Coker said that Berlin and junior Derrick Crudup, the Hurricanes current first-team quarterback, have distanced themselves through six practices so far. But while Crudup and Berlin have stood out recently Coker added that redshirt freshman Marc Guillon and freshman Kyle Wright have not been eliminated from the four-way battle for the starting nod.
"I really think the first two, Crudup and Berlin, have done some things that have made them stand out but that's not to say that Marc and Kyle aren't being considered anymore. We're still evaluating how each guy is able to read coverage, their accuracy and how they deal with pressure. I think that's been a problem for all of them because our defense has been so good, especially up front."
Although Crudup remains first on the depth chart Berlin has kept the pressure on with a strong performance in camp, which includes anchoring the only touchdown in last Saturday's scrimmage. Coker said that Berlin was effective making reads and did a good job of running the offense in a shortened scrimmage to end practice on Tuesday.
Berlin, who transferred from the University of Florida last winter, was expected to start the spring as the Hurricanes' starting quarterback. But in a mild surprise Coker opened the first practice with Crudup under center.
The amount of injuries at the wide receiver position that the Hurricanes have had to deal with this spring has affected the progress of all the quarterbacks, according to Coker. Coker said that the offense has also been scaled down due to the absence of receivers Sinorice Moss, Kevin Beard, Akieem Jolla and Ryan Moore.
"It's not only hindered the quarterbacks but it's also hurt the whole team," said Coker. "I like the ones we have- Roscoe Parrish and Jason Geathers have picked it up a notch- but I still think these guys haven't reach a real comfort level."
Coker said he would like to have a better idea of where the quarterback competition is going by the end of the week.
"We really have to start thinking about getting one of these guys ready," said Coker.
Berlin was unavailable for comment.
Coker said the defense, especially defensive ends Thomas Carroll and John Square along with linebackers Jon Vilma and D. J. Williams, had a strong practice and applied some pressure on the quarterbacks in the scrimmage that closed practice.
"This was a good day for the defense. They were pretty dominating," said Coker.
"Again there is so much pressure on the quarterbacks that they haven't had a lot of time back there. That's good news and at the same time bad news. But a really like the intensity level the defensive ends and interior guys are playing with."
LIMITED: Defensive tackle Vince Wilfork, who missed practice Monday with a hyperextended elbow, participated in most of the practice but was held out of the scrimmage.
ORTEGA AT WR: Sophomore Buck Ortega, who arrived at camp slated to be a reserve linebacker, lined up at receiver during the scrimmage. Coker said that the Hurricanes are too talented at the linebacker position but that Ortega is too good of an athlete to have sitting on the bench.
"What we're doing is trying to find a place for him," said Coker. "He's such a great athlete and has such good hands that he can play wide receiver. If the season started Saturday he would play. But we're so good at linebacker he can't play there."
Coker said that Ortega would be used at H-Back but his athletic skills are so advanced that he can also be stretched out to receiver.
"He's such a great athlete," said Coker.
The Hurricanes return to practice Thursday at 3:30 p.m.
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