Coker doesn't know who to start

"Derrick (Crudup) deserved an opportunity to play. Obviously he was rusty in some areas, but at same time he did some good things."

But apparently after taking a closer look at
Miami's 17-10 win over Syracuse Coker isn't so sure Crudup will be behind center as the Hurricanes starting quarterback UM welcomes Rutgers into the Orange Bowl on Saturday. The Hurricanes may have notched their fifth consecutive victory over Syracuse, but Coker was not thrilled with the lack of offense- especially in the passing game- that continues to be displayed by the team.

"We're going to have to throw the ball better," said Coker. "We'll go with the quarterback that we feel is going to give us the best chance to win the football game. If that means playing Derrick and Brock then that's what we'll do."

"We had the same poor decision we had before. The reason the change was made was because of the turnovers and poor decisions. We had the same thing."

Crudup, making the first collegiate start of his career against Syracuse, was unimpressive with 80 passing yards on 5-of-13 in addition to 29 rushing yards on 14 attempts. But what bothered Coker the most was a first quarter interception and second quarter fumble by Crudup that led to all of Syracuse's points. Crudup threw an ill-advised pass towards the middle of the field that was picked off by SU linebacker
Rich Scanlon on the Hurricanes initial offensive drive of the game. That turnover cost UM three points.

Three drives later Crudup fumbled a snap that would result in Syracuse's only touchdown of the game. Berlin entered the game late in the second quarter. He was unsuccessful on one pass attempt, while being sacked.

Coker said that he would not choose between Crudup or Berlin until shortly before kickoff on Saturday. But one thing is certain: Freshman quarterback
Kyle Wright will not play this season.

Despite the Hurricanes offensive woes, the team's defensive unit continues to prove why they are among the nation's elite. The Hurricanes, ranked third nationally in total defense and pass defense, held the Orangemen to 62 total yards in the second half. Syracuse tailback
Walter Reyes was limited to 89 rushing yards on 24 carries. Reyes had 56 of those yards in the first half. Reyes had a 27-yard scamper early in the second half, but the Hurricanes forced the Syracuse offense five punts in six second- half possessions.

Behind 17-10 with less than three minutes remaining, Syracuse's offense had one last chance to get into the end zone. But it was Miami's D that would rise to the challenge. After holding Syracuse to seven yards on three plays – in between a false start by the Orangemen- UM defense back
Maurice Sikes batted away a pass intended for Johnnie Morant on a fourth-and-eight play. Coker credited the defense for coming up with big plays in key situations during the game.

"What can I say about them?" Coker said. "Our defense has really come up with some big plays all season. Our main problem hasn't been stopping anybody from scoring, its been scoring ourselves."

Even if Crudup or Berlin succeed in injecting some consistency into the offense there is a good chance it will come with an assist from true freshman running back
Tyrone Moss who could see an increased workload in the Hurricanes backfield for the remainder of the season after his performance against Syracuse.

The 5-10, 210-pounder rushed for a game-high 91 yards on 18 attempts against the Orangemen, including a nine-yard run that provided the winning margin for the Hurricanes 8:09 remaining in the game. Moss, who entered the game at the start of the second quarter, carried the ball 10 times, including on seven of the first eight plays, during a 16-play drive late in the third quarter that led to a game-tying 44-yard field goal by
Jon Peattie. Moss complied more than half of Miami's rushing total against Syracuse. Moss has totaled 312 rushing yards and two touchdowns in 10 games this season. But despite Moss' solid effort against Syracuse Coker said that senior Jarrett Payton would remain the starter at tailback.

"Tyrone I just think is one of those rushers who no matter if he carries the ball one, two, three, 28 times, he just gets better as the game goes on," said Coker. "I obviously think he is going to play. How much? I haven't decided that yet."

Said Moss: "I couldn't tell you what's going to happen next week. That's coach Coker's decision."

Regardless of who gets the starting nod, hosting Rutgers (4-6, 1-4) at home could be just what the doctor ordered for the Hurricanes staggering offense. The Scarlet Knights, coming off a 35-25 loss to
Boston College, rank next-to-last in total defense (404.5 yards per game allowed) and sixth in rush defense (170.2) respectively in the Big East, while surrendering an average of 31.3 points in 10 games this season.

The Scarlet Knights' defensive unit has held its opponent to 21 points or less in three of the team's four victories this season. Those three opponents:
Buffalo (24-10), Army (36-21) and Temple (30-14). Rutgers has been respectable on offense thanks to the emergence of sophomore quarterback Ryan Hart, who has completed 60 percent of his passes this season (192-of-320) and thrown for 2,396 yards and 13 touchdowns.

Hart ranks second in the conference in passing average per game (239.6) and total offense (224.7), while the Scarlet Knights are third in scoring offense with 29.5 points per game. But whether Rutgers' offense can put anything together against Miami on the road is a big question. UM has outscored Rutgers 222-23 in the previous four meetings, including shutout victories in the last two games at the OB.

Miami has a 10-0 advantage in the all-time series.

Scarlet Report Top Stories