MIAMI (CBSMiami) – The Miami Hurricanes hit the practice field Thursday, on a rainy Coral Gables morning, for their final dress rehearsal before the season opener.
The ‘Canes held a non-tackling scrimmage, matching up the starters with the scout team. The scout team, which Mark Richt referred to as Bethune-Cookman (the team they were charged to mimic), was spotted 24 points. And yet, the Hurricanes starters won the day by a final score of 33-24.
“The [Miami] defense got a bunch of stops,” said head coach Mark Richt. “The defense had two turnovers, we had a special teams blocked kick. The offense was hot and cold. They either went right down the field and scored or had a little struggle here and there.”
The offense was led by newly minted starting quarterback Malik Rosier. Rosier officially won the job on Tuesday and took every first-team snap in Thursdays scrimmage. He went 18 for 32 with 222 yards and 2 touchdowns.
On Rosier’s performance, Richt said, “He did well. He missed a couple. We dropped a couple. We had a couple batted down.”
Redshirt sophomore Evan Shirreffs did not get any snaps in the scrimmage. He was the runner up in the quarterback competition and will be Rosier’s backup. True freshmen N’Kosi Perry and Cade Weldon ran Thursday’s scout team.
Perry went 6 of 16 for 57 yards and two interceptions. Weldon completed 3 of 8 attempts for 15 yards and one interception. They both went up against Miami’s vaunted first-team defense.
True freshman wide receiver Jeff Thomas had a memorable day. He had 6 catches for 115 yards and a touchdown. Thomas could become an impact player in his first year, like Ahmmon Richards was in 2016.
In the ‘Canes backfield, Mark Walton carried 7 times for 60 yards and two touchdowns. Richt noted that in situations where tackling is allowed, Walton could have had more.
“Our running game would have been much stronger today, in my opinion, if we would have tackled, since Mark tends to break tackles, especially somebody just trying to grab him with one arm,” noted Richt. “Sometimes we might to need to throw it just to get the yardage necessary. ”
Walton’s backup, Travis Homer, had 3 carries for 17 yards.
The scrimmage began during a torrential downpour, but in typical South Florida fashion, the skies cleared up quickly. The outlook for Miami’s season remains sunny.
The Hurricanes will open their 2017 campaign Saturday, September 2nd when they welcome in the Bethune-Cookman Wildcats. Kickoff is set for 12:30pm. You can hear the game on WQAM.