High Expectations for Morse in 2006

Probably the unit that is under the most pressure to develop during the 2006 spring football season is offensive line. Though guard Derrick Morse realizes this group of young players still has a long ways to go, he sees a lot of potential.

"Our offensive line, ever since I have been here, has not been the best ever," Morse said. "That is comparing to the 2001 offensive line and that is where we are trying to get to. We are on our way. We are starting with the best spring the offensive line has had since I have been here going against the defense."

Derrick Morse is entering his junior season after a injury plagued 2005 season. After starting the final six games of the 2003 season, Morse only played sparingly in five games for UM in 2005.

After an offseason of rehabilitation, Morse says his shoulder feels fine now.

"So far the shoulder is holding up well," Morse said. "It was just a break and I rehabbed it and it feels ready to go. When I started lifting in the offseason, I had to work doubly as hard, so I got the strength back in it now."

With Coach Cristobal now coaching the offensive line, Morse has even more to be excited about this spring.

"Coach Cristobal is a great coach," Morse said. "He is a good role model for all of us. We are ready to work hard for him. He has got us all ready to go and hungry. He is a get after it kind of guy that demands crazy effort and that we get the job done. We love him."

Morse said he weighs about 325 pounds right now and will probably lose about 5-10 pounds during the summer. The primary thing he wants to work on this spring is "staying low."

Morse is currently playing right guard with the first-team. One of the key ingredients for and offensive line to be successful is to have good communication and chemistry between the players. Playing right tackle, next to Morse, is Tyrone Byrd. Morse talked about how Byrd is progressing.

"Byrd is looking good," Morse said. "We are working real well together, we understand each other and have a good chemistry. All of the young guys are kicking it up; getting their techniques better and working hard. That is the main thing, working hard to learn the new techniques."

Morse is thrilled that he is finally injury-free and able to play football healthy. He says he can feel a new freshness and attitude from his teammates. An attitude that he hopes will carry over to the fall.

"It is a new beginning for everybody. The coaches all have fresh eyes and they do not know what you did previously. You just have to come out here and show them why you got your scholarship and show them why you are here and prove that you can play."

David Lake is a Staff Writer with CanesTime and can be contacted by emailing him at lake@canestime.com

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