Former Parade All-American and University of Florida backup quarterback Brock Sterling Berlin asked for and received a release from head coach Steve Spurrier on December 12th, 2001. Coach Spurrier gave him a blessing to transfer to another school, rather than continue as a backup to Heisman runner-up, Rex Grossman.
On January 11th, 2002, Brock Berlin made the final decision to go south, down the freeway, and play for the National Champions, the Miami Hurricanes. He knew he would have to sit out the next year, but after that, he will then have two years of eligibility to play for the National Champions.
“I think just the biggest thing was opportunity,” Berlin stated. “Me and Rex were both in the same grade, neither of us took a redshirt year, but there was still a chance of him coming back next year, no body really knows what he’s going to do right now. The opportunity was there for me to put myself in the position to play for two years, which I wanted.”
Altering uniform colors from Orange and Blue to Orange and Green seems only a slight transition of one color, however it’s a transformation of heart as well. Changing squads in midst career is colossal enough, however Berlin left one rival to play for the other. In the beginning it was tough, his new teammates definitely gave him a hard time coming from Florida, however as time wore on, he was warmly welcomed to the family.
“It was definitely different playing against UF back in September. I was really glad we won that game though,” Berlin said. “I had really good friends on both sides of the ball, so it was unusual. I’m on a new team now; I’m with the Hurricanes, wearing the orange and green. You know, that’s just the way competition is.”
UM head coach Larry Coker was very supportive of the situation. He did not deceive Berlin in any way and make promises that he would not be able to keep. He told it like it was, and his approach was persuasive enough to acquire Berlin from the Gators.
“Coker was really great. I was always able to call him and talk to him,” Berlin said. “He was just super nice, and he just explained the whole situation to me. But I think a big thing too was that in high school Coker was also one of the guys who recruited me. I remembered him and the kind of guy he was.”
It was a huge transition, extreme to extreme for Brock Berlin. Playing as starting quarterback in the Orange Bowl for University of Florida against University of Maryland to conclude the 2001 season, then to watch from the sidelines and work with the UM scout team this season. However, he enjoyed practicing with young receivers and new offensive linemen.
“Oh it’s been fun. I’ve actually had a good time with it,” stated Berlin. “We’ve had a good chance to get to know each other, and see each other’s strengths and weaknesses.”
It is always good for a player to have time under his belt observing a position that he is to play in the future. Pending the situation, Berlin was able to watch two-time candidate quarterback Ken Dorsey in action, while waiting in the wings for the 2003 season. He learned a lot, and especially making the transition from another squad, it was vital for him to learn how the ‘Canes do their thing.
“Our whole thinking is, as soon as this season is over, in another month, then we’ll be able to decide,” explained Hurricane Quarterbacks coach Dan Werner. “We’ll then begin working on that and start analyzing who’s going to be the quarterback. It’s going to be a long ways away. We’ve got all off season, all of spring football, all summer, all two-a-days, then probably a week before the 1st game we’ll figure out who’s going to be our next quarterback.”
Berlin has been thinking about next year more and more as the season comes to a close. However he keeps himself in check and realizes winning as a team comes first, and after the season he will have time to prove himself again to up his chances for the 2003 term.
“Yes, in the back of my mind I’m thinking about next year and getting excited about having the chance to play,” Berlin said. “The year has come to an end and it’s starting to get fun now. It’s been a while, I have just been kind of in the back, in the shadows watching everything, and running the scout team. But now I’m back in it, and I’m really excited to get into the competition again.”
You can reach Dana Strokovsky at Hoopg1rl6@aol.com.