Searching for Answers: #25

In the first of a series of articles, I'll try to tackle several important questions that might be in the minds of University of Miami football fans as this season approaches. We'll start with the most important position on any football field. If Ken Dorsey goes down to injury, does UM look to Derrick Crudup or Buck Ortega?

First of all, I know many fans would rather not think of this scenario, but as this team replaces two All America caliber offensive tackles and replaces them with a pair of linemen that have never started a game in their careers, it's probably an issue that is crossing more minds that it did last season.

Dorsey might be the toughest quarterback this program's ever had. But lets face it, he's never had an opportunity to prove it. Just like any other major program, we could be one hit away from having to insert a very inexperienced backup quarterback into the starting lineup.

The two candidates right now are redshirt sophomore Derrick Crudup and redshirt freshman Buck Ortega. At 6-foot-2 and 210 pounds, Crudup possesses the strongest arm of all the quarterbacks on this team – including Dorsey – and is also the best athlete among the group. At 6-foot-5 and 215 pounds, Ortega possesses prototypical size to perhaps become a very productive pocket passer.

Crudup clearly has the edge in experience. After all, he's been in the program one full year more than Ortega and that makes up for a huge difference – especially when comparing two players that have been here for less than two full years. As a redshirt freshman last season, Crudup was inserted into eight games, completing 10-of-22 passes for 100 yards, one touchdown, and zero interceptions. Crudup also had 35 yards rushing and a touchdown running with the football. Ortega has yet to play a single snap at the college level.

Both quarterbacks are coming off impressive spring practice sessions – especially Crudup, who had 253 yards and three touchdowns in one scrimmage when he worked with the first team offensive unit. Crudup also has more experience throwing the football. Dating back to his high school days, Ortega only attempted 122 passes his senior season so he came here with more to learn.

Ortega will continue to learn under quarterbacks coach Dan Werner, who has molded Dorsey into what many feel is the top quarterback in all of college football. But while that happens, I think he's going to be competing behind Crudup on the depth chart.

With the necessary arm strength, athletic ability, and game experience, Crudup also has the bloodlines. His father – Derrick Sr. – played for the Raiders about a decade ago. Crudup's biggest obstacle right now seems to be getting into the right comfort level with this offense. In limited action last season and even during spring scrimmages this year, he seems to lock onto a wide receiver a bit too much and also look for the big play a bit too often. If he can comfortable and confidently trust the system and start finding his secondary receivers, I think he has a chance to become a tremendously successful college quarterback at the University of Miami.

Those are the reasons why I think the answer is Crudup at this point, while Ortega continues to improve more and more every day.

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