Barry Jackson

A former UM coach shares offensive concerns while Mark Richt addresses coaching staff

A six-pack of Canes notes on a Tuesday:

Add former Canes/Dolphins/Dallas Cowboys coach Jimmy Johnson to the list of people who believe a strong case could be made for Mark Richt to give up play-calling.

But Richt said Tuesday he has given no thought to allowing his top offensive assistant to call plays for any remaining game this season.

“When you have high expectations and you don’t meet those expectations, there’s going to be disappointment,’’ Johnson told WQAM’s Joe Rose show. “Obviously, there’s going to be heat. Let me say up front: I like Mark Richt. I think he’s done a really outstanding job of going out and recruiting good players.

“But I also will say this, and I’ve said this from Day One, and Joe you know [it]. I’ve said that as far as the head coach calling the plays -- [and] I used to have this discussion with Norv Turner -- Norv is as good an offensive coordinator as there was — or is. And yet as a head coach, he continued to call plays. I told him, I said, ‘Norv, you’ve got to oversee the whole thing.’

“There are so many demands on your time that I’d much rather have a guy calling plays that spends night and day, 24 hours a day, seven days a week, working on that one thing. I think it’s even in harder in college than what it is in pro football. In pro football, there are some demands on a head coach’s time, but you’re 90 percent football.

“A college head coach? Hmm. There are a lot demands on your time. With the alumni. With the university. With recruiting. It’s hard to be on top of it night and day 24 hours a day. I’d much rather have someone doing it that’s doing it all the time.”

I asked Richt if he has considered or plans to consider having offensive coordinator Thomas Brown call plays to see if that’s a viable alternative for next season. “Right now, I’ve not even thought about that,” he said.

I asked Richt if he is of the mindset that A) his staff is great and this is the staff he wants to move forward with next season or B) if he wants to use the final month of the season to evaluate if he wants to make staff changes.

“I don’t make any decision like that in-season,” he said. “But number one, I can answer that I have faith in this staff.”

Richt has not picked a starting quarterback but said he’s unlikely to use two quarterbacks Saturday.

“We will stick to whoever becomes the starter,” he said of Malik Rosier and N’Kosi Perry. “I see both of them battling. I see both of them battling to show they should be the starter. I do think our young quarterbacks are talented and have the skill set to get the job done. I do believe these guys have the ability to get it done.”

I’ve been on record as saying UM shouldn’t invest a single additional snap in Rosier because Richt needs to determine which of the young quarterbacks can play and give them experience before next season.

So I asked Richt if he will start the quarterback who gives him the best chance to win every remaining game, or — because they’re not winning a national title this season — if a case could be made in investing quarterback snaps only in kids now. He said he will always start the quarterback who gives UM the best chance to win.

“People can make that case, but I am looking to win games,” he responded. “That’s what we are here to do, and we owe it to our seniors and veterans. Our thought process is to try to win these games. That’s it.”

Richt then walked out, ending the press conference. (He was probably going to end it very very soon after anyway.)

Defensive coordinator Manny Diaz confirmed there have been some player-only meetings: “I know we have to play better. Everyone should be angry. What happened last Saturday is wrong, and we have to fix it. We’ve got to get playing better. To me, that’s all that matters.”

Defensive tackle Gerald Willis said some players have encouraged him not to play in a bowl game in order to preserve his health for the NFL, but he won’t follow that advice…. Defensive end Jon Garvin said it’s shocking UM is not yet bowl eligible.

UM has lost two oral commitments since the Duke loss — three-star running back Marcus Crowley flipped to Ohio State and three-star Miami Palmetto High safety Cornelius Nunn Jr. decommitted three weeks after committing to UM.

What’s more, the Canes’ top offensive line commitment, four-star Citra, Florida.-based tackle Michael Tarquin, is now considering UF. “It obviously makes things difficult, I’m considering Florida a lot right now,” Tarquin told Canesport.com. “It’s tough. I’m considering Miami just as much.”

Couple UM basketball notes with the season opening Friday against Lehigh: ESPN’s Fran Fraschilla said off air the UM coaches “are really excited about [point guard] Chris Lykes and specifically have shown him tape of [Sacramento Kings and former Kansas point guard] Frank Mason Jr. because they want him to play with his speed and ability to shoot the ball with that same type of bulldog mentality. Because Chris is a DC kid, he already has bulldog in him but Frank Mason Jr. would be the perfect guy for Chris Lykes to emulate.”…

UM is redshirting center Rodney Miller

UM people expect Florida Gulf Coast transfer Zach Johnson to be a major help. “He’ll be one of our better players,” coach Jim Larranaga said. “He’s a combo guard, kind of like Bruce Brown. He’s also very good off the ball, a very good defensive player. He fits in very, very well with us. He’s had a very, very good preseason when he’s been healthy.”

He chose UM over Louisville after UM forward Dewan Hernandez (formerly Dewan Huell) called him every day during the time he was considering his next school; the two were high school teammates at Miami Norland.

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