Miami coach Mark Richt continues to play it coy when it comes to who will start at quarterback for the No. 16 Hurricanes when they host North Carolina Thursday.
Kickoff time for the Atlantic Coast Conference clash is 8 p.m. at Hard Rock Stadium in Miami Gardens. ESPN will telecast what is the conference opener for the Hurricanes (3-1, 0-0 ACC). The Tar Heels (1-2, 1-0 ACC) are coming off a 38-35 victory over ACC Coastal Division rival Pittsburgh.
Richt refused to announce a starter at quarterback during his weekly media briefing, saying only that he will continue to go with the player who gives his team the best chance to win. Last week that was redshirt freshman N’Kosi Perry, who entered as planned on the third series and never let go, engineering a 31-17 victory over Florida International.
He completed 17 of his 25 pass attempts for 224 yards with three touchdowns and an interception as the Hurricanes built a 31-0 lead before Florida International scored 17 points in the fourth quarter.
Senior Malik Rosier completed two of his three attempts in making his fourth start.
Richt said both Perry and Rosier as well as redshirt freshman Cade Weldon got reps with the first team this week, and if he is leaning to one or another, he isn’t saying.
“I’m going to continue to watch practice and let everybody know when it’s time for them to know,” Richt said. “But I’m not telling what’s happening.”
North Carolina coach Larry Fedora said he is preparing for both.
“We’ve played against one of them, so we have a feel for him,” Fedora said, referring to Rosier, who was 16-of-38 for 356 yards with three touchdowns and an interception against the Heels in last year’s 24-19 Miami win.
As for Perry, Fedora said, “We haven’t played against the other, just saw him on tape here recently.
“He’s an extremely athletic kid who can really run, beat you with his legs, throws the ball really well. He adds another dimension to their offense.”
Fedora would seem to have no such decisions to make at quarterback with junior Nathan Elliott coming off his best game of the season. Elliott was 22-of-31 for 313 yards and two touchdowns against Pitt.
But Chazz Surratt, who started seven games as a freshman last year, will be eligible after serving a three-game suspension to start the season, and Miami’s Richt also is getting ready for both.
“I don’t think the system would change dramatically, just like no matter who we play, our system is not going to change very much at all,” Richt said. “Skill sets are a little different. They might play one guy different than another. You just have to prepare for what they do.”
–Field Level Media