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Miami Hurricanes

Hurricanes Enos on QB situation: “Gonna be an open competition”

Marvin Gentry-USA TODAY Sports
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It certainly has been a recent whirlwind in around Miami Hurricanes football program and specifically, what’s going to change with their offense and at quarterback. And, new offensive coordinator Dan Enos spoke at length about several subjects in an interview that aired Sunday night in South Florida.

During an extended conversation with our colleague, NBC 6 Miami sportscaster Chris Fischer, Enos covered: the adjustment of coming from Alabama to Miami, working with new Canes head coach Manny Diaz and of course, who might emerge as the 2019 Miami QB?

That part of their conversation begins at about the 4:40 mark here:

“I can’t speak for coach… but it’s going to be an open competition 100%. That’s going to probably be on the entire football team, but for sure within that room,” the former Bama quarterback coach said. “There may be a guy that’s been here a little bit (Perry). As I told the quarterbacks already: everybody’s got a clean slate now. So, you come in now, I have no perceived notion out there on the field or off the field demeanor or whatever.”

Enos continued, “right now your life begins or starts today (QB battle)… So I’m excited to get to know them all. I think we’re all going to give them all an opportunity to compete and show what they can do. And, ultimately, what they do in the field or don’t do on the field is going to be the thing that decides who the starters going to be going to be. They’re going to have to earn it.”

As we wrote late last week, that room includes Ohio State transfer Tate Martell, who has enrolled at Miami, and is allowed to practice with the Canes, while he awaits word as to whether he’s appealing to be eligible to play this season. Former Georgia quarterback Justin Fields transferred into Ohio State, and won his appeal to be immediately eligible this season for the Buckeyes.

That has to give Martel, the Canes coaching staff and their fans hope that the same thing might be happening with him.

As Fisher mentioned in his question, N’kosi Perry is obviously a player that Miami utilized at times during his redshirt freshman season. That included a four-touchdown performance in the October win over rival Florida State.

However, Perry also went to the bench later in the year in favor of senior Malik Rosier. Eventually. former coach Mark Richt turned back to Perry in games with Georgia Tech and Virginia Tech in November. Only to then have “yo-yo games” continue, Perry went back to the bench and Rosier played at the end of the year, including in the awful Pinstripe Bowl loss to Wisconsin.

Enos obviously has an extensive background working with quarterbacks, including over the last two seasons in Tuscaloosa. He was with Crimson Tide phenom Tua Tagovailoa managing his skill set and abilities along with former Tide star starter Jalen Hurts.

Hurts contemplated joining Enos with the Hurricanes in January before deciding to transfer to Oklahoma. That also paved the way for Martell to come from Ohio State and have a legitimate chance to start this season.

The same chance that all of the Miami QBs will apparently get, starting now.

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Miami Hurricanes

Even in victory reality is harsh for Hurricanes

Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports

It makes sense that an important victory for the Miami Hurricanes – a season-saving 17-9 win over the Virginia Cavaliers on Friday night – would simultaneously remind the Canes how far they still have to go, and how slim their margins are.

This was an improvement, and a significant one, but it wasn’t the conquest which dramatically changes opinions and gives birth to a fresh sense of hope.

The uneasy coexistence of happiness and uncertainty is going to remain part of Miami’s world in 2019, and if we’re being honest, probably the first half of the 2020 season. The U isn’t yet ready to escape the familiar problems which have dogged the program for a decade and a half.

If we are looking at the very big picture, negativity can’t be eliminated from the landscape. One has to see reality for what it is.

But enough about the bigger picture. In the immediate aftermath of Friday’s game against Virginia, Miami gained positive clarity and took a needed step forward in its evolution. The Hurricanes probably knew this on a conceptual level before the game began, but now they know this in a concrete way:

They have to lean on their defense, and they have to avoid huge mistakes.

The Canes watched a home game against Virginia Tech slip away the week before. A tidal wave of interceptions led to a boatload of Hokie points. Miami’s festival of mistakes enabled The U to lose as a 12-point favorite.

A starting point for the Canes against Virginia was to not commit turnovers Sometimes, “addition” can simply mean the elimination of negatives: addition by subtraction.

