Mark Richt is sticking with the veteran. The Miami Hurricanes coach announced during the weekly Atlantic Coast Conference coaches teleconference Wednesday that Malik Rosier will remain Miami’s starting quarterback when the Hurricanes return to action Oct. 26 against Boston College.
“Malik is going to start,” Richt said, noting more than once that redshirt freshman N’Kosi Perry, who started the past three games, will also play at BC. “Again, my goal always is to try to get the guy I think gives us the best shot. At this point, I think it is Malik, so that’s what we decided.”
Rosier started the first four games of the season for the Hurricanes before Richt benched him in favor of Perry. Perry guided Miami to back-to-back wins against the North Carolina Tar Heels and Florida State Seminoles before he tossed two interceptions in the Hurricanes’ 16-13 loss at Virginia on Saturday. Richt returned to Rosier in the second quarter and stuck with the redshirt senior for the entire game.
Rosier went 12 for 23 with 170 yards and one interception, and ran for the Hurricanes’ only touchdown to cut the Cavaliers’ lead to three with 3:04 remaining.
Richt didn’t say whether he expects Rosier to start for the remainder of the season and said his decision had nothing to do with playing on the road again.
“Right this minute, I think Malik is just better equipped from his abilities and his experience to lead this team right now,” Richt said. “Again, nothing based on personalities or who recruited who, all that kind of stuff. It has 100 percent to do with what we think is in the best interest of the team right at this moment.”
The coach didn’t elaborate as to how he’ll split snaps between Rosier and Perry.
Perry, who also played nearly the entire game against FIU, has been the more productive quarterback in every category but yards and yards per attempt this season. He has completed 50 of 89 passes for 666 yards and 11 touchdowns, with five interceptions. Rosier has completed 50 of 96 passes for 781 yards and five touchdowns, with three interceptions.
As soon as Richt delivered the news Wednesday, fans, who clearly favor Perry and have maligned Rosier since his three-game losing streak to end last season, bombarded social media with their anger. Richt made it clear that Perry is still part of the equation.
“Kosi is certainly a guy that obviously we think very highly of,” Richt said. “We want him to continue to grow as a quarterback and as a person. That’s why we want to make sure we get him in the game.
“Made it very clear to N’Kosi that he’s going to have a great career. He’s going to continue to grow as a quarterback and we’re going to continue to get him in the game to allow him to grow. He’s at that point in his career where you have to get snaps to get better. He’ll get snaps, for sure.”
Rosier has more experience in winning games at the ACC level. The quarterback started all 13 games for the Hurricanes in 2017, guiding Miami to double-digit wins for the first time since 2003, its first ever appearance in the ACC Championship Game and a trip to the Orange Bowl. The ACC Coastal Division remains in play for the Hurricanes even after their stunning loss to Virginia, and Richt feels Rosier gives Miami the best chance to get back to the ACC Championship.
Richt said both quarterbacks have “been phenomenal” in the two practices since the Virginia game.
“I’ve seen great — not good, but great attitudes,” Richt said. “They understand. I had a talk with them. I said, ‘Look, man, none of this is personal.’ No decision I’ve ever made at this position is personal. It’s always trying to do what’s best for the team.
“I mean, we do love these guys. We care about them very much as people. We understand their feelings when things don’t go the way they want. I want to them to understand we’re trying to win games and trying to do what we think is best. There’s no agenda other than that.”
After UM’s loss at Virginia, Rosier was asked how he handled the past few weeks as the backup.
“That was probably the hardest thing I’ve ever had to do because coming into it I was kind of blindsided when it happed,” Rosier said Saturday in Charlottesville. “But me and Coach Richt talked and I accepted it and I told him I’d help Kosi out any way I can. It was kind of hard because usually during the week I go with the ones and I didn’t get one rep with the ones for like three weeks straight. It was at a point to where how do you not be down?
“’You never know what’s going to happen.’”
Rosier also said the team would rally around any quarterback that Richt chooses.
“It doesn’t matter. We don’t care,” Rosier said. “Whoever is in is going to ball. At the end of the day that’s all we care about. Kosi’s in, I’ve got his back. I’m in, he has my back. [True freshman] Jarren [Williams] is in, we’ve got Jarren’s back.”