The Hurricanes concluded spring practice Friday but failed to answer several imperative questions.
Coach Larry Coker said he plans to wait until the fall to name either Brock Berlin or Derrick Crudup as the starting quarterback.
“They’re close and we’ll go and analyze the entire spring and see where they’ve come from and where they are now,” Coker said. “Derrick has been in the system for three years and he has come a long way, and Brock is really starting to pick it up. He is quite a talent and he has got a great arm. It won’t be an easy decision.”
Despite the failure to name a starting quarterback, Coker seemed pleased with spring practice.
“I think it’s probably the best spring we’ve had since I’ve been here in terms of attitude,” Coker said. “I think we had some goals to accomplish and I think we got a lot of those things accomplished.”
Coaches named Vernon Carey, Carlos Joseph, Eric Winston, Chris Myers, Joel Rodriguez, and Joe McGrath as the six best linemen, but they will not name the starting five until this summer.
The line has struggled at times this spring, prompting the coaches to shuffle them around to see where each player can contribute the most.
“I’m not totally pleased with the offensive line,” Coker said. “It’s something I’d like to see improve more.”
The defensive line also remains in limbo with both end spots unclaimed. After the graduation of all four defensive ends, several players have engaged in a heated battle for the vacancies.
“Baraka Atkins has really stepped it up, John Square has also done a good job there and Thomas Carroll has improved against the run,” Coker said.
Redshirt freshman John Wood was also trying to earn a spot on the line before breaking an undisclosed team rule that prompted coaches to suspend him for the last week of spring practice.
The inside of the defensive line will feature a three-man rotation of Vince Wilfork, Santonio Thomas, and Orien Harris.
Coker expressed disappointment in the wide receiver position where the team went through most of spring practice with only three receivers due to injuries.
Two of those three receivers stuck out in Coker’s mind as some of the most improved players on the team. Freshman Darnell Jenkins who enrolled at Miami this spring and fan favorite Roscoe Parrish have both made substantial improvements in their play.
“Roscoe Parrish has had a fabulous spring, and he has been making play after play after play,” Coker said. “He’s probably as exciting a football player as I’ve been around.”
Receivers coach Curtis Johnson also had good things to say about Parrish.
“He’s always been a playmaker but now he has a full understanding of what we’re doing offensively and what we expect,” Johnson said. “He’s going to be a big time, big time player for us.”
Senior Jason Geathers, who coaches hoped would step into the departing Andre Johnson’s shoes as the number one receiver, had only an “average” spring according to Johnson.
With question marks all over the field, the coaches have answered at least one question where they say sophomore Frank Gore, who has healed completely from a torn ACL suffered last spring, will start at running back over senior Jarrett Payton.
The team will spend the summer training in preparation for fall practice and its first game on August 30, at Louisiana Tech.
Nate Johnson can be reached at NPJ44@aol.com.