Berlin Vows to Become 'Better Player'

It's no secret an impressive performance against Florida State to start the season would tighten the screws on University of Miami quarterback Brock Berlin's status - especially with the rapid development of fan favorite Kyle Wright.

Even after UM coach Larry Coker named him the starter in the spring it's widely felt that Berlin could be replaced by Wright if he shows signs of struggling against the Seminoles. There have also been strong indications that Coker won't hesitate to pull the plug on Berlin.

Berlin isn't looking over his shoulder.

"I can't control what happens down the road. What I can control is going out there and doing the best I can for this football team," Berlin said after a recent practice. "I've done a lot of work to make myself a better player. I'm confident I can move the offense."

Better decision-making and fewer interceptions would be a good start. Not to mention they would probably go a long way in providing the consistency Miami is looking for from their QB this season.

"There's no question we need more consistency from the quarterback position this season," says Coker.

Berlin, who transferred from Florida after the 2001 season, carried big expectations on his shoulders last season after being appointed Ken Dorsey's replacement. However despite spearheading a come from behind victory over the Gators in his second career UM start, Berlin was a picture of inconsistency for most of the season.

Despite throwing for 2,419 yards and 12 touchdowns, the 6-1, 215-pounder also produced quite a few moments that the Hurricanes would rather omit from their highlight reel. The two interceptions -both resulting in touchdowns - against Virginia Tech; the two interceptions - and costly fumble - against Tennessee. There were the three interceptions against Florida State (albeit in a steady downpour).

But the turnovers didn't tell the whole story. Berlin repeatedly showed an inability to throw under pressure and developed a habit of telegraphing his passes.

It wasn't until mid-November that Coker took the starting job away from Berlin before a home game against Syracuse. He returned the following week to throw two touchdown passes in a victory over Rutgers.

Although Coker indicated on several occasions that Berlin needed to eliminate the costly turnovers he remained in his corner.

Once the season ended Coker pointed out that Berlin was solid on third-down situations, completing 69 of 100 passes (69%). Coker also praised Berlin for 'managing the game well' during his 14-of-29, 157-yard performance against Florida State in the FedEx Orange Bowl last January.

Berlin did have his moments as evidenced by his efforts against Florida (340 yards), West Virginia (37 completions, career-high 352 passing yards) and Florida State in the bowl game (8-of-11 for 74 yards on third-down).

While most of the criticism surrounding Miami's lack of offense was directed at Berlin, no UM receiver - aside from Kellen Winslow - totaled more than 44 receptions last season. Berlin was also dealt a blow when running back Frank Gore suffered a season-ending injury.

"We don't need Brock to go out there and be Joe Montana or Dan Marino," says Coker. "If he can take care of the football and be efficient I really believe we're going to be a pretty good offensive football team."

Berlin admits that his play must improve if the Hurricanes are going to be serious national title contenders.

"There's no question I have to cut down on some of the turnovers and show more consistency," says Berlin, who compiled a passing efficiency rating of 119.4 last season. "If I can do that I see good things happening to this football team."

"There were times last season that one or two plays were the difference when we had chances to win the ballgames. That's something that I have to be aware this season when the game is on the line."

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