Mark Richt coached eight quarterbacks during his time at the University of Georgia, five of which started multiple years. Although quarterbacks like Matthew Stafford and Aaron Murray set passing records in conference and at the school, only one quarterback rushed for over 300 yards in a season -- D.J. Shockley.
Shockley rushed for over 100 yards in all four seasons as the Georgia quarterback, and ran for 322 yards during his 2005 senior season. Shockley was the only true dual-threat Richt started under his regime, and the 6’1” quarterback helped lead Georgia to an SEC Championship during his last season on campus.
Shockley’s ability to evade pressure was critical in Georgia’s title run, and helped Mark Richt win his final SEC title at Georgia. The Bulldogs moved their way into the rankings several times afterward with Matthew Stafford and Aaron Murray at the helm, but late in Richt’s regime quarterbacks such as Hutson Mason and Greyson Lambert sank the ship. Mobile SEC quarterbacks such as Nick Marshall took the conference by storm, and provided a different factor to an offense Georgia didn’t have. By that point in Richt’s regime, he had stopped calling plays, and his time in Athens ended after the 2015 season.
Fast forward to his arrival in Coral Gables, and Richt was given returning starter Brad Kaaya at quarterback once he resumed his duties as a play-caller. But while Kaaya led the ‘Canes to a 9 win season, Richt was ready to move towards a new era at the quarterback position. After securing a commitment from N’Kosi Perry early in the process, Richt took a step towards a new type of quarterback. He recognized the shifting of landscape in an era where even Alabama has put out a mobile passer.
After a loss at Virginia Tech, it was never more apparent that Miami would be moving in a different type of direction in future years, after he said that if you don’t have a dual-threat quarterback the defense can “outnumber you in the run game” in certain cases.
This does not mean Miami will change their offensive system, but the addition of someone who can extend plays like the one below can be vital for an offense.
The initials “RPO” have become engrained in the minds of Hurricanes fans after it was heavily run this past season. Although it gives the quarterback a run option, however, Kaaya finished the season with negative 136 rushing yards according to stats.washingtonpost.com.
While poor offensive line play is the main reason for the negative statistics, defensive numbers worked against the offense during run-pass option plays. The two images below show the difference in the defense with Kaaya running a read option play as opposed to dual-threat quarterback Lamar Jackson.
With the ability to engage much more even defensive fronts, a running quarterback should bring a different dimension to Miami’s offense. Whether or not the D.J. Shockley comparison fits N’Kosi Perry’s mold isn’t the real question. What Shockley proved and showcased during his 2005 SEC championship run is that Richt’s offense works to perfection with a quarterback who can evade pressure, and with the recent evolution of run-pass options, Perry could take Miami’s offense to previously unknown places if he is able to develop into his potential.