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Quote:Berlin has much to prove during second season with Miami

By Brian Murphy
Telegraph Staff Writer

Brock Berlin learned plenty during his first season as a college starter. Now the Miami quarterback has to prove he learned enough to guide the Hurricanes to another national championship.

Berlin found out that 11-2 doesn't cut it at Miami, where the Hurricanes have won five national championships.

"We were able to win a lot of football games, but obviously we weren't satisfied with that," Berlin said. "We want to win a national championship. That's our goal this season."

In order to reach it, the Hurricanes, who moved from the Big East to the Atlantic Coast Conference in the offseason, need better play from Berlin.

Berlin, the 1999 high school player of the year who spent two seasons at Florida before transferring to Miami, completed 59.9 percent of his passes for 2,419 yards. But Berlin tossed 17 interceptions and just 12 touchdowns.

In the Hurricanes' biggest games - Florida, Florida State (two), Virginia Tech and Tennessee - Berlin threw 11 interceptions. Following consecutive losses to Virginia Tech and Tennessee, Berlin was benched for one game.

"You go back and look at film and say, 'Maybe I should've made this or next time, I'll do this,'" Berlin said. "That's what this off-season has been for us, being able to look back at stuff, learn from that and be able to come back and make the right decisions."

In order to help Berlin make the right decisions, Miami head coach Larry Coker promoted quarterbacks coach Dan Werner to offensive coordinator. Together they've tried to simplify the offense.

"He's got to make the plays. He's got to make good decisions," Coker said. "We have to help him along those lines. Give him an offense that can really help him move in that direction."

In addition to solving Berlin's turnover problems, the Hurricanes have to replace six first-round draft choices, including top-6 picks Sean Taylor and Kellen Winslow.

But the Hurricanes, who are 35-3 in three seasons under Coker, don't rebuild so much as they reload which is why all eyes are still on Berlin.

"We've got the athletes to go out there and let them make plays," Berlin said. "We can't complicate things."

If Berlin continues to complicate things by tossing the ball to the other team, redshirt freshman Kyle Wright is waiting in the wings.

Coker, however, believes Berlin is ready to guide these Hurricanes.

"He believes in himself. And I was concerned about that. It can be tough on a quarterback at this level," Coker said. "He's much more confident, and I think the players around him believe in him much more. There are a lot of positives there. The next step is you have to go out and play well."
08-17-2004 11:39 AM
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