After Miami stumbled down the stretch last season, could a change at quarterback be in order for Mark Richt?
No position in football receives more attention than quarterback, and with the constant turnover at the college level, QB controversies are abound every off-season. Certainly, a long-time head coach like Mark Richt knows all about it.
Miami got fairly strong play from the position last season. Junior Malik Rosier took the reins after Brad Kaaya's departure to the NFL, and wound up throwing for 3,120 yards 26 touchdowns, and 14 interceptions. he also rushed for 468 yards and five scores.
It wasn't all positive for Rosier however. He had a pretty pedestrian end to the season, failing to complete more thn 48.3-percent of his passes in The U's final three games, all losses.
After starting the year 10-0, Miami suffered a surprising loss to Pitt to end the regular season, and was dominated by Clemson in the ACC Championship and handled pretty easily by Wisconsin in the Orange Bowl, despite playing what was essentially a home game.
Rosier was held to 500 yards, three touchdowns, and threw five interceptions in those games. He completed just 44.9-percent of his throws in that stretch, and after averaging a decent 7.52 yards per attempt through the entire season, that mark was at a very pedestrian 5.62 in those final three.
Naturally, after that poor finish, fans are questioning whether Rosier has a grip on the starting job heading into 2018. ESPN's David Hale spoke with Mark Richt, who is not wavering on Rosier atop the depth chart right now.
So Malik Rosier. Is he your quarterback? Is there a competition? How secure is that job?
Richt: Malik is the starting quarterback, for sure. Someone's got to dethrone him. Someone's got to beat him out if that's going to happen. It's not like -- to say it's wide open, every position is wide open because we want a competition at every level. Every player that comes back talks about the greatest competition they had was on the practice field. And I also want to go into this season with a sort of first-year mentality. Let's go compete. Show us you're ready to take somebody's job. But Malik is the starting quarterback, and he's going to be unless somebody knocks him off the perch.
Rosier threw all but eight passes for the Hurricanes last season. None of those were tossed by former four-star recruit N'Kosi Perry, the No. 7 dual-threat quarterback in the class of 2017, who sat out as a true freshman.
Richt was asked about Perry's progress, and while he acknowledged that the young Floridian will be "fun to watch one day," he didn't equivocate about the position either. Richt said that Rosier "practiced better than everybody and by a clear margin."
So for 2018, expect Rosier to be the guy in September, barring injury or a surprise practice breakout by Perry or another signal caller. Miami opens its season with a big game against LSU in Arlington, Texas.