Last week the Hurricanes began spring practices with the first two days being in shorts, which is mandatory by NCAA guidelines. The third and final practice of the week was in pads.
"The first week went well," Morse said. "The offense started picking it up on Thursday after a tough day before. As long as we continue that after spring break it will be great."
The team will resume practice on March 22 in shells and will return to practicing in pads the day after. Morse prefers practices in pads.
"It is a lot better to be practicing in pads especially along the offensive line," Morse said.
Derrick Morse is one of three guards in competition for two starting positions this year. Tyler McMeans and Tony Tella are also competiting with Morse.
McMeans started the first six games of the season at right guard in 2004 before suffering a knee injury and Morse stepped in his spot for the final six games. Tella started all 12 games at left guard.
McMeans is a 6-foot-5, 325-pound lineman from Shippenville, Penn. who will be in his final season for the Hurricanes this fall after spending his first two years at Lackawanna Junior College.
Tella is a 6-foot-5, 300-pound lineman from Houston who will be in his fifth and final season at Miami. He had off-season shoulder surgery and will be limited throughout spring practices. Last year was his first year starting and has played tackle in his career.
Morse is the young one out of the trio and will only be a sophomore this fall. He played his high school football at Estero High in Fort Myers. He has always been known as a tough guard that plays with a passion. With a year under his belt he looks to become an even bigger threat on the line.
One of the things Morse wanted to do in preparation for the 2005 season was to lose weight. He has always been a guy that the coaching staff wanted to lose weight. Known as a big eater losing weight wasn't exactly easy for him. But he put his mind to it and stuck to it.
The results have shown in only a short amount of time and he is excited about his new weight.
"I played all of last season around 320-325 pounds," Morse said. "But right now I am down to 300 pounds."
So how did he lose 20-25 pounds in the last three months?
"It was just eating right," Morse said. "I have always been working out here, but I could never eat right until I just decided to turn it around."
With only a week into spring practices Morse can tell a difference in his mobility at the guard position.
"I am feeling good and moving fast," Morse said. "I also feel stronger."
Losing weight or gaining weight can help a player's performance in many ways. Offensive line coach Art Kehoe is not a big beleiver in his offensive linemen needing to be real big guys. He believes they should be under the 315-pound mark and can be effective there.
"Losing the weight has helped me in every aspect of my game so far," Morse said. "It has helped my footwork and leverage."
The key for Morse is to maintain a positive playing weight. The hardest part about losing weight is keeping it off. For Morse it will be important to remain eating right throughout the summer before fall practices begin in August.
Christopher Stock is a Senior Writer & Assistant Editor at CanesTime and can be contacted by emailing him at email@example.com
Morse Preparing for 2005 Season
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