To start the season, I wrote a story on what resources (coaching staff and cohorts) new starting quarterback, Malik Rosier, had at his disposal to create his own legacy and lead the Canes to greatness. Over a quarter into the season, things are going as planned for the signal caller. With a 3-0 start, a 21-day hiatus, and a canceled trip to Arkansas State, Rosier is looking very strong. As Coach Mark Richt stated during his Duke post-game interview and can be applied to his other games, "for the most part, (Rosier) played well [and] he has done some really outstanding things."
Let’s break this comment down. "For the most part" stems from his two horrific interceptions where he missed open targets high over the middle of the field. There has also been a few passes skipped to WR’s and bad reads when he rushed and didn’t set his feet. The "outstanding things” Coach Richt mentioned has to be his 10 total TD’s and 917 total yards. He also boasts a 65.5 completion percentage and an average QB rating of 161.1 per game. From the highlights of the Bethune Cookman University, University of Toledo and Duke University games you can see his touch, deep ball accuracy, decision making, and running ability on display.
Going into Saturday’s contest against the Hurricanes biggest rivalry, Florida State University, he has the full confidence of the coaches and is a leader on the team which he displayed during halftime of the Toledo game when he challenged the WRs to win 1-on-1 battles. With his performances, he is also starting to get noticed on a national level, even if it is via a subtweet. But, despite all of this, there remains outside noise within the fan base. Forget being great, they still don't believe he should be in the driver's seat.
On Saturday, he has the opportunity to win over those non-believers by ending the current 7-year losing streak. Like in any rivalry game, stats, numbers, and percentages aren't enough. His predecessor, Brad Kayaa (now with the Carolina Panthers), had 3 statistically strong games against FSU, including 935 passing yards and a 7-2 TD/INT ratio. However, the only thing everyone remembers is that he never won the big game. Rosier’s leadership skills and intangibles will need to be on full display on the road at Doak Campbell Stadium as this will be a mentally tasking game, especially in the second half.
Despite FSU currently being unranked (1-2), with a victory, it will be Rosier’s first signature win (his current best win is at #22 Duke in 2015) and will be the Canes first 2-0 start in the ACC since 2013. This will undoubtedly answer any questions about Rosier’s winning ability and mark the start of his legacy. It will also sway the support of the passionate Canes fans. But if they lose...it could do significant damage to both Rosier and the team’s psyche, and I would fully expect the chatter to get louder and the questions to start mounting.
Let me know your thoughts on Malik Rosier.