Morley can do it all

Some guys are better at cornerback. Some guys are better at free safety. Some guys are better at strong safety. Tennessee has one guy, though, who believes he can play all of the above with equal success … and he just might be right.

Demetrice Morley says the secondary positions really aren't all that different. So, if you can play one, you can play ‘em all.

"As DBs," he says, "we just backpedal and go for the ball."

Secondary coach Larry Slade might argue that being a defensive back involves more than that but he can't argue with this: Morley has the size (6-2, 195) and skills to help the 2006 Vols as a corner, as a free safety, as a strong safety and as a nickel back.

So, which position does Morley prefer?

"I love corner," he said, pausing briefly before adding, "and I love safety. I feel I'm versatile enough to go both ways and play any one of those positions."

The talented Miami native played exclusively free safety as a freshman last fall because Slade figured concentrating on one position would hasten Morley's development. This year, however, Morley has expanded his horizons, getting practice time at strong safety and both corners.

Asked how difficult it is to learn alignments and assignments for so many different positions, Morley grinned broadly.

"It's not difficult at all," he said. "The safety is like the quarterback of the defense. We call the defense, so I should know what the cornerbacks are doing and they should know what I'm doing. I know what the D-line is doing and what the linebackers are doing.

"When I'm at corner I should know what to do. I don't feel like there's a big change. As DBs, we just backpedal and go for the ball."

When you're as gifted as Demetrice Morley, the game may actually be that simple.

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