Coker Names Starting Quarterback

Head coach Larry Coker decided to name the starting quarterback formally at a press conference on Tuesday after telling both Kyle Wright and Kirby Freeman who would be the starter the day before.

In Larry Coker's opening comments to the media he made the following statement,

"As far as naming a number one guy right now I would like to reserve that nod at this time to Kyle Wright."

Although Wright was named the starter he expects Kirby Freeman, the team's only other scholarship quarterback to continue to compete.

"Kyle knows he can't relax and Kirby knows he is going to pour the heat on," Coker said. "That is about as well said as it can be. I like their leadership qualities and not only are they well respected from the coaches, but also by their teammates. That is just as important to have.

Wright will be a sophomore in 2005 and Freeman will be a freshman.

"They are going to win a lot of football games at the University of Miami."

Both Wright and Freeman had productive spring practices and improved.

"I have seen both players get better in the spring. They were under a lot of pressure and we did that for a reason. Those guys at Tallahassee have tremendous speed like we have. From the way they move and go through their progressions—the way I've seen them both get better in the spring it is something that is very encouraging to see."

COKER Q&A

Is it important that someone is named a starter heading into the summer to be a leader?

I want they both understand that I want them both to be leaders. It is a situation that is a little different when Ken Dorsey was here because we didn't really have a backup quarterback. Now with Kyle and Kirby I think we have two outstanding players and two outstanding leaders. I expect them both to be leaders heading into the off-season.

When did you make the decision?

We talked yesterday with them. Coach Dan Werner and I sat down with both of them. We wanted to get some feedback from them with the situation. Sometimes how I feel and what I see doesn't always mean it is always right. So it is good to get feedback from those guys. I know this—our team is very comfortable with both players. They will definitely rally around both of those guys.

Is there a reason you waited two weeks after the spring game to name the starter?

No magic time. I had responsibilities of my own—I had to be on the road and doing some Hurricane Club functions. I wanted to talk with them how we felt with the situation and this was a tough situation. Both are competitive and have ability. There is no reason to wait the two weeks other than we wanted to get together and talk it over with the staff.

How understanding was Kirby of the decision?

I think he was understanding and disappointed. Kirby is a coach's son. He has been around things like this since probably grade school. I think he understands and the thing about the decision is that there is only going to be one guy out there. It's not like an offensive lineman where you can move him to a different position. I think that is certainly understandable. I think Kirby fully understands the support he has from the team and myself.

How competitive do you expect these two to be?

That is a good part about it because there will be competition there. Kirby is going to make Kyle better and Kyle will make Kirby better. That's the other end of it. I know Kyle didn't get to where he is by being complacent. He has scholarships around the country, as did Kirby. They didn't get to where they are by not being competitive. He knows that winning the job is good, but it is just a starting point. Now we have to win games. We have to go to Tallahassee and Clemson. We have Colorado coming here and they think they will win the Big XII. Both these guys have great physical skills, but you can only do so much. Now it is the little things that will make the difference.

Do you plan on playing Kirby more this year than Kyle played last year?

Yes and we were planning on playing Kyle last year and it just didn't happen. We did in the Georgia Tech game and then he suffered a high ankle sprain where he basically couldn't do anything for six weeks. So that kind of setback plans for the entire season. I think Kirby can play want to get him some playing time. When and all of those types of things—we haven't decided on those things yet. But for sure, Kirby needs to be ready to play.

Christopher Stock is a Senior Writer & Assistant Editor for CanesTime and can be contacted by emailing him at stock@canestime.com

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