ESPN the Magazine ESPN
In This Issue
Message Board
Customer Service

The Life

As Dorsey goes, so goes the season
ESPN The Magazine

Nineteen-year-old Ken Dorsey -- all 6'5", 195 lbs. of him -- looks more like a high school basketball small forward than a college football player. (OK, maybe he could pass for a punter.) Truth is, the spindly Miami quarterback is the most pivotal player of the 2000 college football season. Not Drew Brees, Drew Henson or even Michael Vick. It's Dorsey, a guy who has started just three games in his career.

Here's why: The Hurricanes get their two toughest games, Florida State and Virginia Tech, at home. With Santana Moss and Reggie Wayne leading a receiving corps that's eight deep, the Canes have more talent on the outside than every other team in the country -- probably more than the Dolphins, too. Miami also has a surplus of star running backs to complement its passing game. But there's a big if: the O-line is shaky and Miami's first big test comes Sept. 9 at Washington -- a very loud place, especially for a young QB.

Miami has the speed to stretch (and break) any defense, but unless Dorsey can get the ball downfield, UM will see a lot of eight-man fronts. That's been Miami's downfall in recent years.

The legends of Kelly (Jim, not Kenny) and Kosar and Vinny notwithstanding, the reality of Hurricane football is that the team hasn't had a big-time QB since the early '90s. And since opponents haven't been scared of Miami's passing game, they can bottle up the Canes' running attack with loaded fronts and run blitzes.

UM coaches think this year will be different. They like Dorsey's arm and they love his head. For all the gaudy numbers he racked up as a prep passer in Orinda, Calif., the stat that drew Miami coach Butch Davis was a zero. Dorsey didn't take a single sack his senior year. If Dorsey can show that kind of savvy this season, Miami could be hosting the national title game four months from now. If not, Ethenic Sands, a guy who was a fourth-string WR last season, becomes the Canes' new pilot.

Strength and numbers

After thumbing through all the pre-season annuals, you're probably sick of stats. But here's one more that's worth digesting: When Dennis Franchione came to TCU, only five Horned Frogs could bench press 400 lbs. Now, two and a half years later, TCU has an astounding 50 players putting up at least 400! Most teams don't even have half that. Every offensive starter at TCU would be over 400 if QB Casey Printers didn't have a sore back when he got tested this summer. (Printers got 390 pretty easily last spring.)

Ben Pollard, the Frogs' strength coach, who arrived shortly after Franchione, says his players do nothing out of the ordinary. "We have a very dedicated team that works hard," he says. "Strength and conditioning is a major focus around here, but that's about it."

In case you were wondering, the Horned Frogs do use Creatine, although only in small amounts, says Pollard. He expects about 40% of the players to use it during the season.

Take it to the bank . . .

Jonathan Beasley, last year's Holiday Bowl MVP, will be the first QB on a Top 25 team to get benched. Beasley is inaccurate, wildly inconsistent and nowhere near the runner redshirt freshman Ell Roberson is. And if Bill Snyder is going to beat Nebraska, it'll be up to Roberson to lead the way.

Jamar Fletcher will rocket into the Heisman race by late September. Not only is Wisconsin's lock-down CB the country's top overall defender, but after WR Chris Chambers' injury (stress fracture/foot), Fletcher will emerge as the Badgers' game-breaker, too. Fletcher says he'll get 10-12 plays as a receiver, running digs, outs and comebacks and should flash the wheels that have enabled him to return five of his 14 career INTs for TDs. Fletch's national coming-out party takes place Sept. 30 at Michigan against David Terrell.

Michael Munoz probably will start all four years at Tennessee, but the freshman that will have the biggest impact this season in the SEC is across the state at Vanderbilt. Speedy Chris Young, a 6'2", 188-pounder from Mississippi, will play QB, WB and WR. He is, quite simply, the most dazzling thing to hit Nashville since Shania Twain. He's also a big reason why the Commodores could go bowling this season.

Clemson will be the team America falls for this year. The Tigers are coached by a Bowden (Tommy), have an exciting fast-break offense and a charismatic star in runt LB Keith Adams, a.k.a. The Termite. Expect them to go undefeated -- til they visit Papa Bowden in Tallahassee in November.

Bruce Feldman covers college football for ESPN The Magazine.

Latest Issue

Also See

 ESPN Tools
Email story
Most sent
Print story

Customer Service


BACK ISSUES Help | Media Kit | Contact Us | Tools | Site Map | PR
Copyright ©2002 ESPN Internet Ventures. Terms of Use and Privacy Policy and Safety Information are applicable to this site. For ESPN the Magazine customer service (including back issues) call 1-888-267-3684. Click here if you're having problems with this page.