Morley loves UT defense

Of Tennessee's 25 freshman football players, Demetrice Morley probably has the best chance to get on the field the soonest.

First, he's enormously talented. Secondly, he plays a position (safety) of immediate need. Third, the Vols' defensive scheme seems tailored to his abilities.

"Oh, it definitely fits what I like to do," the 6-0, 180-pounder said during a break in Saturday's Media Day activities at Neyland Stadium. "Our defense is fast, aggressive, strong – everything you could want in a defense. It's powerful, it's ferocious … I'm just ready to fit inside that and show my abilities when I get the opportunity."

Although Morley was one of the top-rated defensive prospects in America last winter, he says his reputation won't open any doors for him at Tennessee. He has to make a strong impression in practice, just like anyone else.

"I haven't opened nobody's eyes until the lights come on at game time," he said. "But I'm working hard – learning the plays, getting help from my teammates and the coaches – so when my opportunity comes I'll be able to show my ability."

Because Tennessee is a little shaky at the safety positions, Morley will get a long look from UT's coaches this preseason. What must he do to earn their confidence and earn a chance to play right away?

"Once they see that I'm giving 100 percent, that I know what I'm doing and I'm comfortable with what I'm doing, I'll get their confidence," he said. "Once I do that, they'll give me an opportunity."

Head coach Phillip Fulmer said Tennessee's secondary situation is so uncertain right now that he wouldn't rule out the possibility of a freshman starting by midseason. Morley's reaction to this comment was surprisingly calm.

"That doesn't affect me much because we've got a lot of freshmen coming in in the secondary," he said. "He could've been talking about me, but maybe not. If he was or wasn't, I'm still going out there and work hard. I'm not going to slack off or get the big head. I'm going to give it all I've got."

Starting may not be a big deal to Morley, but PLAYING is. The opportunity for immediate playing time in UT's secondary was a primary reason he signed with the Vols last February.

"That was a big part of my decision to come here," he said. "I knew if I worked hard and did what I was supposed to – on and off the field – I'd have a chance to get in the rotation."


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