2018 is going to be all about the quarterbacks. Make no mistake about it. Ever since the Hurricanes walked out of Hard Rock Stadium as Orange Bowl losers, one question has repeatedly been asked of this team all off-season and spring; what are they going to do at QB?
For all the good Malik Rosier did, clutch wins all season, beating FSU, mistake-free against Notre Dame, his inconsistency and the concerning way 2017 ended has made him the player with the hottest seat entering this season. For now, Mark Richt has declared him the starting quarterback and, barring injury, that won’t change up until Week 1 against LSU. Like it or not, Malik is going to be taking the bulk of the snaps against the Tiger’s defense come September 2.
So what should we expect from Rosier and the QBs around him? Here is how the best case, worst case and most likely scenarios should play out for this position group. Ultimately, Miami will go as far as their QB(s) can take them.
Best Case Scenario
Malik Rosier keeps the job and shows growth from 2017 to 18. He’s still dangerous with his feet and Richt calls more option plays, QB draws and bootlegs to allow the most gifted athlete Miami has had at QB in some time to make plays. In addition to being a scrambling threat, Rosier shows more consistency in the passing game and limits the number of interceptions he throws. His completion percentage perks up from a dreadful 54% to a more respectable 59-60%.
Rosier keeps the offense humming along and in the aftermath of some blowout wins over teams like UNC, Georgia Tech and Pitt, allows the newbies to get meaningful in-game snaps. Rosier leads this team over Clemson and a playoff appearance while the Canes’ feel ready for 2019 when N’Kosi Perry and Jarren Williams battle for the starting gig.
Worst Case Scenario
Rosier has a flat-out awful performance against a feisty, turnover-creating Tigers’ defense and his leash gets shorter. He rebounds against the cupcakes early in the season but still looks like a 50/50 passer, unable to play with the consistency needed at the position. Richt turns to the young guns in the meat of the schedule and finds them not ready for primetime.
Uneven QB play hurts the team and embroils the locker room, forcing players to choose sides between Rosier, Perry and possibly Williams. The team falls short of its 11-win mark in 2017 and finishes 9-3. Richt will have to hope Perry or Williams are better in 2019 or he might be starting a true freshman.
2018 Rosier looks a lot like 2017 Rosier. He has a better rhythm with his players and having a healthy Ahmmon Richards and an infusion of freshman talent helps him to play with better consistency. He maintains the job and leads the team to victory week after week, even if some of them are ugly, close wins over teams with a lot of +6 and +7s next to their names on the betting line.
Rosier hits a cold patch toward the end of the season and Richt turns to Perry, who looks good and has a bit more consistency, both good and bad. Richt decides to ride with the guy everyone here at SOTU wants to see as the starter and Miami still gets to the ACC Championship game. They fall to Clemson once again but play a competitive game, avenging the loss with a big Orange Bowl victory. Perry is the guy for 2019 and Miami looks ready for a real Natty run.