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Miami Hurricanes 2018 Position Preview: Quarterback

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Yup. It’s time to talk about the most important position on the field

NCAA Football: Syracuse at Miami Jasen Vinlove-USA TODAY Sports

For the Miami Hurricanes in 2018, all eyes will be on the quarterback position. With a loaded group of skill players, and a defense that has been transformed into one of the best units in CFB, good and consistent QB play may be the key for Miami’s season.

Coaching

Miami has 2 coaches who work with the QBs: Head Coach Mark Richt and QB Coach Jon Richt. The pair have both played QB at the college level — CMR at Miami — and have coached the position for a long time. I wrote about Jon Richt earlier this summer, and he’s solid at the position. CMR has groomed several 1st round picks and award-winning QBs in his career, with players such as Charlie Ward, Casey Weldon, Aaron Murray, and Matthew Stafford benefitting from his tutelage.

CMR has been very clear on what he needs from the QB: 1. doing what they’re told, 2. being consistent. That means consistent with footwork — the key to playing the position in CMR’s system — consistent with accurate ball placement, consistent with operating the offense (in and out of the huddle), consistent with checking at the line (if necessary). Just overall consistency. And, with that, CMR is comfortable with older players who have been around the system longer and know better what he wants, even if they’re not the most talented player at the position.

The Starter

In case you’ve been living under a rock, you know that the Miami Hurricanes are going to start redshirt senior Malik Rosier at QB in 2018. Going into his 5th year at Miami and 3rd in Richt’s system, Rosier is the elder statesman at the QB position. Here are his stats from 2017:

224 completions, 415 attempts, 54.0% completion %, 3120 yards, 7.5 yards/attempt, 26 TD, 14 INT, 131.05 rating, 31.9 attempts/game, 240 yards/game

131 carries, 468 yards, 3.57 yards/carry, and 5 TDs

Rosier’s struggles with consistency in the passing game are well documented — I mean, he completed 54% of his passes for the YEAR and just 41% of his passes in the Canes’ season-ending 3-game losing streak. Even still, his “counting stats” of yards, and TDs — he set a program record for combined TDs by a QB in a season last year — were among the best in the ACC.

Rosier also brought something to the table that hadn’t been seen at Miami in years: a QB run threat.

The Alabama-native ran more times in 2017 than Miami QBs ran in the previous 4 seasons COMBINED. As the season went on, Rosier’s running ability was an important part of the offensive gameplan, and a key to big wins against Virginia Tech and Notre Dame in the 2nd half of the year.

Even though Mark Richt said in the spring that the QB position (as with all positions) was “an open competition”, that wasn’t really the case. Rosier got the majority of the 1st team reps, and was QB1 throughout the spring. Unless something truly unforeseen happens, he’ll be the starter for Miami this season, as well.

Rosier, who struggled mightily down the stretch in Miami’s 3-game losing streak to end the year, will need to find the upper boundary of his performance from 2017 and leave the lowlights in the past.

The Reserves

Beyond Rosier, there are 3 other scholarship QBs on the roster. They are:

  • Redshirt Freshman N’Kosi Perry. An athletically gifted player, the 6’4” 195lb Perry has a elusive running style and the strongest arm of any player on the roster. He still needs to grow in his knowledge of the offense and get used to the speed of the game if he’s going to challenge Rosier for the starting job.
  • Redshirt Freshman Cade Weldon. The son of a former Richt-coached QB — former FSU started Casey Weldon — Weldon has the pedigree to be a solid player at the position. He’s got physical tools, but seems to be behind others in this position group.
  • True Freshman Jarren Williams. Miami made a late charge to flip the 4-star Williams from Kentucky, and that move paid off by getting this player with immense potential. Williams is probably the most naturally gifted passer of anyone on the roster, and his future seems bright. The game looked to be a bit too fast for him in the spring — Williams was an early enrollee so he was in spring practice instead of having an easy final semester of HS — but there were flashes of great potential.

Outlook

Whether you’re for or against it, Malik Rosier is going to be Miami’s starting QB in 2018. The highs are sky-high when Rosier is in rhythm, but the lows are catastrophic when he’s not.

Miami has the roster to challenge yet again for a College Football Playoff berth, and Rosier’s play is going to be instrumental in that pursuit. As I said above, CMR is looking for consistency from his QB. In his only year starting, Rosier and consistency had an on-again, off-again relationship. He would be the best QB you’d ever seen for a half, and the worst QB in P5 football in the other half OF THE SAME GAME. That can’t continue.

With other talented players at the position — namely N’Kosi Perry and Jarren Williams — Miami could look to get a spark by changing QB if “Bad Malik” shows up for extended stretches this year.

But absent that, and absent an injury to Rosier, the redshirt senior is going to be the guy at QB this season. Here’s hoping he’s found the consistency we all want and need from the QB over this summer, or else this season may not meet our lofty expectations.


I know you have thoughts, so share them in the comments below.

Go Canes