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College football

Coach not ready to commit to QB

By MICHAEL SNYDER, Times wires
Published November 10, 2003

CORAL GABLES - A day after one of the biggest losses in recent memory, Miami coach Larry Coker wasn't about to name Derrick Crudup his new starting quarterback.

But he also didn't give incumbent Brock Berlin, whose three turnovers were huge in the 10-6 loss to Tennessee, a vote of confidence. Berlin already has 14 interceptions, one more than Ken Dorsey had in any of his three seasons as UM's starter.

So who will start Saturday when UM (7-2, 3-1 Big East) tries to regroup from its first two-game skid since early in the 1999 season against Syracuse (5-3, 2-2) at the Orange Bowl?

"We'll evaluate that, talk about that as a staff," Coker said Sunday. "We'll evaluate that as we see the film and talk to the players. We'll make that decision."

Coker didn't go into specifics, but reiterated that "not everybody's job is safe." There could be changes on the offensive line and in the backfield.

"The thing we can't do as a staff and team, we can't panic," Coker said. "It is Tennessee. You lose 10-6 to a pretty good Tennessee team. We don't need to can what we're doing. We need to get back with the best chemistry that can fit in. We're definitely going to do some evaluation."

WINSLOW APOLOGIZES: In a postgame tirade, star tight end Kellen Winslow said the game was "war" while he compared himself to a soldier, took pleasure in an opponent's injury after a hard-hitting block and ripped the SEC officiating crew, saying they were looking to throw flags on him. His written apology to the UM community and president Donna Shalala was released through the university Sunday.

Coker said disciplinary action involving playing time could be taken, but nothing had been decided. "He's very passionate, a very tough competitor," Coker said. "He has to play within the parameters of the game. You just can't get over the edge. You've got to channel it back a little bit."

SEASON NOT OVER YET: Coker said all is not lost despite the fact UM, which dropped from seventh to 14th in the coaches poll, won't be in the championship picture for the first time in four seasons.

"I think we can be a good football team," Coker said. "Obviously there's just horrendous things we have to correct, turnovers and penalties. It's embarrassing to sit here and say this again because that's what it is. I don't know any magic formula for correcting it."

If Miami wins out against Big East foes Syracuse, Rutgers and Pittsburgh, the 'Canes could claim the conference championship and an Orange Bowl bid. If they lose again, the best-case scenario likely would be the Gator Bowl.

"We're still right there, which is amazing," Coker said.

FINAL WORD: "No one has ever dealt with this before," guard Chris Myers said. "No one knows how to handle it."

[Last modified November 10, 2003, 01:33:27]


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