Before one ball was even thrown this spring University of Miami coach Larry Coker guaranteed anybody within ear's length that the Hurricanes were about to commence a full-fledged competition at quarterback with all intents and purposes to replace the departed Ken Dorsey.
But the manner in which Coker has handled the process kind of resembled another day at nursery school for the parties involved. Hard to find fault with a man who has ran off 25 consecutive victories and netted a national championship in just two seasons at the helm of the Hurricanes. But if ever there were the slightest of times this would be it- for several reasons.
Considering the way the Hurricanes have approached the process of finding a new quarterback one might tend to think UM is grooming a five-year-old for his first day of Kindergarten class rather than prepping a first-teamer for the rigors of Doak Campbell Stadium in Tallahassee and Heinz Field in Pittsburgh, among other venues.
Coker expressed concern that all four quarterbacks, namely Crudup and Berlin who are the leading candidates for the job, would be over-evaluated by the fans and media on a daily basis so he chose to close all spring practices to the public.
Coker did not want to make it any worse for the quarterbacks involved so team officials have limited the sessions to family, some recruits and the media (for the stretching part of practice it seems). But wouldn't it seem beneficial to have people around that would make all the quarterbacks focus that much more. Coker's thinking behind the whole thing is that the players would be able to work in a much more relaxed environment with a few people around rather than expose them to a packed house. That theory seems off base when you consider that the eventual winner will have to perform – like it or not- in a deafening Orange Bowl against Florida the second week of the season and then goes on the road to face the Seminoles a month later.
Doesn't seem like the way you'd like to toughen up the guy with the ball in his hands. If that wasn't bad enough the Hurricanes also opted this spring to make just one quarterback available to the media per day. It's understood that the Hurricanes are searching for the best way to protect their future starting quarterback. But this isn't exactly the best of ways to go about it. Should Berlin or Crudup stumble out of the blocks or make a crucial mistake in a big game that's not going to lessen the pressure of speaking to the press. They are going to have to do it anyway.
And why drag the decision out any longer? The Hurricanes have gone against logic since day one by giving Crudup heads up, which is not a problem. But it's a week before the end of spring practice and the Hurricanes are still juggling with the decision. And just making matters worse. They should go ahead and rap this thing up. Do the expected and hand the ball to Berlin, or shock everybody and name Crudup the starter. Either way give these guys a chance to move on if they so desire.
The Hurricanes coaching brass should worry about more pressing issues like who on the offensive line is going to help Berlin or Crudup stay on his feet, starting in August. Like who is going to catch the ball, other than Kellen Winslow and Roscoe Parrish, when the bell officially rings.
The coaches, with Coker leading the charge, should not be concerned with protecting Berlin and Crudup from extra heat. Besides they're getting enough already from the defense, by closing the practice to the public and setting up their meetings with the media like it were a trip to the electric chair.
Crudup has been in the Hurricanes system for three full seasons and should be amply aware of what is required from a major Division I school quarterback. And the same should ring true for Berlin who performed for two seasons under the tutelage of Steve Spurrier at Florida and has already been exposed to this kind of football in the past. It's not like the guy landed in Coral Gables via Delaware State or Mississippi Valley State.
Berlin and Crudup are far removed from the days when they were both toddlers and the Hurricanes should treat the situation as such.
Unfortunately it doesn't look like changes to the handling of quarterbacks are going to be made anytime soon.
What's next? A Tonka truck and Fisher Price ABC blocks in each quarterback's equipment bags.
UM mishandling QB competition
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