Preview 2004

Florida State's returning players have plenty to think about this offseason. Topping that list is the Miami Hurricanes, who rallied from a 14-3 deficit to upend the Seminoles 16-14 for their fifth consecutive victory in the series in January's Orange Bowl. Of course, the two teams open the 2004 season in Miami on Labor Day, and it appears the Seminoles defense will once again tangle with Brock Berlin.

No pun intended, but Florida State hasn't had much go right against the Miami Hurricanes lately.

In January's Orange Bowl defeate, FSU led 14-3 early in the second quarter, only to see the lead vanish.

The Seminoles' play-calling was suspect, especially when they had solid field position opportunities in the second half. After a slow start, FSU's defense played well enough to win.

Of course, history always seems to repeat itself against UM: Xavier Beitia's 39-yard field-goal attempt sailed wide right with 5:30 remaining. Five losses to Miami since 1991 as result of a failed field goal.

After getting touchdowns on consecutive possessions in the second quarter, the Seminoles registered only three first downs after taking a 14-3 lead with 8:41 left in the second quarter.

They had seven consecutive possessions end in four plays or less.

But that's in the past, and FSU is looking towards the future. The two teams open the season on Labor Day weekend, and it appears the Seminoles will have to deal with UM quarterback Brock Berlin.

Not senior backup Derrick Crudup or highly-touted redshirt freshman Kyle Wright.

Berlin solidified his job as Miami's starting quarterback in the Hurricanes' spring game over the weekend. The senior completed 11 of 15 passes for 185 yards and threw a perfect 59-yard pass down the sideline for a touchdown.

"I really have seen what I hoped to see," coach Larry Coker said.

"Brock stepped up and made plays to lead our football team and score touchdowns. To me, the quarterback scores touchdowns. Kenny Dorsey wasn't the prettiest guy in the world, but he scored touchdowns."

Berlin, who transferred to Miami after spending two years at Florida, was inconsistent in his first season as the replacement for Dorsey, a two-time Heisman Trophy finalist. He threw 17 interceptions, fumbled three times and lost twice in November.

Berlin threw just 12 touchdown passes and led the offense to its second-lowest scoring average in two decades. He was benched for one game after losing to Virginia Tech and Tennessee.

Crudup completed 7 of 12 passes for 69 yards and tossed the lone interception in Saturday's scrimmage.

Wright was 6 for 13 for 67 yards.

After scattering boos toward Berlin early in the scrimmage, the estimated crowd of 10,000 had something to cheer. Berlin hit his final six passes and orchestrated two scoring drives.


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