setDuring Miami’s bye week, head coach Mark Richt named senior Malik Rosier as the Canes’ starter for their Week 9 game against Boston College, over redshirt freshman N’Kosi Perry.
The Canes’ offense has been up and down under both QBs. Perry’s thrown both more touchdowns and more interceptions, despite throwing seven fewer passes. Rosier’s gotten 1 yard more per attempt if you include sacks.
Miami’s best offensive performance of the year by S&P+ percentile, against FIU in Week 4, included Perry replacing Rosier on the third series and putting up 224 yards and three TDs. Both have also presided over ugly stretches of play.
Miami switched from Perry to Rosier in Week 5, after he declined down the stretch of Miami’s 10-win season in 2017. He didn’t stick with Perry long.
Perry led the Canes to wins over against North Carolina and Florida State in his two starts in Weeks 5 and 6, throwing for a combined 329 yards and five touchdowns.
But on back-to-back possessions early on against Virginia in Week 7, Perry threw two picks, and Richt benched him for Rosier early in the second quarter. Perry’s second pick wasn’t pretty, thrown into triple coverage to make for an easy play for the UVA defender.
Coming off the bench, Rosier finished with 170 yards passing, an interception, and a rushing touchdown in the loss, The pick came a little past midway through the fourth, and although he put together a TD drive to pull within 3 with 3:32 to go, it was too little, too late.
Were Perry’s picks at UVA really worthy of a benching? Arguably not by the standards Richt had previously set for Rosier.
As State Of The U’s Cam Underwood points out, Rosier’s gotten more leeway in the past from Richt:
I can go back and point to MANY games from last year — North Carolina, Florida State, Virginia, Pittsburgh, Georgia Tech — in which Malik Rosier had far, far worse performances than Perry’s 3 for 6 passing with 2 INTs, and was allowed to continue playing. Hell, even after coming in for Perry against Virginia, Malik Rosier was arguably WORSE up until that last drive (when he still tried to give UVA the ball on multiple plays).
And yet, Rosier is afforded an extreme level of confidence and support by Miami’s coach that is singular to himself.
N’Kosi Perry has more talent than Malik Rosier could ever dream of having. He’s taller, has a stronger arm, is more accurate, and has the ability to make defenders miss in space that Rosier simply doesn’t. Rosier is a more physical runner due to his more compact frame compared to Perry, but that’s it. Oh, and he’s older. But that’s not a performance trait, despite Richt and D’Angelo trying to pass it off as though it is.
Continuing to play Malik Rosier is, quite simply, unacceptable.
Rosier hadn’t worked out with Miami’s first-teamers in three weeks, he said after the UVA game. And Miami had its worst offensive performance since a season-opening dud against LSU. Both QBs shared in that, though Rosier played more of the game.
Richt’s rationale for the switch back to Rosier is a bit vague.
“Right this minute, I think Malik’s just better equipped from his abilities and his experiences to lead this team right now,” Richt said in announcing Rosier’s start. “But Kosi is certainly a guy that obviously we think very highly of and we want him to continue to grow as a quarterback and as a person. So, that’s why we want to make sure we get him in the game.”
That also doesn’t address going back to a senior starting QB right after taking a second loss that effectively eliminates Miami from Playoff contention. Perry has three years of eligibility left after this one and could be be the future at the position, but now he’s sitting.
This is the second time Richt’s come under serious scrutiny for a QB decision in the last four seasons.
Georgia had pretty good quarterbacks when Richt was in Athens. David Greene, D.J. Shockley, Matthew Stafford, and Aaron Murray made it pretty easy for Richt for a while.
But during Richt’s last season in Athens, he didn’t exactly have a loaded roster under center. In 2015, the Dawgs went with UVA transfer Greyson Lambert as their starter. He had a rough first half of the season, throwing nine picks over seven games Then, inexplicably, ahead of the then-No. 11 ranked Dawgs’ game against Florida, Richt announced third-stringer Faton Bauta would start over Lambert’s top backup, Brice Ramsey. At the time, few outside of Athens knew who he was.
The Bauta experiment did not work. He finished with four interceptions and no touchdowns, and Florida beat Georgia 27-3. The decision to start Bauta, paired with the result, got the wheels turning a bit faster for Rich’t ultimate firing after the ‘15 season.
“You’re talking about a young man starting the Florida football game who had never started a game before,” an anonymous “influential booster” told the Atlanta Journal-Constitution in 2016. “He really didn’t have an equal chance. His chances were slim and none in that type of atmosphere and environment. … A number of people were disappointed about that. I will say [Richt] continuing on as the football coach was in jeopardy at that point.”
Georgia’s situation then isn’t the same as Miami’s now, of course. Richt’s not going anywhere any time soon, for one thing. And the Rosier/Perry decision is at least one between the starter and his clear top backup, without involving No. 3.
But QB decisions are hard, and Richt’s made questionable ones before.
Given his QBs’ performances, he’s making another one now.