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Time to see if Dorsey really fits Miami QB mold

By Bill Doherty
Special to

Butch Davis can't help but see the eerie similarities between his current Miami (Fla.) quarterback Ken Dorsey and former Cane great Bernie Kosar.

Dorsey has the same tall, skinny frame. The same hair color. The same thinking man's approach. The same easy grin. The same level of confidence. Heck, Dorsey is even the same exact age (19) as Kosar was when he authored UM's first national title march 17 autumns ago.

And Dorsey is even surrounded by the same caliber of skill players that ole Bernie had with the old-school Hurricanes.

"Kenny is very similar in makeup to Bernie Kosar, except he's a much better athlete than Bernie ever was," said Davis. "I'm sure that's something that Bernie wouldn't want to hear."

But can Dorsey do what Kosar did as a 19-year-old? He's off to a flying start, that's for sure.

In four career starts for the Hurricanes, the 6-foot-5, 193-pound Dorsey has completed an impressive 81 of 120 passes for 966 yards, 12 TDs and one interception. Those gaudy numbers would suggest that the folks in Canton, Ohio better get cracking on a bust of Dorsey, however three of the Miami quarterback's four starts have come against Big East weaklings Temple and Rutgers, and last week against I-AA McNeese State. The lone bowl-caliber team that Dorsey has started against is Syracuse.

So, this week against No. 15 Washington, we'll learn about Dorsey and whether he has what it takes to lead the talented Canes to a national title, whether he has what it takes to help Davis break his combined 0-10 record as a head man vs. Florida State and Virginia Tech. And just like he'll be in the soon-to-come battles with Florida State and Virginia Tech, which feature the older-than-sports himself Chris Weinke and the faster-than-a-motorcycle Michael Vick under center respectively, Dorsey will be "other" quarterback this week.

Most of the pregame hype has surrounded Washington's Marques Tuiasosopo, a 6-2, 220-pound do-it-all senior. Tuiasosopo leads the Huskies' option-style offense and poses as the team's biggest threat when he runs the football. Davis says Tuiasosopo reminds him a lot of Philadelphia Eagles and former Syracuse quarterback Donovan McNabb, a guy who led an embarrassing 66-13 whipping of the Canes back in 1998.

"When things break down, he's lethal," Davis said. "He reminds you a lot of Brett Favre and Randall Cunningham. He can take a potentially broken play and turn it into a huge play. He's really a talented player and every bit as good as everyone talks about." Make no mistake, Davis is impressed with his quarterback, too. Davis has liked Dorsey from the first time he ever laid eyes on him at Miramonte (Calif.) High basketball practice.

"I flew out to California and saw Kenny on a basketball court and I immediately liked his floor presence," recalls Davis. "The way he moved the ball around and steadied his team. I thought that if he could carry that same type of presence or leadership on to the football field that we could be on to something."

They appear to be.

Dorsey stepped in and thrived last fall when Kenny Kelly, who is now pursuing a baseball career in the Tampa Bay Devil Rays minor league system, went down with an injury in 1999. The Aug. 30 victory over McNeese State was his fourth win in as many college starts. In those four games, Dorsey has thrown for 966 yards and 12 TDs as the Hurricanes have outscored their opponents in those four games, 216-27.

Despite the fast start, Dorsey refuses to compare himself to any of Miami's legendary line of quarterbacks, from George Mira to Kosar to Vinny Testaverde to Steve Walsh to Craig Erickson to Gino Torretta.

"That's crazy," he says. "I haven't done anything ? yet."

Davis, for one, seems sure that Dorsey will succeed, though.

"First of all, the personalities of Kenny and (Miami offensive coordinator) Larry Coker fit together well," said Davis. "Larry's a good teacher and Kenny's an excellent pupil. Kenny like to do the things that separate the good ones from the great ones. He likes to study film. He put in a tremendous amount of work this offseason, getting physically stronger and working with his wide receivers to pick up the little nuances.

"Plus, he's really a smart kid and he's a really good leader. He's going to be really good quarterback before he's through, if he keeps working as hard as he's been working."

Bill Doherty covers Big East football for

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