Despite a fourth consecutive subpar performance that ended in a loss, senior Malik Rosier remains No. 1 at quarterback for No. 22 Miami going into Saturday’s game against Savannah State.
Kickoff is at 6 p.m. at Hard Rock Stadium in Miami Gardens. ACC Network Extra stations will have the telecast.
Hurricanes coach Mark Richt confirmed at his weekly media session that Rosier will start this week. He even chuckled when the inevitable question about Rosier’s status came up.
“You-all can ask all the QB questions you want,” he said, “but if there’s ever a time for a change, I’ll tell you.”
Rosier passed for 250 yards in Sunday night’s loss to then-No. 25 LSU, but he also had two interceptions, one that LSU returned for a touchdown.
The gap between Rosier and backups N’Kosi Perry, Cade Weldon and Julian Williams may be closing.
“All those guys are getting better,” he said. “They’re all getting better. I’m not going to say who’s going to play in this game and who’s not. The guys who deserve to play will play.”
Perry was suspended for the opener for an undisclosed violation that dated back at least six months, Richt said, but wasn’t revealed until the day before the season opener.
Richt said Perry is “excited” to be back. He also defended Rosier, noting that criticism of him may be too harsh at times.
“I know what we’re telling him,” he said. “I know what we’re teaching him. I know what he’s seeing and what he’s dealing with on any particular play.
“The common fan doesn’t really know what we’re asking to do on this play or that play or why’d he do this or why’d he do that. They just look at the numbers and, ‘Did he complete so many or did he not? Did he throw an interception or did he not?’
“We grade him — quite frankly he’s got a job to do. We grade him for his job. We grade him for his technique. We grade him for a decision that he makes, good or bad. We grade him for his accuracy. No quarterback has ever been perfect and we understand that.”
Rosier’s maturity is a big advantage. Perry and Weldon are redshirt freshmen, Williams a true freshman.
“That group was a little immature,” Richt said. “To their credit, I mentioned it earlier, I think they’re growing up. I think they’re maturing. I think they’re closer to being man enough to be that guy. That’s a tough job because of the scrutiny of the position as much as anything.
“But competition is good, and we’ll always be competing.”
If things go as expected, Richt should have the opportunity to see some of the backups in action when Savannah State visits. The Tigers are coming off a 52-0 opening loss to UAB in their opener and lost the only meeting with the Hurricanes 77-7 five years ago.
The Tigers got off to a slow start last year, losing their first seven games, but they won three of their last four to finish 3-8.
“I still feel like we’re a pretty young team,” coach Erik Raeburn said. “The difference is the young guys we have have played in games for us. They have some game experience and they have some familiarity with our system.”
That didn’t really pay much in the way of dividends in the opener, however. The Tigers fell back 28-0 at the half. They managed to rush for 155 yards but passed for only 23. UAB rolled up 548 yards of total offense.
Miami, meanwhile, got a big game out of sophomore wide receiver Jeff Thomas (132 receiving yards on just five catches), and backup running back DeeJay Dallas provided a bit of a spark in the running game, though finishing with just 38 yards.
But the availability of No. 1 receiver Ahmonn Richards remains in doubt. He took a hit on his knee after making one catch for a nine-yard gain and is considered “day-to-day” this week.