Arizona football: 'Old man' gives Cats experience

Senior Morrison has played receiver, QB, punt returner, corner
2013-08-22T00:00:00Z Arizona football: 'Old man' gives Cats experienceDaniel Berk Arizona Daily Star Arizona Daily Star
August 22, 2013 12:00 am  • 

In his four-plus years with the Arizona Wildcats, senior Richard Morrison has played quarterback, receiver, punt returner and cornerback.

He's played in 30 total games and has taken hundreds of hits.

The result?

The Royse City, Texas, native is the resident "old man" of the team.

Just ask receivers coach Tony Dews.

"He has those ailing things - hips and knees and ankles - sometimes he acts like he's 60 years old," Dews joked. "We just keep poking him."

Morrison is still listed on the UA's roster as a cornerback, but has recently moved back to slot receiver - the position he called home for the previous three seasons. The Wildcats moved him to corner in the spring and he began fall camp there. But with the depth at receiver as shallow as ever, Morrison is back on offense for the time being. It's possible he could play both ways for the UA this season.

"Richard is a tough kid," Dews said. "Richard brings an element of experience and he's working hard. He's been very good for the program. He can help our young kids because he's played so many different spots."

In his career, Morrison has 64 catches for 560 yards and four touchdowns. He also has 24 punt returns for 193 yards, including a 63-yard score against Washington last season.

Whether it's at receiver, returner or cornerback, Morrison should be a valuable piece for the Wildcats this season.

Morrison recently chatted with the Star about moving around on the field, his final season in Tucson and just how hard a Rich Rodriguez practice is on offense.

On being back at receiver: "It's tough out there. Now it's just memorizing what I used to do and get back in that swing. I had a couple of missed assignments recently at practice, so I just have to make sure I get back in that playbook and really study and get caught up."

On what he considers his main position right now: "I actually don't know. I just go with the flow and do whatever coach needs me to do that day. I feel like we're in a good place right now with how things are. I think I still may play some defensive back, but I'm getting the most work at receiver right now.

"I'm still tight with (cornerbacks coach David) Lockwood. He taught me a lot in eight months. If I do go back to defense, I can't just forget everything I've learned. I need to make sure I'm still up to speed and able to help them out if they call my number. In case he needs me, I want to be ready."

On which is harder, playing offense or defense: "'Coach Rod's' offense is harder. If you're playing offense for him, you better be in shape. I feel like there's no team in college football that's in better shape that us. It's mandatory. It's tough on defense, don't get me wrong, but on offense, it's go, go, go. I'd say offense is a bit tougher than defense."

On the recent switch back to offense after working exclusively on defense the first two weeks of camp: "I went to them and asked him what he needed. I want to be a team player. He said let's use you in the slot for right now and see how that goes. But he said he could still use me on defense. So, we'll see what happens."

On how he prepares differently for practice when he plays offense: "I hydrate. I try to drink and eat a lot during the day. The way I feel today, I haven't felt like that the entire camp. On defense, it was more relaxed, my body felt great. After today, I was like, oh God, it's back to offense. I am tired. You sweat everything out."

On his final year at the UA: I'm so excited. This camp has gone by too fast. This career has gone by too fast. Every day when we go into the weight room to lift, there's countdown days up on the wall, and today it said 'nine days,' and I was like, wow, it's here. I'm excited this hard work is going to pay off. People are going to know who we are soon."

Extra points

• The Wildcats added safety Tyler Turituri to their roster Wednesday. Turituri played the 2011 season with Portland State and then sat out last year.

He's the older brother of freshman linebacker Derrick Turituri. Tyler is a nonscholarship player and is eligible to play this season.

• Rodriguez awarded scholarships to receiver Trevor Ermisch and running back Terris Jones on Wednesday. Both are juniors.

Contact reporter Daniel Berk at dberk@azstarnet.com or 573-4330. On Twitter @DSBerk.

Copyright 2014 Arizona Daily Star. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.


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