A year after surgery and the injury still beleaguered Morgan, both on and off the field. On it, he struggled to hold onto the ball. Off of it, he struggled with the idea that he wasn't his old self.
Fast forward to 2012 where a new and improved Morgan is equally visible in his demeanor and in his runs. With a smaller cast of characters at running back, Morgan's playing time will be determined by him alone.
"Last year it was just so much going on, honestly. From being a freshman out there and there's a lot of pressure of trying to do everything right and not messing up," Morgan said. "I had my plays on my mind, just going up to the line and trying to look who to block, a filled stadium, and then on top of that I had my knee so it was like when I was out there, my mind was just going so fast I didn't have time to slow things down."
"Or to really think about the bigger picture of trying to get the play done and not try to make anything spectacular, [instead of] just getting my job done and knowing that my knee is stable."
Morgan said he thinks he's as close to 100 percent as he's going to be. He said the lack of competition at his spot is "nice" but it has also been exhausting.
"The reps keep coming on you fast so it's like, I'm feeling it. As you're going on, I'm like 'man I'm tired, man I'm tired,'" he said. "But towards the end of spring ball it's going to be lovely because we're going to be in the best shape on the team I feel like."
On Tuesday Lane Kiffin named George Farmer the day's Most Valuable Player and two days later he named another receiver with the same title. Marqise Lee was praised by a slew of people Thursday, including Kiffin, Matt Barkley and new receivers coach Tee Martin.
Barkley and Kiffin both said Lee could end be the "best ever" to come through USC while Martin said Lee's potential was limitless.
Lee made an acrobatic leap in the air to catch a high Matt Barkley pass at the end of Thursday's session. It was a play he's made time and again, at practice and in games.
"The good thing is, I don't know which [catch] you're referring to. He makes a couple of those a day," Kiffin said. "He's just unique."
The offense in general didn't look as smooth as Day One, but Kiffin said that was expected after the excitement surrounding the start of spring ball.
Farmer went out with a hamstring injury midway through the Trojans' practice. He said, "it doesn't look good," but still expects to be healthy at the end of the university's spring break, in about 10 days.
Randall Telfer was the only healthy tight end available Thursday, while Junior Pomee and Xavier Grimble nursed injuries. The reps are great for Telfer, but the Trojans don't want to max out the entire position group in the first week of spring ball. Kiffin said the spring season is typically like this in terms of injuries coming heavy early on.
Quarterback Jesse Scroggins is missing out on valuable reps as Max Wittek and Cody Kessler vie for that No. 2 spot. Scroggins, who only participated in individual drills, is nursing a hip injury. Kiffin said the situation doesn't behoove Scroggins.
"Obviously we don't hold it against him because it's out of his control. But it doesn't help him. If you miss reps, you miss reps. That's a lot of pocket reps he's missing over that time."
Barkley will not be as active in upcoming spring practices for two reasons: one, to avoid an unnecessary injury, and two, so the backup quarterbacks can get more reps.