Letters from Camp: Romar Morris
In the time between spring practice and fall camp, several Tar Heels told me that though the spring scrimmage was a fun experience, it wasn't the kind of performance they were expecting. Kevin Reddick said that he saw a lot of growth through the first 14 practices of the spring, but the game itself was a bit of a step back. Bryn Renner wanted to play at a faster pace than the game showed. But Romar Morris broke through on that April Saturday, putting up 75 all-purpose yards and three touchdowns on limited touches.
Now, with his redshirt freshman year behind him, Morris is ready to step forward on game day. "The redshirt year taught me a lot," Morris said Saturday. "I learned from a lot of running backs and all the coaches. I learned from Ryan Houston last year, and I've been learning from Gio and A.J. and all the other running backs. Different footwork, how to read the playbook . . . I had a hard time reading the playbook so I just got in with Gio and all the other running backs to learn the playbook."
A state champion at Salisbury High School, Morris rushed for 47 touchdowns and more than 3,000 yards over his junior and senior seasons. But the transition to the college level provided a dose of reality. "When you were in high school, you were the star automatically," he said. "But now you come to a bigger environment, and you have to adapt; you have to be immune to it to become a better running back."
Used on scout team in 2011, Morris also snuck a peek at the first-team offense. "I knew they were ahead of me. They were what I was working toward." With that behind him, Morris can go about finding ways to work in to Blake Anderson's spread offense. Though some may think of it as primarily a passing attack, six players each rushed for more than 290 yards under Anderson at Southern Miss a year ago. "It's a better opportunity, because with my speed I feel I can contribute more in this offense," Morris said. "This is a clean slate for everybody, so we're all just on the same page."
Though he starts the season with Blue behind Bernard on the depth chart, Morris knows that with the no-huddle offense, his number can be called upon at any time. "Whenever [Gio] gets tired or needs a breather, or we have a different package in, I'll come in, or A.J. will come in, and that's how it will be," Morris says. "Your helmet has to be snapped at all times, because you never know when you'll get a chance to go into the game." Whenever that time comes, Morris will answer the call. "I'm ready to go. This offense is what I've been dreaming about, so this is a great opportunity for me."