MEMO TO COACH: BENCH BERLIN
Miami is 3--0 and ranked fourth in the nation, so it might seem strange to suggest that coach Larry Coker needs to make a drastic change. But it's hard to envision the Hurricanes' winning the national title with Brock Berlin (below) at quarterback. Berlin, a fifth-year senior, has had more than a year as the Miami starter to establish himself as a consistent, championship-caliber quarterback, and he hasn't done it. Even Coker acknowledged that Berlin's performance--13 of 23 for only 99 yards, and five sacks--in last Thursday's 38--13 win over Houston "won't get it done."
Berlin has had his moments, but he's missed too many open receivers and gotten himself sacked because of indecisiveness too many times. Coker should take a look at highly regarded freshman Kyle Wright to find out if his quarterback of the future is capable of being his quarterback of the present. If the Hurricanes are going to make a change, they would be wise to do it now, well before facing their toughest remaining opponent, Virginia, on Nov. 13.
Even when Stanford took a 28--17 halftime lead at home over No. 1 USC last Saturday, it seemed likely that the Trojans would come back to win. They did, rallying for a 31--28 victory thanks largely to sophomore tailback Reggie Bush, who is the most dangerous offensive player in the country.
But the near miss was enough to continue the new sense of optimism at Stanford after coach Buddy Teevens's first two seasons, in which the Cardinal went 6--16. Even worse than being bad, Stanford was boring and had an anemic offense. That appears to have changed now that the Cardinal (2--1) has rediscovered its passing game and is averaging 36 points. Stanford has an array of fine receivers, including 6'7" Evan Moore, who went high to pluck a touchdown pass against USC, and a talented quarterback in sophomore Trent Edwards (right).
Even in patient Palo Alto, the heat was increasing on Teevens. Most observers felt that in order to keep his job beyond this season, Teevens needed to produce a team that was, if not particularly successful, at least entertaining. It looks as though Stanford just might be both.
MILLER TIME AT CLEMSON
It's not as if Florida State didn't know that Clemson junior Justin Miller was a dangerous kick returner. The Seminoles tried to avoid Miller as if he were Barry Bonds, with a pooch, a squib and a line drive on three of their kickoffs. But Miller still was able to return two for touchdowns, of 97 and 86 yards, and set an NCAA record with 282 kickoff-return yards in the Tigers' 44--21 loss. Miller might have set another record with a third TD return if he hadn't tripped while trying to juke kicker Xavier Beitia. He settled for a 34-yard runback.
DAVID BERGMAN (BERLIN)
PETER READ MILLER (ZABRANSKY, EDWARDS)