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Mark Richt makes right move by sticking with N’Kosi Perry

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A little faith goes a long way to building for the future.

NCAA Football: Savannah State at Miami Jasen Vinlove-USA TODAY Sports

On Saturday, the Miami Hurricanes defeated the rival Florida State Seminoles 28-27. While the end result was what Miami wanted, the game didn’t progress smoothly, by any stretch of the imagination.

Plagued by turnovers, bad special teams, and a comedy of errors on offense, the Canes found themselves facing a 20-7 deficit at halftime. And Mark Richt found himself facing a decision: stick with redshirt freshman N’Kosi Perry or go back to redshirt senior Malik Rosier at QB.

For his part, Perry’s start was inauspicious to put it mildly. He went 7/18 for 89 yards, 1 TD, 2 sacks, and a fumble in the first half. And, even the touchdown was hard fought, as it came on 4th and 2 from the FSU 10 yardline.

Even with as bad as things looked for Miami, down 20-7 and struggling to get things going, Perry had fared better than Malik Rosier did against FSU in the first half of the 2017 game between the rivals. Before leading a comeback of his own in 2017, Rosier went 4/16 for 34 yards in the first half against the Noles.

So yeah, 7/18 for 89 and a TD is a vast improvement.

Back to the lecture at hand: Mark Richt, looking for something to spark his team, considered changing QBs at halftime. He said as much post-game, and reiterated those comments on Monday morning on The Joe Rose Show in Miami. And, though he considered a switch, he made the right choice by sticking with Perry.

Perry is the better player now, and has much, MUCH more potential than Rosier. “His ceiling is so high,” Richt said on The Joe Rose Show, a nod to Perry’s immense talent. And, in the 2nd half, we saw that potential become realized with 3 TD passes from the young QB, and several other perfect passes as well.

I wrote this when making the case for starting Brad Kaaya as a true freshman, and again last year in a piece about Perry, but to be successful, when you go to a young QB, you have to stick with the young QB. Rotating guys and having a short leash does nothing good for the player, or the team, and those moves can be damaging in the long term. With Perry, who has the kind of athleticism and talent a QB at Miami should possess, that’s not something that anybody wants to see.

The case for playing Rosier at the half is the same as the case to play him at any other time, or leaving him as the starter (which we’ve already seen isn’t the case): it’s the easy, safe option. You know what you’re going to get from a 23 year old 5th year senior who has started 18 games in his career more than you do from a 19 year old redshirt freshman making his 2nd career start against a hated rival.

Comfort isn’t, and shouldn’t be, the determining factor as to who plays at QB. And I’m glad Mark Richt didn’t rely on that to make his decision at halftime of the FSU game.

It took until the 5th game of this season to make the move to go to Perry as Miami’s QB, and it took until halftime of the 6th game for that decision to be tested. In the heat of the moment, facing a large deficit, Mark Richt and Miami made the right choice: sticking with Perry and trusting the more talented player to go out and make plays and win the game.

Now that he’s done just that, beating Miami’s hated rivals in only his 2nd career start, Perry has earned some much needed confidence in his coaches, and in himself.

Sometimes the best decisions are made by trusting something you’ve already done.

For Mark Richt and Miami, sticking with N’Kosi Perry at QB is absolutely one of those decisions.

Go Canes