Spring Preview - Quarterbacks

Spring practices begin March 23 and for the majority of the players they can't come soon enough. In the first part of a nine part series we will take a look at the Hurricanes' quarterbacks. Starting quarterback Brock Berlin is back for his senior season along with backups Derrick Crudup, Kyle Wright, and Kirby Freeman.

Returning (3): SR Brock Berlin (13 games-12 starts), SR Derrick Crudup (7-1), FR Kyle Wright (redshirt)

Lost (0): None

New (1): FR Kirby Freeman

Spring Depth Chart (2003 stats)

1. Berlin ... 2419 yards…60%…12 td…17 int
2. Crudup ... 377 yards…60%…3 td…3 int
3. Wright ... redshirt
4. Freeman

Berlin was often the target for the team's offensive struggles last year and throwing 17 interceptions to just 12 touchdowns is hard to argue with. It was Berlin's first year as the starting quarterback after transferring from Florida and often times it showed. However, there were other reasons for the offensive struggles last year as well. The wide receivers didn't create a lot of separation, starting tailback Frank Gore went down with an injury, and the offensive line never quite came together because of various injuries and shuffling.

Berlin and the rest of the quarterbacks have been working hard during seven-on-sevens. They all have been throwing the ball well and are on the same page as their receivers. The key for the quarterbacks and the receivers is to stay on the same page throughout spring practice with the pads on and all 11 players on the field.

Crudup has shown leadership during spring workouts and has thrown the ball well. With Berlin struggling last year Crudup earned one start, against Syracuse, but was not effective and was replaced at halftime. Crudup played seven games a year ago, but still looks to push Berlin for the starting position.

Wright has a lot to prove this year as he had a very good year on the scout team last year going up against one of the best defenses in the country. He has gotten stronger and has added nearly 20 pounds since his arrival at Miami. Last year at this time he arrived at Miami as one of the nation's top prep quarterbacks. It didn't take long for his teammates to be impressed. Now he has a chance to get some snaps and earn playing time.

"I can't wait for spring practices to start," Wright said. "I think about it everyday in the weight room. Just being able to compete with those guys again is going to be fun."

Freeman is adjusting to the Miami culture arriving on campus after graduating from Brownwood (Tex.) High School a semester early. His personality has fit in well with the team and is ready to get on the field for practices. He has done well during seven-on-sevens, but is not nearly as impressive as Wright was at this point last year. With three quarterbacks ahead of him on the depth chart, he is likely to redshirt this fall.

It is possible for Berlin, Crudup, and Wright to be factors in the 2004 season. It all starts right now during the spring practices. Berlin enters the spring as the starting quarterback, but coach Larry Coker is not afraid to make a change if he feels another player gives the team the best chance to win. It should be interesting.

Christopher Stock is a Staff Columnist for CanesTime and can be contacted by emailing him at stock@grassy.com.

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