Miami did exactly that against the ACC Coastal leader and favorite, committing zero turnovers. Virginia endured a blocked field goal – made possible by Miami’s Pat Bethel – and a steady stream of failed red-zone possessions which recalled UCF’s nightmare the Friday before against Cincinnati.

Virginia committed a turnover inside the Miami 25-yard line. Jon Ford punched the ball out. Trajan Bandy made the recovery.

Miami didn’t make any of those debilitating mistakes.

No, the offense didn’t function well for most of the game. Miami’s first drive and its last produced touchdowns; everything in between created only three points. N’Kosi Perry (above) lacked touch on his deep ball. The offensive line wasn’t particularly good (though not as bad as it was against Florida).

Yet, with zero turnovers, Miami didn’t give Virginia any free points. It gave Virginia Tech several free touchdowns six days earlier.

Merely weeding out the awful aspects of its performance was enough, given how well the defense played, especially freshman defensive end Greg Rousseau

He hadn’t been in the starting lineup earlier in the season, but on Friday, he delivered seven tackles, a sack, a fourth-down stop, and a forced fumble recovery.

Perry might not need to win games; he can merely avoid losing them… and allow Rousseau and the defense to win them.

Miami isn’t a complete team. It does not have a complete solution within its grasp. It does, however, possess the roadmap to success in 2019. It probably won’t always work, but it is the way UM needs to play:

Don’t screw up. Shorten the game. Play for field position and a rested defense. Let the defense win.

If Miami can continue to trim the fat and add by subtracting, this season – which probably won’t reach all of its goals – can become a lot better than many expected after any of September’s especially embarrassing moments.

That isn’t a soaring statement of hope, but it’s a lot better than the previous weeks of this season.

For now, that’s a start, and a good step in the right direction.

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Miami Hurricanes

Canes named N’Kosi Perry starting QB against Virginia

Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports

Canes head coach Manny Diaz announced on Wednesday that last year’s part-time starter N’Kosi Perry will be starting under center for the matchup with Virginia. He said that he made the move, because Jarren Williams is dealing with an injury that has him not at full capacity, however, it could in part be a hope to continue the momentum that almost pulled out a huge come from behind win against Virginia Tech on Saturday.

“We’re going to start N’Kosi Perry at quarterback on Friday night.” He added, “Jarren Williams is dealing with an upper extremity issue that leaves him less that 100 percent. N’Kosi gives us a chance to win, I think we all saw last Saturday the improvement in his game and we’re excited to ride behind him and find a way to beat a very well coached and tough-minded Virginia football team.”

The Virginia game will mark Perry’s seventh career start as he sits this season at 35 for 55 with 501 yards and five touchdowns so far.

This past Saturday night, Diaz had seen enough of an ineffective Jarren Williams, who threw three first-half interceptions to the Hokies, So right before the half, he replaced him with Perry. On the final play of the first half, Perry got a key Hail Mary score, saving Miami from a potential shutout, making the game 28 – 7 at the break.

Perry then engineered an 88-yard drive out of the locker room hitting tight end Brevin Jordan to trim the lead in half to 28 – 14. The Hokies still looked to be in great shape, when Hooker threw his third TD pass of the day to cap a Virginia Tech 80-yard drive, and it was 35 – 14 with 12:43 left.

But unfazed, Perry helped Miami get right back in the game hitting Jeff Thomas with a 13-yard score and then,  with another 25-yard score to Thomas, plus a 2-point conversion to make the game 35 – 29 with over three minutes remaining.

Perry, who finished with 422 yards against Virginia Tech despite not playing until the second quarter got Miami in range for one more score. But, he threw incomplete with one second remaining in the back of the endzone and then, his final pass with no time left was batted down at the goal line, and allowed the Hokies their first ACC win of the season.

Diaz indicated Williams remained day-to-day and has been limited in practice this week. It’s undetermined who will be QB1 for the remainder of the season once Williams is back to full speed, but for now Perry is the guy who needs to continue to ignite the passing game that hasn’t fully taken off for Miami this season.

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