Fall Preview: Quarterbacks

The University of Miami once had the nickname of 'Quarterback U'. Unfortunately for the Hurricanes, they've looked nothing like that in recent years as the Canes have struggled to get good quarterback play since Ken Dorsey left.

After Ken Dorsey played his last game as a Hurricane against Ohio State in the Fiesta Bowl back in January of 2003, it's hard to imagine if there were many people who could have predicted the lack of success the Canes have had at the position in the following years.

Brock Berlin was a High School All-American who seemed to have all the tools to be the next great Hurricane quarterback. Unfortunately, he never really elevated his game to the next level and was often considered an average to above average college quarterback.

When he left everyone was expecting Kyle Wright, another former High School Player of the Year, to be that guy. After two years and a 14-7 record, it hasn't happened.

When Wright injured his thumb towards the end of last season, Kirby Freeman was given an opportunity to run the UM offense. He, too, struggled scoring points and the Canes won just half the games he started.

All of that is in the past. A lot has changed. The Hurricanes have a new leader. The offense won't be the same. It may be better or it may be worse but it certainly won't be the same with Patrick Nix now calling the shots.

Wright (a senior) and Freeman (a junior) are involved in a heated quarterback battle that likely won't be determined, according to Shannon, until not long before the season opener against Marshall.

Wright has the edge on experience -- 21 games compared to Freeman's four. He has the better arm. He's more of the prototype. However, Freeman can beat you with his feet at times as well. He seemed to provide the offense an extra spark that seemed to be missing with Wright under center.

The bottom line is that you can compare the two all you want up to this point. What really matters is the quarterback who has the best preseason camp will be given the starting job. Nobody knows who that's going to be at this point.

One thing is for sure -- if the Hurricanes are to improve on their 500 record against Division 1 opponents from last season, they need better -- much better -- play from the quarterback position. 15 touchdowns and 15 interceptions signifies average play.

Wright and Freeman were both Elite 11 Quarterbacks coming out. Sure that may not mean much but they were both heavily recruited and highly regarded coming out of high school. Both have the talent to be very successful and Nix will have the tough task of getting the most out of them.

It should be fun to watch them competing through the month of August to see who will lead the team in 2007.

Incoming freshman Robert Marve was Mr. Football in the state of Florida in 2006. He spent a good part of the summer on UM's campus working out with his future teammates but a car accident set him back. Injuries to his fingers, (left) arm, and wrist have him sidelined for the moment. In what appeared to be a good opportunity for Marve to get some playing time as a true freshman now has question marks. Shannon said last week that it's quite possible that Marve will heal quickly enough to play at some point this season.

With that said, the possibility of Marve coming in and earning the starting spot -- like some have talked about -- has been pretty much eliminated.

If the Hurricanes are to return to their old form, it'll be up to Wright and/or Freeman to play well enough to get them there.

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