Crudup will start against Syracuse

Updated: November 10, 2003, 4:37 PM ET
ESPN.com news services

CORAL GABLES, Fla. -- Derrick Crudup will replace Brock Berlin as Miami's starting quarterback Saturday against Syracuse, after the Hurricanes scored only one touchdown during two consecutive losses.

Crudup spent two seasons playing behind Ken Dorsey and nine games behind Brock Berlin. Coach Larry Coker said Monday that Berlin would still play against the Orangemen.

Berlin has 14 interceptions and three fumbles this season, and two losses in his last two starts for the Hurricanes (7-2). Berlin had five turnovers in losses to Virginia Tech and Tennessee.

"Obviously we're concerned about the interceptions," Coker said. "We're going to give Derrick Crudup an opportunity, but without question, we're going to have both of them ready to play for the game.

"It's something I felt like we needed to do. It's a tough decision, but I think it's probably the right decision at this time for our football team."

Berlin, a junior who transferred from Florida after the 2001 season, has completed 61.5 percent of his passes but has just nine touchdown passes and at least one turnover in eight of nine games.

Berlin threw two interceptions that led to 14 points in a 31-7 loss at Virginia Tech, which snapped Miami's 39-game regular-season winning streak.

He threw two more interceptions and fumbled once Saturday, turnovers that helped the Volunteers end the nation's longest home winning streak at 26 games.

"The job of the quarterback is to get the team in the end zone," Coker said. "But let's make this very clear: this situation's not all Brock's fault. We're a team, and everybody shares responsibility. But as we all know, the bulk of the responsibility or the blame goes to quarterback. It's probably not fair, but that's the way is."

Crudup and Berlin battled for the starting job in the spring, but Berlin eventually won despite being outplayed in several scrimmages that were open to the public.

Crudup's father criticized coaches, saying the decision wasn't fair and that race played a factor. Berlin is white, and Crudup is black.

The younger Crudup kept quiet through it all, and has played well off the bench. He is 28-of-41 (68.3 percent) for 290 yards with two touchdowns and two interceptions.

"You see a lot of maturity in Derrick with the way he's handled the situation," Coker said. "It's a very difficult situation. Derrick's a good person and a hard worker. When he's had opportunities this year he's done well with them."

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