Stats drop, but Dorsey has Miami well-armed

Win over No. 9 Fla. State today would go a long way toward shaking his critics

October 12, 2002|By Omar Kelly | Omar Kelly,SPECIAL TO THE SUN

CORAL GABLES, Fla. - Ken Dorsey is shattering University of Miami records at an unparalleled pace, yet he can't shake the critics who say he's merely the caretaker of an abundantly talented offense.

Dorsey's critics point to his less-than-sterling stats, and they question whether he has improved from last season when he led the Hurricanes to the national title.

Dorsey's completion percentage (57.6 percent) is down and his interceptions (five) are up. In addition, his passing yards (1,044) are down almost 400 from his total through Miami's first five games last season.

But Miami coaches point out the only statistic important to them: 31-1. That's Dorsey's career record as a starter for the top-ranked Hurricanes coming into today's showdown with No. 9 Florida State.

Coach Larry Coker said Dorsey's keen decision-making and mastery of Miami's offense are vital to the team's success.

"I've heard people say he's a product of the system," Miami quarterback coach Dan Werner said. "To me, the system is a product of him. You look at what we've done over the last seven years that we've been running this [pro-style] offense. He's the one who has really gotten it to where it is now.

"You weren't hearing about Heisman candidates before he came in, and we weren't winning [27] straight games until he came."

Dorsey says he understands the criticism, which, he says, fuels him.

"People are going to say things. I've kind of set a standard for myself on the field. Every year the standard gets higher," he said. "It's my job to try to go out and play at a level I'm capable of playing at. Hopefully, as the year goes on, I'll keep throwing for good numbers and hopefully people will respect the kind of career I've had."

Werner said Dorsey's numbers are down because the Hurricanes have been taking what opposing defenses have been giving them, which is the run. Fearing the big play, teams have double-covered Miami's receivers.

And Dorsey has succeeded in areas in which there are no statistics, particularly at making the right audible.

"We have so many hot reads and sight adjustments, protection checks and run audibles," Werner said. "All that is predicated on him, and there aren't a lot of guys in the country who can do that."

Dorsey likely will be calling a lot of audibles today against the Seminoles. In his two career games against Florida State, he is 41 of 69 for 577 yards with five touchdowns and no interceptions.

"He comes alive when the pressure is on," Coker said. "He just seems to have that knack of being able to win the big game and make the plays happen when they need to happen.

"The reason we've won is because of the things Ken gives us and the opportunities he gives us."

Omar Kelly is a reporter for the South Florida Sun-Sentinel, a Tribune Publishing newspaper.

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