Competitiveness Fuels Wooten

The season was young, and Morris Wooten found himself in a fierce position battle. The JC transfer from local Glendale Community College was fighting off sophomore Gerald Munns for the starting MIKE linebacker role. Wooten barely hung on to his starter status and now he's emerging as one of the leaders on the ASU defense.

Morris Wooten colleted seven tackles in Arizona State's win over San Diego State. It wasn't even a team-high (that honor is saved for Robert James with 11), but was a career-high with the maroon and gold and a possible sign that Wooten has finally found his niche on this level. "I'm trying to get better every day, help the team get better and get ready for the Pac-10," he said. "The first two games I was getting used to the physicality of the game, but now I'm ready."

The junior did start two out of three games this season, and his backup Gerald Munns (who's out 2-3 weeks with a knee injury) was getting just as many game time snaps as he did. Not only did Wooten never experience pressure over this situation, but he claimed that the duel for playing time did generate positives and fit in to his already established frame of mind.

"It's all about competing and getting goals. I wanna win and I want our team to be the best, so that's what we all work for in practice everyday," Wooten stated. "I wanna be the best and I have to come in with the mindset of getting better…I'm a team player and I know the best person has to play. I'm gonna continue to work hard and keep on competing. I wish Gerald the best and now that he's out we all have to step up. When one dog goes down another one has to step up. Defense is a team game and we all have to play well together."

Thus far, the ASU defense has been a nice surprise, being stingy in the number of points they surrender each game. The Sun Devils are currently ranked as the league's top defense which is a reward for the work Wooten and his teammates put in and the philosophy they preach to each other.

"We have a lot of confidence because we work hard and count on each other," Wooten explained. "Coaches always talk about accountability, so each of us makes sure that they're doing their job and that way we help the team play better. If everyone in their spots is doing their job we'll be fine"

Wooten and his teammates are naturally excited and "hungry" for the start of Pac-10 season and the upcoming game against Oregon State. "As a defense we come out to compete against anybody, no matter who steps in front of us," said Wooten. "Oregon State is a challenge and as a first Pac-10 game it will determine how good we are. Right now I feel that we're ready."

Earlier in the week both team's head coaches talked about the similarities between both offenses. Wooten agreed with that notion and said that there's an unmistakable sense of comfort with the Beavers' schemes. "We've been practicing against this type of offense since I got here," he claimed. "They still may come out with different things, but it's still the same like Arizona's State offense. I know it like the back of my hand. I'm still gonna prepare for it, get better and come out to work on Saturday. We should know how to read it."

Sun Devil Source Top Stories