Leader on the lines

CAMPBELL – The outcome of Campbell’s 2013 football season was not what senior Will Morris had in mind.

After recording winning seasons from 2010 to 2012 and achieving two conference titles in three years, the Red Devils went 3-7.

Morris tried to push last season to the back of his mind, but it was a tough pill to swallow.

The senior finally cut his losses and vowed that the 2014 season would be different – that it would be better. Now more motivated than ever, Morris can’t wait for a fresh start.

“More or less last year, we were excited for the season, but now it’s like sleepless nights,” Morris said.

Whether or not Morris is actually losing sleep in eager anticipation for the start of a new football season, his excitement is certainly mounting in anticipation for a new beginning. The addition of a new head coach also has boosted the team’s morale and added to the eagerness.

Last January, Campebll selected Ed Rozum to be the squad’s new coach, replacing Mickey Sikora. Under Rozum’s new system, Morris will be required to play both ways due to lack of experience and depth on the 40-man team. Morris will resume his offensive duties at center, and on the defensive side of the ball, he will line up as a defensive end in the Red Devils’ 3-4 set formation.

“He’s going to be playing strong side defensive end, so he’s going to be playing to the tight end side, and he’s a tough kid, and that’s what we’re looking for,” Rozum said. “He’s a very good leader as well and works hard all the time.”

Playing center was already demanding enough for Morris without having to worry about two positions, but he said he’s game for a new challenge if it means bettering the team.

“I did center last year, and it involved a lot of wear and tear, so trying to go both ways this year is going to be a big transition for me, but the coaches have helped a lot with getting me more reps and conditioning me,” Morris said. “You have to be a lot more physical than being on the offensive line because your goal on defense is to destroy everybody, so you got to come off harder and more physical.”

Once two-a-day practices were in full swing, Rozum began preparing Morris for his new role on the defensive front. Rozum is helping his senior leader adjust to the “run-and-hit” mentality he is trying to instill in the players. With a new defensive configuration and offensive scheme, Rozum is laying the groundwork for a new-and-improved Campbell football team in order to boost the morale of his troops.

Based on what Rozum had to say about his strong-side defensive end, Morris will most likely take command of the defensive line.

“Will’s a tough kid and a smart kid,” Rozum said. “He’s the one that’s going to make a lot of our blocking adjustments from the line, so he has to know that. He has to be a leader, and he’s going to help the younger guys.”

With a new coach in charge and fresh outlook on the 2014 season, the senior’s ultimate goal is to go out with a bang. He said he wants to end his final year at Campbell on a good note and carry on the Red Devils’ football tradition to the underclassmen below him, the future leaders that will pave the way for Campbell football.

“That’s the one thing I want as a senior is to go out right and send my leadership down to the junior class and then even the sophomore class,” Morris said.