Mark Richt before final spring scrimmage
The Jerry’s Pizza of Mark Richt’s youth is gone, but Fran’s Chicken Haven — “If the Colonel had our fried chicken recipe he’d be a general,” as the window reads — has been thriving since 1964.
Richt, the University of Miami football coach, said he plans to visit Fran’s for some fried chicken this weekend when he returns to his alma mater, Boca Raton High (Class of 1977), on Saturday for the final spring scrimmage/game of 2017.
And if his Hurricanes — especially the quarterbacks — rise to the occasion, that chicken might taste extra crispy.
This scrimmage, like the other two, is closed to the general public but open to friends and family of the players. Also attending will be recruits and high school coaches, some UM boosters and for the first time this spring, the media.
“We’re going to go orange and white,’’ Richt said, explaining the format. “We will have some guys on offense in orange and some guys on defense in orange, and vice versa. It’s going to look like a game, but it’ll mostly be all ones [first team] vs. ones and twos vs. twos. It’ll play like a game.”
On Tuesday, the last time Richt addressed the media, he reiterated that this spring for him has been mostly about monitoring the quarterbacks vying to replace NFL-bound Brad Kaaya — especially during the scrimmages.
Though offensive coordinator/running backs coach Thomas Brown said Thursday that there is “definitely’’ no leader among the quarterbacks this spring, redshirt junior Malik Rosier and redshirt sophomore Evan Shirreffs have surpassed newcomer Cade Weldon and redshirt freshman Jack Allison (injured shoulder on April 8), according to multiple people inside the program.
Allison returned to practice last Tuesday in a limited capacity, and Richt said his “best guess’’ is that he will compete Saturday, the final day of spring football.
“If he can throw the ball with enough juice on it, like we know he can, he will,’’ Richt said. “If he’s less than himself throwing the ball, we won’t let him do it.’’
Regardless, the quarterback race will still be in full bore when highly rated, dual-threat signal caller N’Kosi Perry arrives on campus for his first fall camp.
When asked if he thinks all the quarterbacks are still in the competition, Richt said: “I don’t know, to be honest with you. But even if they’re not in it in regard to the first day of camp, like I’ve told some of them, I told them all, ‘It may look different at the beginning of fall camp than it does at the end of spring. It may look different at the end of fall camp than it does right now. It may look different after Game 4 or 5, Game 2.’
“I mean, I don’t know. It’s a very fluid thing. We may start somebody … it’s not like we have an established guy where he’s got like three games to struggle and we know he’s still the guy. I’m not saying we’re going to have a quick trigger but we’re not going to sit here all day, or two, three games, and just let the guy die on the vine if he’s not handling it well.
“… We have to be careful not to yank him for no good reason,’’ Richt added. “The bottom line is we’re trying to find who can handle the pressure of this job when the time comes.”