MIAMI (CBSMiami) – The Miami Hurricanes open their 2017 football season on Saturday. Expectations are high, but questions loom.
On Friday, Hurricanes radio analyst Don Bailey Jr. joined the Joe Rose Show on 560 WQAM. Bailey did not hesitate when asked to name the ‘Canes greatest uncertainty.
“Quarterback,” Bailey said.
Malik Rosier was named the starter ten days ago. The redshirt junior served as Brad Kaaya’s backup for the past two seasons, but only has one start under his belt. While Saturday’s matchup against an overmatched FCS opponent like Bethune-Cookman won’t provide anyone with a full assessment on Rosier, it’s a start.
“I can tell you this: He can run,” Bailey said of Rosier. “He’s a strong kid and he’ll run over you. He understands how it is in the open field.”
Rosier’s athleticism will provide a new angle for Miami’s offense that didn’t exist a year ago. While Brad Kaaya was a deadly passer, his threat to run the football was virtually nonexistent. Rosier’s legs will give Mark Richt (head coach and offensive play-caller) more options to keep opposing defenses on their heels.
As to Rosier’s arm, Bailey said, “I’ve seen him make every throw.”
To Bailey, Rosier has the physical tools to succeed. The challenge lies in how he puts it all together. Rosier needs to prove he can be efficient with the football.
“The thing that he needs to make sure of is he doesn’t turn over the football,” Bailey noted. “If he can get the same kind of touchdown to interception ratio Brad Kaaya did, that’s what wins college football games.”
In 2016, Kaaya’s ratio was stellar, throwing 27 touchdowns to 7 interceptions. Miami finished the season with five straight wins and a 9-4 record. Can Malik Rosier keep his ratio near four-to-one?
“You can’t win football games if you’re turning it over,” added Bailey.
Rosier will have plenty of weapons at his disposal. Junior running back Mark Walton, sophomore receiver Ahmmon Richards and senior tight end Christopher Herndon will be among the nation’s best.
Plus, Miami has an injection of youth at wide receiver. A pair of true freshmen, Jeff Thomas and Mike Harley, are expected to contribute immediately.
Bailey gave his assessment on the freshmen receivers.
“I promise you, you’re gonna go ‘wow.’ They’ve got so much speed, and they’re competitive.”
Harley is a starter on Miami’s opening day depth chart. Sophomore Ahmmon Richards is likely to miss the opener with a hamstring issue, which will lead to more reps for the freshmen.
The Miami Hurricanes host the Bethune-Cookman Wildcats Saturday at 12:30 PM from Hard Rock Stadium. Don Bailey Jr. will be on the call with Joe Zagacki and Josh Darrow. You can listen to the game on 560 WQAM, with pregame coverage starting at 8:00 AM.
Listen to the full interview with Don Bailey Jr. from The Joe Rose Show above.