After sitting out most of the 2005 season with a shoulder injury, junior Derrick Morse is ready to step into a starting role at guard in 2006. Morse did return last season for the Duke game, but never received significant playing time.
"It is kind of depressing—being injured and not playing—because you work hard all spring and summer wanting to play, and you get hurt and miss half of the season and it is a bummer," Morse said. "Now I am just trying to work hard and stay healthy this season."
Morse is a player that is known for his aggression
"He is just relentless," Offensive Line Coach Mario Cristobal said. "He is what we are using as a measuring stick in terms of effort. If you are not playing as hard as D-Mo you are probably not going to make it up front and we are going to find someone to replace you."
Morse believes his intensity helps the unit stay focused.
"It helps the unit because we have a lot of young guys and hopefully I am a good enough leader that they can feed off me and see my energy level even if we are down."
Nobody on the offensive line personifies the changes and new philosophies that will take affect along the line in 2006 more than Derrick Morse.
The philosophy of former coach Art Kehoe, linemen was expected to be quicker and lighter at around 300-pounds. But, Coach Cristobal wants his linemen to be bigger and stronger ;to play at a weight that they feel comfortable with.
"I feel great, I am at 322-pounds right now," Morse said. "I am feeling strong and fast. I think I have my weight right where I want it to be. We are trying to get big as a line and move people. The least I ever got down to was 298-pounds. I just felt a little light going up against defensive tackles that were 10 to 20 pounds heavier than me.
"Cristobal is an awesome offensive line coach. Everybody is having a good time and wanting to work hard for him. He brings out the best in you."
The biggest adjustment this season will be learning the new offense.
"Some of the terminology is different," Morse said. "The coaches have made it as easy as they can for us. It has not been that hard to learn. We were working real hard during the summer in the film room and now outside we are doing walkthroughs on our own as a unit."
Understanding that it is now his time to play for the University of Miami, Morse cannot wait to line up and play the first game of the season.
"On the offensive line, we have a lot to prove this year because everybody doubts us. We cannot wait for Florida State. I have been waiting for this since high school. I can't wait to get out there. This is what I love to do and now I am able to do it."
David Lake can be reached at email@example.com
Cristobal on Morse: "He is just relentless"
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