'We Want To Attack'

Junior Derek Morris feels the offense now has a different philosophy entering the 2005 season.

Junior right tackle Derek Morris feels the offense now has a different philosophy entering the 2005 season.

"We want to attack," Morris said. "With the offense running to the ball now it looks like the defense. I think that is going to help our pace when the games come along."

"We're moving... we're moving the ball a lot better than last year. We don't have the pads on yet, but I think it is helping our confidence out because of the success we're having. We're trying to bring an attack mode and that's what Trestman is trying to instill in us. We're going to wear down the defense as the game goes on."

Morris,a 6-foot-6, 330-pound tackle from Huntersville, North Carolina, is one of three returning starters along the offensive line, joining center Leroy Harris and right guard John McKeon. He admits that it seemed like just yesterday he was having his first couple of practices at NC State, but now he is being looked at for leadership.

"I know coach has been talking about leadership," Morris said. "I try to lead by example... I'm not much of a talker. I know they are expecting me to do what I've done since I've first stepped on the field here. I'm going to do my job and set an example for the younger guys."

Physically, Morris appears to be in the best shape of his career. When he first enrolled, Morris reportedly weighed nearly 360 pounds but he has since shed the excess weight to get into better physical condition.

"I had my goal to get to 325 pounds before fall practice," Morris said. "I did that and I'm about 329 right now. I've talked to coach Amato about it, and he said as long as I'm under 330 I'll be fine. I'm doing my best to do that and it is a tough thing to do because I'm a big guy, but coach knows I'm going to handle it. I want to go into that first game under 330 pounds though."

Fans wondered about the status of Morris when it was reported that he didn't work with the first team at the opening practice.

"Right now we can't say who the starters are because coach is going to put the best players on the field," he said. "We'll know the starters before the first game."

Last year NC State suffered a rash of injuries along the offensive line that damaged the effectiveness of the offense. With a strong group of freshmen enrolled, and the return of six players with starting experience in ACC games, Morris is optomistic about the depth NC State is now developing at the position.

"I think it's a great thing that we've brought in some strong freshmen like Curtis Crouch, Julian [Williams], Jeraill McCuller, Andy Barbee... we brought those guys in, and I think it's great thing for us," said Morris. "We had a lot of injuries last year and the depth wasn't looking so good, but now we have a lot of linemen over there and everybody is competing for spots. That's going to make us all better."

Two of the younger players, and perhaps the two biggest, have caught the attention of Morris with their performances thus far.

"Jeraill McCuller and Curtis Crouch... those guys are going to be really good," said Morris. "They are special talents. Like with every freshman they just need to keep getting in shape, but they have what you're looking for in an offensive lineman."

Does Morris have any goals for his junior season?

"Just win," he replied. "I just want to win ballgames."

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