Miami Hurricanes Have First Spring Scrimmage

Oct 31, 2015; Durham, NC, USA; Miami Hurricanes quarterback Malik Rosier (12) looks to pass in their game against the Duke Blue Devils at Wallace Wade Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Mark Dolejs-USA TODAY Sports
Oct 31, 2015; Durham, NC, USA; Miami Hurricanes quarterback Malik Rosier (12) looks to pass in their game against the Duke Blue Devils at Wallace Wade Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Mark Dolejs-USA TODAY Sports /

After holding eight spring football practices over the last few weeks, the Miami Hurricanes held their first scrimmage of the Spring on Saturday afternoon.

The majority of the focus this spring has been on the Quarterback battle. Head Coach Mark Richt has said a few times that no one has emerged nor will they announce a starter this spring.

He did announce recently in an appearance on the Joe Rose show on WQAM that they would likely discuss who the leader is to be the top signal caller this fall when spring practice concludes. It’s hard to make any judgments when signee N’Kosi Perry won’t arrive on campus until June.

With the scrimmage looming Saturday morning, the Hurricane players headed to the Greentree practice fields for the first time this spring in game jerseys and full pads.

The game was a controlled scrimmage. Richt and his staff put the offense and defense in situations more than playing a full out game.

"“We basically had two halves…”Richt said. “We didn’t play a game but we had X amount of plays and then we had a break. And then we had another X amount of plays. The first drives started at the minus-25, meaning 75-yards to go."

The second half featured a shorter field for both sides of the ball that figured to benefit the offense more.

"“Second half, you start the drives on the plus-40. And then we would do some third-down situations. Then we would do red zone, a plus-16 drive.”"

As with most football teams early in camp, the defense controlled the play early. Defensive Coordinator Manny Diaz’ unit was swarming to the ball and forced turnovers.

Richt reiterated that the defense is usually ahead of the offense in the spring. He also mentioned that it is likely a bad sign if the offense is ahead of the defense in the spring.

"“If offense dominates in the spring, I can promise you it’s usually a long season…Unless you have like a boatload of guys showing up in the summer. Some of the greatest offenses I have been around have got their butts kicked by the defense, at Florida State and Georgia. So it is not that uncommon, but it is a good sign.”"

Using the shorter field to their advantage the offense made some big plays in the second half. That impressed their head coach.

"“(The) second half was much more fun for the offense…Scored a couple touchdowns, kicked a field goal, made some plays. Got encouraged. Last play of the game, threw a little touchdown so the offense felt good on the last play. I wouldn’t say the offense dominated the second half. But the offense made plays and made it much more competitive then the first half.”"

The scrimmage also was under real game pressure for the first time this spring. The red jerseys that protect them from being hit came off. That allowed Richt, offensive coordinator Thomas Brown and the rest of the offensive coaching staff to see how the Quarterbacks would perform under literal and figurative pressure.

"“Yeah, they could get sacked,” Richt said. “And one guy broke a tackle, and spun out and ran; I think he still threw it away. But normally in a game, where, hey that’s a sack. And there were a couple times where I know [sophomore quarterback] Evan [Shirreffs] once or twice had guys barring on him, and he just stayed in there and threw it, and completed a ball or two and still got hit. Which is a good sign."

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Malik Rosier backed up Brad Kaaya the last two seasons and has by far the most experience of the group competing to become the starter. He led the Hurricanes to their improbable victory at Duke in 2015. He has shown the ability to avoid sacks and create positive yardage when a play breaks down.

Richt discussed Rosier’s ability to create something out of nothing or to at least avoid a sack.

"“[Redshirt junior quarterback] Malik [Rosier] I think was the one who spun out of a tackle when it looked like they had him. I know there was a cornerback blitz one time that we missed. He had him, just no one blocking him. But Malik spun out of it. He ended up not completing the ball, but you know, I guess just proof that a guy can move and can create, make plays.”"

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The scrimmage completed the third week of spring practice. The Hurricanes will have off until Tuesday. Tuesday will be the 10th practice this spring.