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Miami Hurricanes Football: Why After Spring, Most of the Position Battles Remain Unsettled

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From the ongoing battle to be QB1, to figuring out the pecking order among cornerbacks, the answers to these questions continue into the summer.

Capital One Orange Bowl - Miami v Wisconsin Photo by Rob Foldy/Getty Images

We all want our goods or services in a timely fashion. We want that coffee today, not in 20 minutes. Whether it is patiently waiting for the car ahead of you to move off the green light or waiting for your phone to finally finish those long overdue updates, we want our information or conclusion as soon as possible these days. When it comes to seeking information from most college football programs, your patience is surely to be tested and assumptions allowed to run free down the sideline.

Head coach Mark Richt has been transparent with the fanbase when it comes to the quarterback competition that they were clamoring for before the end of the 2017 season. Sticking to the script, CMR has maintained that incumbent starter Malik Rosier is the number one at the position throughout spring practices.

From what was reported by coaches and teammates, Rosier’s competitors have all made strides towards being better players at the position.The storyline of whether one candidate of a trio of freshmen QBs, N’Kosi Perry (redshirt freshman), Cade Weldon (redshirt freshman), and Jarren Williams can dethrone Rosier, who has an 11-3 win-loss record as a starter will be prolonged for a couple more months. Despite that, Rosier remained at the top of the depth chart with challengers trying to catch up to the senior QB. It appeared that Rosier was going to receive a ringing endorsement after the final team scrimmage. Instead, CMR kept that door of competition ajar.

Tyler Gauthier would be shouldering plenty of responsibility should this scenario play out. That said, the answer to the question “Are you saying there’s still a chance someone not named Rosier starts for the Hurricanes next season?” would be a yes.

It’s because of this reason that the door is still open for competition, which means nothing will be revealed until the opening moments before kickoff against LSU. I’m not mad at the coaching staff at all for keeping all avenues open in this regard. Week one opponent LSU is doing the same thing—praising all the signal-callers, yet remaining mum on who the guy will be to start the opening series. This idea of gamesmanship is not lost on anyone in college football.

Quarterback is not the only position that remains up in the air over the summer. While Michael Irvin II and Brian Polendey finished spring practices on a high note, the real competition begins with Brevin Jordan and Will Mallory getting enrolled over the summer and entering the fray. Did the two tight ends do enough to help give them a leg up before the young pups enter the tight end room? That’s another query that we won’t find out until opening day as well.

Co-offensive coordinator/RB Coach Thomas Brown put spring practices for most of the roster into context. A player may not win a starting job in the spring, but they can put together enough goodwill to influence coaches later in the year as the field of competition grows. So you may not win the job now, but that highlight reel you made in spring will help you out in later auditions.

Greg Rousseau
After an impressive spring debut, the question isn’t when DE Greg Rousseau will hit the field, but how many sacks will he secure when he does.
247 Sports

No one shone more this spring than DE Gregory Rousseau. Expected to be a project, and considered raw, there was modest expectations for the freshman entering the fall. Then Rosseau started to wreak havoc in practice. He followed that up by disrupting the offense in the team’s first scrimmage. That continued into the spring game, as fans got to catch their first glimpse of the edge-rushing prodigy. Defensive coordinator Manny Diaz adds another pass-rusher to a front-seven that is littered with capable defenders coming off the edge that now includes the former Hialeah resident.

With a sizeable portion of the Surge ‘18 recruiting class enrolled, there’s reasonable expectation that a majority of the class will contribute immediately. Whether that is freshman phenom RB Lorenzo Lingard, either of Miami’s defensive backs, Gilbert Frierson or DJ Ivey, or the aforementioned Greg Rousseau remains to be seen. You’ll be pleased to know that this team is only going to get better over the summer. The early enrollees got a taste of what practices, scrimmages and camp will be like later in the year. That group also knows what they need to work on this summer to be ready for the grind that is the college football season.

With more contributing depth on the way from that touted 2018 recruiting class in the form of DT Nesta Silvera and WR Mark Pope—the tight ends mentioned earlier—the heat will be most definitely turned up before Mark Richt takes the field for his third season as UM head coach. The reinforcements are on their way, with the camp battles set to rise along with the mercury. The lack of depth at some positions really forced CMR to run practices in a way that he has not done in the past. With more players getting settled on campus, the gloves will be off.

Even though there were no definitive answers given to who the leader is in most of the competitions from the spring, there is plenty of room for you to make the case for ‘your guy’ to either remain or become a starter.

One competition—if you can call it that—was the challenge set forth by the coaching staff for guys to step up and assume more of a leadership role. From LB Michael Pinckney to RB Travis Homer to new father CB Michael Jackson, the team is brimming with options that are capable of being excellent leaders on the team. It’s those leaders that will be counted on from now until training camp to not only deliver when called upon, but to get the most from their teammates. A healthy and focused Robert Burns helps Miami and allows starting RB Travis Homer to rest a bit more. If Ahmmon Richards is on the field, how are opponents going to defend Jeff Thomas one-on-one with no help? Yes, this team is loaded with stars; but those same stars need to help make their teammates better to truly be considered impact players.

Returning back to position battles, essentially all the competitions that Miami entered spring with remain unchanged as of now. Surely, the coaching staff has a top secret depth chart with a projection of what they really think. For now, those of us outside of the football offices have to decipher coach-speak and innuendos to get to the bottom of what’s really going on. We just wish to have those answers before September 2nd.

So while you’re looking for answers, there remains just as many questions before the 2018 season. In this much-too-long off-season, everyone is allowed to think they have a chance… even if it’s wishful thinking at its best.