North Texas Daily

Two-time national champ QB Alec Morris ready to take on SMU

Two-time national champ QB Alec Morris ready to take on SMU

Two-time national champ QB Alec Morris ready to take on SMU
September 01
09:02 2016

For the first time since 2012, graduate transfer Alec Morris will start a game at quarterback in his home state of Texas.

It was a long and frustrating road back to the lone star state for the Allen High School product. A four-star recruit out of high school, Morris took his talents to Nick Saban’s football empire at the University of Alabama — where he barely played.

“For four years I worked my tail off,” Morris said. “Obviously it takes a little bit of a toll on you mentally. I’m having to re-adjust my mindset coming back here.”

Morris became a two-time national champion with the Crimson Tide, but threw only one pass in his time at Alabama – a six yard completion against Charleston Southern University. He never was higher than second on the depth chart in Tuscaloosa.

Despite this, Morris managed to stay game ready throughout his tenure with the Crimson Tide, a characteristic paying dividends as he becomes the new man under center at North Texas.

“He better always be ready no matter where he is, because you’re one snap away from being the guy,” head coach Seth Littrell said. “I don’t think there’s any doubt he’s been game ready. [It’s] just the type of man he is. He’ll have to knock off some rust.”

Littrell brought in Morris knowing he could sling the ball, something required in the Mean Green’s new spread offense. Morris also ran the spread in high school, so adjusting to the new style of attack was not a problem.

With Morris in the game, Littrell can push his offense to near redline level like he did in his time as offensive coordinator at the University of North Carolina. Littrell ran 3.28 plays per minute at UNC.

“He’s the more experienced guy in the system, probably a little bit more comfortable,” Littrell said. “The other guys are starting to match his tempo.”

Being the fifth-year quarterback on the team, and having two national titles under his belt, all eyes will be on Morris.

It took five years for Morris to finally crack the starting line-up for a Football Bowl Subdivison team, but when he finally did this year, Littrell had little doubt Morris was his man.

“I feel good [about Morris as the No. 1 quarterback],” Littrell said. “Coming in and learning not only a new system, but learning where to go to class and learning a lot of different things, it’s never easy. I saw his leadership ability and thought he did a great job of getting our guys out there and holding guys accountable.”

Last season, North Texas used three different signal callers, as each one proved to be ineffective in their own way. Because of this, Morris knew the Mean Green needed leadership — and a quarterback — before his move to Denton.

He was ready to step up.  Littrell named Morris to the leadership council last week.

“Regardless of if you’re the starter or not you have to let guys know what they’re doing wrong as a QB,” Morris said. “I tried to step in and be vocal here. It wasn’t hard for me to step up.”

One of the guys he’s connected with most is sophomore wide receiver and locker neighbor, Terian Goree.

Goree will be the team’s leading receiver going into the season opener, and will most likely be one of Morris’ favorite targets on the year. The two have developed a special bond in his short time in Denton.

“Alec is my boy,” Goree said. “We’re growing as brothers and not just quarterback and receiver. That builds chemistry. If we’re not on the same page then really nobody is.”

Senior quarterback Alec Morris (5) is a transfer student from the University of Alabama and will start the season as first string. Colin Mitchell

Senior quarterback Alec Morris (5) is a transfer student from the University of Alabama and will start the season as first string. Colin Mitchell

Morris’ other teammates welcomed him in with open arms when he first moved back to Texas as well, making the the transition from Tuscaloosa to Denton much easier to digest.

“I wouldn’t say it’s been that tough of an adjustment,” Morris said. “When I got here in January, the guys were really welcoming and helped me make a great group of friends. The whole team is really close in my opinion.”

Much like when he moved from Allen, Texas to Tuscaloosa, Alabama, Morris is opening a new chapter in his career on Saturday against Southern Methodist University. He is excited for his family and friends to have much easier access to watch his games.

While it is a new chapter, he is not upset about the time he spent at Alabama, especially considering what he learned under Saban and his coaching staff.

And even though it will only be for one season, Morris is mentally prepared to lead the Mean Green for the next 12 games.

“I’m not necessarily putting my time at Alabama behind me,” Morris said. “I learned a lot of stuff there. But, playing quarter back is probably the most mentally challenging position. It’s definitely a whole lot of mental to be ready.”

Featured Image: Senior quarterback Alec Morris (5) drops back after the snap during practice. Colin Mitchell

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Clay Massey

Clay Massey

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