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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

Consistency is the key for WR Morrison

Mike+Christy+%2F+Arizona+Daily+Wildcat%0ARichard+Morrison.+Alamo+Bowl
Mike Christy
Mike Christy / Arizona Daily Wildcat Richard Morrison. Alamo Bowl

Richard Morrison just wants one thing when he’s on a football field — get the ball into his hands and do it any way possible.

That’s why he was all ears when coaches wanted to move the sophomore to receiver after playing quarterback in high school and during his first redshirt year at Arizona.

“It was a shocker, but I kind of figured it would come because I’m short and I’m fast,” Morrison said of the position change.

So far, Morrison has made the most of the move. Although he played sparingly during his redshirt freshman season, he was able to rack up 188 yards on 19 catches.

Morrison also played better as the season grew older, catching six passes for 66 yards in the Valero Alamo Bowl. But he’s struggled with consistency on the field, something that can’t happen if he expects to be a key player in the Arizona offense.

“He needs to be a more consistent player for us,” head coach Mike Stoops said. “Also a better blocker, but he’s getting better.”

However inconsistent he’s been, Morrison’s playmaking ability gives coaches a reason to get him on the field. Standing at only 6-foot, Morrison isn’t the same physical presence that stands out on the field like 6-foot-4 athletes Dan Buckner or Juron Criner.

But he’s adapted his style of play to fit his body type, describing himself as a “quick and elusive” runner, something receivers coach Dave Nichol thinks can turn Morrison into a dynamic player.

“He’s just got to put it all together,” Nichol said.

And while it can sometimes be tough for a playmaker to step out of the quarterback position and the spotlight that comes with it, Morrison hasn’t had any second thoughts about the position change.

“I just want to get on the field,” Morrison said. “I haven’t been thinking about quarterback anymore; just concentrating on wide receiver.”

His progress on the field shows that he’s focused on making that transition. Morrison had minimal experience at receiver in high school, and although he’s been inconsistent, he is light-years ahead of where he was immediately following the position switch.

“He has a little bit more ways to go, but he’s trying real hard and that’s a big part of it,” Nichol said. “He gets in the way of himself sometimes, but he’s come along pretty good.”

Morrison will also get a chance to shine on special teams, where the Arizona depth chart lists him as the starting punt returner along with David Douglas.

That will give Morrison a chance to make game-breaking plays, something a player he models his game after excels at.

“I’m trying to be like the next Devin Hester,” Morrison said. “It’s all about getting the ball.”

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