MIAMI (CBSMiami) – On Saturday, the Miami Hurricanes will take the field at Hard Rock Stadium for their first of three scrimmages in the fall.
When asked if players and coaches will treat the scrimmage like a bonafide game, head coach Mark Richt did not hesitate.
“Yes,” said Richt. “As a matter of fact, that’s what the team meeting is going to be about. It’s a game.”
As of Friday afternoon, Richt had not confirmed whether his quarterbacks will be allowed full contact in the scrimmage. Live hitting for quarterbacks is a risk rarely taken preseason, but the risk could be well worth the reward.
Of the three top contenders: Jr. Malik Rosier, Soph. Evan Shirreffs, and true freshman N’Kosi Perry, only Rosier has ever started a college game. He led Miami to victory over Duke in the “Miracle in Durham” game in October of 2015.
The quarterback competition is considered dead even at the moment, so the chance to see who performs best under the pressure of full contact might be necessary for Rich’t evaluation.
“Sometimes it’s a good thing,” noted Richt. But full contact is a risk he’s only willing to take in this first scrimmage. “If I don’t do it here, I won’t do it at all.” The logic here would be to allow full contact this early on would give his quarterbacks ample time to nurse minor wounds. With the regular season opener just 22 days away, the window for full contact will close this weekend.
Asked if he’s seen enough from the quarterbacks in camp to opt against contact, Richt said: “The only thing I can see, if we scrimmage, is if they pull on a zone read, whether they actually tackle or not. If it looks like a guy might sack him but maybe not, did he sack him or did he not? It makes your scrimmage cleaner, but not at the risk of the contact. Sometimes you have to learn what they’re about. I’ve got a good feeling about these guys, as far as their bravery and toughness. I’m leaning towards not, but we’ll see what happens.”
The ‘Canes will take the field at 10:45 a.m. on Saturday morning.
While the scrimmage will be closed to media and spectators, fans will be welcomed into the stadium at 1 p.m. for CanesFest. The Fan Zone outside CanesFest will begin at Noon.