Spring ends for Mi­ami

QBs Rosier, Shirreffs gain sep­a­ra­tion from others

Sun Sentinel Broward Edition - - FRONT PAGE - By Christy Cabr­era Chiri­nos Staff writer

But quar­ter­back race for ’Canes still rag­ing on.

CO­RAL GABLES — When the spring prac­tice be­gan for the Hur­ri­canes last month, the mes­sage was sim­ple.

Though Hur­ri­canes coach Mark Richt would not name a quar­ter­back un­til the fall, there was a press­ing need to see which of the play­ers vy­ing for the job — Ma­lik Rosier, Evan Shirreffs, Jack Allison, Vin­cent Tes­taverde and Cade Wel­don — could be the most con­sis­tent.

As the Hur­ri­canes pre­pare to close out the spring with a fi­nal scrim­mage Sat­ur­day af­ter­noon at Boca Ra­ton High, it’s be­come ev­i­dent that Rosier and Shirreffs have dis­tanced them­selves fromthe pack of quar­ter­backs look­ing to fill the start­ing role left va­cated by the NFL bound Brad Kaaya.

The two have split the ma­jor­ity of first-team reps in res­tart­ing cent weeks and both have made plays that have im­pressed their coaches, team­mates and each other. But both ac­knowl­edge

there is still much work to be done, es­pe­cially with fresh­man N’Kosi Perry set to ar­rive next month and join the quar­ter­back race.

The big­gest chal­lenge they say they face? Be­ing more con­sis­tent, some­thing more than a few ob­servers of Mi­ami’s closed scrim­mages and prac­tices have noted has lacked through­out the spring.

“There have been mo­ments where you’ve seen Evan throw an amaz­ing ball, you’ve seen Jack through an amaz­ing ball, you’ve seen Cade do phe­nom­e­nal and then there are times we’ve just completely busted,” said Rosier, a red­shirt ju­nior who has served as Kaaya’s backup the last two sea­sons and is the only player in the group to have started an ACC game. “It’s one of those things.… Forus, the quar­ter­backs, we have to be more con­sis­tent and show [Richt] that ev­ery play, we’re go­ing to do the right thing ev­ery time. … There are times where every­one looks like the start­ing quar­ter­back, and then there’s times where it looks like [we] shouldn’t be here at Mi­ami. … We have to make sure ev­ery time we step on the field, we’re the start­ing quar­ter­back. That’s the big­gest thing we have to im­prove on.”

Added Shirreffs: “The main thing for me has been try­ing to showthat I’m con­sis­tent. Every­one’s go­ing to have a bad play here and there, but you have to min­i­mize those, come back the next play and just make up for it.”

The other chal­lenge fac­ing the even­tual starter is

“For us, the quar­ter­backs, we have to be more con­sis­tent and show [Richt] that ev­ery play, we’re go­ing to do the right thing ev­ery time.” Ma­lik Rosier, UM quar­ter­back

find­ing a way to command the hud­dle.

Un­der­stand­ably, nei­ther Rosier nor Shirreffs was very vo­cal last sea­son, each de­fer­ring to Kaaya and other veterans on the Mi­ami ros­ter.

But both have worked to make progress on that front, guid­ing team­mates and show­ing they can han­dle the chal­lenges that could come their way when it’s not their de­fense chas­ing them down in prac­tice, but for ex­am­ple, the one they’ll see in Week Three when Mi­ami trav­els to Tallahassee to face Florida State.

“I think those guys have sep­a­rated them­selves, and they’ve taken most of the first-team reps par­tially be­cause of them be­ing able to re­tain the in­for­ma­tion and know­ing what to do with it, but also tak­ing command,” Hur­ri­canes of­fen­sive co­or­di­na­tor Thomas Brown said. “There’s still go­ing to be a long process like we’ve been say­ing from day one … Ob­vi­ously last year, they were com­pet­ing for a spot, but still, in the back of your mind, be­liev­ing I’m go­ing to be the backup to Brad, it’s dif­fi­cult to re­ally go out there and show out ev­ery sin­gle snap.… Know­ing it’s a wide-open job and you have an op­por­tu­nity and it’s go­ing to be on you to de­cide whether or not you step up to the chal­lenge or let some­body else beat you out, it’s made those guys kind of an­swer the bell a lit­tle bit more.”

While Rosier and Shirreffs may have used the spring to sep­a­rate them­selves from the rest of the quar­ter­backs in the race, Richt noted ear­lier this week the hi­er­ar­chy in the quar­ter­back room can change, even be­fore the Hur­ri­canes open camp.

And he’s not op­posed to con­tin­u­ing to chal­lenge his quar­ter­backs once the sea­son be­gins.

“We may start some­body and … It’s not like we have an es­tab­lished guy where he’s got three games to strug­gle and we know he’s still the guy,” Richt said. “I’m not say­ing we’re go­ing to have a quick trig­ger, but I’m not go­ing to sit here all day, two, three games and let a guy die on the vine if he’s not han­dling it well. But the thing you have to learn in quar­ter­back play, too is, you have to de­ter­mine if you’re not scor­ing points: Is it be­cause the quar­ter­back is strug­gling or is it be­cause we’re hav­ing trou­ble run­ning the ball or pro­tect­ing, things like that. We have to be care­ful not to yank him for no good rea­son, but the bot­tom line is, we’re try­ing to find who can han­dle the pres­sure of this job when the time comes.”

AL DIAZ/TNS

Ma­lik Rosier (12) and Evan Shirreffs have dis­tanced them­selves in the quar­ter­back chase, but a de­ci­sion is still a long ways off for coach Mike Richt.

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