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Wright beats out Freeman for UM starting QB job

4/26/2005 - Miami Hurricanes

CORAL GABLES, Fla. -- Kyle Wright has his first win at
Miami.

Wright, long touted as a player who'd add to Miami's legacy as
'Quarterback U,' will open the season as the Hurricanes' starter.

Coach Larry Coker announced Tuesday that the 6-foot-5, 208-pound
sophomore beat out talented freshman Kirby Freeman for the job
vacated by Brock Berlin. Barring some surprise, Wright will lead
Miami into its Sept. 5 opener at rival Florida State.

"It's something I've been waiting for three years now," said
Wright, who enrolled at Miami in January 2003. "It's definitely a
good feeling to know my hard work is starting to pay off. But
there's a lot more hard work ahead, to get to where I want to be
personally and where we need to be as a team."

Freeman, who earned praise from teammates and coaches during the
spring for how he and Wright handled the quarterback battle, said
he'll continue to do all he can to support his team -- and its new
starter.

"This needed to be done," said Freeman, who threw for 2,941
yards and 24 touchdowns, plus ran for 2,091 yards and 32 scores in
his last two seasons at Brownwood High School in Texas. "We needed
to come out and we needed to name a leader for this team. That's
what we've done. Kyle knows I've got his back, 100 percent."

By all accounts, Wright and Freeman each had strong spring
practice seasons. They have different styles; Wright is the
strong-armed, comfortable-in-the-pocket type, while the 6-foot-3,
195-pound Freeman is more mobile and equally effective running and
throwing.

Wright had better numbers in the Hurricanes' spring game earlier
this month, completing 10 of 13 passes for 159 yards and two
touchdowns. Freeman was 7-for-18 for 109 yards, and had two
interceptions.

"Kyle's probably a little further ahead, having been here an
additional year," said Coker, who's 44-6 in his four seasons
leading the Hurricanes. "His knowledge of the offense gives him a
little edge. ... Kyle knows he can't relax, and Kirby knows now
he's going to pour the heat on."

Wright has thrown only nine college passes, yet already has
quite a reputation to live up to.

He was widely considered the nation's top high school
quarterback when he came to Miami from Danville Monte Vista High in
California, where he completed 350 of 584 passes for 5,925 yards
and 66 touchdowns in his final two seasons. He was a Parade
All-American and earned national player of the year honors.

And he's anxious to follow the path set by his Miami
predecessors, including Hall of Famer Jim Kelly, national
championship winners Bernie Kosar, Steve Walsh, Craig Erickson and
Ken Dorsey, and Heisman Trophy winners Vinny Testaverde and Gino
Torretta -- who also won a national title in Miami.

"There's definitely been a long line of tradition here," said
Wright, who was 5-for-9 for 30 yards last season; he missed nine
games, including the Peach Bowl win over Florida, with injuries.
"You've got some big shoes to fill. The fans of Miami have been
spoiled. ... It's going to be great to try to live up to that."