Miami's reputation as Quarterback U. needs resuscitation. No Canes signal-caller has been named first-team allconference since Ken Dorsey in 2002. The last Miami passer drafted before the fourth round? Steve Walsh (first round supplemental draft, 1989).
Fortunately for Canes fans, redshirt frosh Robert Marve is equipped to perform QB CPR. In 2006, Marve led Tampa's Plant High to a state title just two years after the team went 3—7. Along the way, he shattered Tim Tebow's state records for passing yards and touchdowns in a season.
This fall, Marve is the favorite to start for a team that went 5—7 last season. Coach Randy
Shannon has publicly declared he'll play multiple quarterbacks, but privately, his coaches are ecstatic about Marve and compare the 6'1", 205-pound dual threat to some of the program's greats. "He's an outstanding athlete," says one UM coach. "And he's got the toughness, work ethic and self-confidence we need at the position. From a presence standpoint, he's a lot like Dorsey."
Marve may have unseated upperclassmen Kyle Wright and Kirby Freeman a year ago had he not broken his left (nonthrowing) wrist in a July car crash. Healthy again this spring, he battled spindly early-enrollee Jacory Harris (6'4", 180), last year's Mr. Football in Florida. Says Shannon, "They're good quarterbacks, but they're young."
And one is especially confident. Following a spring practice, Marve walked off the field and declared, "The excitement is back at the University of Miami!"
He's a big reason why.
By Jeff Dooley
Auburn defensive linemen Sen'Derrick Marks and Antonio Coleman played basketball for rival high schools back in Mobile, Ala. But that didn't stop the two friends from planning a joint football recruiting trip on a weekend when their teams were to play each other as seniors.
At the last minute, though, Coleman backed out and dropped 20 points on Marks' Vigor High. When their schools met again a few weeks later, Marks returned the favor and lit up Coleman's Williamson squad after ditching him on another planned recruiting trip.
"That was really funny," Coleman says. "We still talk about that to this day."
Given their knack for role reversal, the two juniors should have no trouble doing the same on the field this year. Coleman, a 250-pound defensive end, had 8.5 sacks last season despite not starting until the sixth game. His emergence has led the team to move the 294-pound Marks, who played tackle in 2006, back inside from defensive end. Coaches lined them up side by side this spring before Coleman was sidelined with a neck injury. In August, the staff again plans to work on flipping the SEC's most feared DE/DT duo back and forth. "I love playing on the inside," Coleman says. "I pride myself on stopping the run."
For now, Coleman and Marks—a likely NFL first-round pick—are looking past the preseason buzz surrounding Florida and Georgia ("Auburn's always the underdog," Coleman says) to focus on themselves. "We should have a pretty good season," Marks says, "and hopefully we'll go all the way."
Together this time.