Richt takes blame for Pinstripe Bowl performance, hints at changes

Quarterback play has doomed Miami for much of season, including lopsided loss

By Peter Burke - Local10.com Managing Editor
Sarah Stier/Getty Images

Miami Hurricanes head coach Mark Richt looks on in the third quarter of the Pinstripe Bowl against the Wisconsin Badgers at Yankee Stadium on Dec. 27, 2018 in the Bronx borough of New York City.

NEW YORK - Shortly after Miami's 35-3 loss to Wisconsin in Thursday's Pinstripe Bowl, Mark Richt stepped up to the podium at the postgame news conference and put the blame on himself for his team's poor performance.

"Starts with me, for sure," the third-year coach told reporters. "Really, that's where the buck stops. Head football coach, play-caller, the whole bit. Just a poor job by me."

Then he vowed to get things fixed in 2019.

"That will be the No. 1 priority," Richt said.

The Hurricanes are 7-9 since winning their first 10 games of the 2017 season and claiming their first Atlantic Coast Conference Coastal Division. Much of the blame falls squarely on the quarterback play.
Richt juggled between redshirt senior Malik Rosier and redshirt freshman N'Kosi Perry this season, but neither was effective against the Badgers (8-5).

Rosier, who made his first start since a 20-12 loss to Duke in early November, completed five passes for 46 yards and had three interceptions.

Perry entered the game in the third quarter and was 1-of-5 passing for two yards and a pick. 

Richt was believed to have started Rosier after Perry reportedly posted a Snapchat video showing two nude people having sex.

"Like I had mentioned, N'Kosi was not suspended. He was able to play," Richt said. "He didn't deserve to start, in my opinion."

Sarah Stier/Getty Images

Miami Hurricanes quarterback N'Kosi Perry runs with the ball in the fourth quarter of the Pinstripe Bowl against the Wisconsin Badgers at Yankee Stadium on Dec. 27, 2018 in the Bronx borough of New York City.

Richt said he had planned to play true freshman Jarren Williams at the end of the game, but it never happened.

"I don't think he will (transfer)," Richt said. "I mean, he's already said he's staying. I don't think this game has anything to do with how he felt like his chances were for the future here. I would think, if I'm him, I have a very outstanding shot at competing for the job."

Richt admitted that Perry is still "navigating how to become the starting quarterback on the field, off the field" and said Rosier was "going to give us the best shot."

Trailing 14-3 at halftime, the Hurricanes (7-6) still struggled to move the football. After Rosier's third pick late in the third quarter, the Badgers scored again to take an 18-point lead, and Richt made the move to Perry. But by then, the game already felt out of reach.

When it was all over, Miami had its most-lopsided bowl loss since losing to Louisville 36-9 in the 2013 Russell Athletic Bowl. The Hurricanes also fell to 1-8 in their last nine bowl appearances and 0-3 against Wisconsin in bowl games.

Without a quarterback commitment for the class of 2019, Miami fans are understandably concerned about the direction of the program.

Miami athletic director Blake James said the team's performance against Wisconsin "is simply unacceptable" but gave Richt a vote of confidence on Twitter after the game.

"We will compete for ACC and national championships and I know that coach Richt is alongside me in that commitment to excellence," James wrote.

That could mean Richt having to part with play-calling duties and hiring an offensive coordinator.

 

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