defense to Harley, who otherwise would have been wide open for a potentially big gain. Instead, Rosier had to throw to Thomas for a much shorter gain. Jordan was supposed to be a decoy on that play.
On another play, freshman tight end Will Mallory was still in his stance when a Boston College defender ran right past him.
All of these mistakes being made by others have convinced Richt that Rosier isn’t the primary problem, that with even his accuracy issues, he would be putting more points on the board if players around him weren’t malfunctioning.
“That last drive, we had an open receiver for a walk in touchdown and couldn’t get the ball out there,” Richt said. “We had a guy running the wrong route that slowed the progress of the decision.”
The question about his quarterback decision, Richt said, goes well beyond the quarterback. The question, Richt said, is “will everyone do their job the way it’s supposed to be done.”