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Scrimmage Play Six: Jack Morris
Scrimmage Play Six: Jack Morris
As we gear up for the 2012 football season, we've partnered with the Newsplex to bring you the first ever Scrimmage Play Six Quarterback Camp. We put six members of one of the most impressive quarterback crops in a while in Central Virginia through the paces with Athlelite Factory's Joe Sanford running drills and a whiteboard session during a summer clinic. We also talked with each quarterback about their career up until this point and the upcoming season. Look for video on CBS 19 each night this week at 6 and 11 p.m.
Taking over the job is the toughest part and as such, William Monroe’s Jack Morris has that already behind him. Last fall Morris became the Dragons new quarterback after his older brother, Mitchell, graduated. As a sophomore, Morris found a way to not only quickly capture fulltime duties under center, but find ways to progress each game and develop into a reliable young quarterback on a senior laden team. Morris capitalized on play-action, showed an ability to escape the pocket and pick up much-needed yardage and most importantly, throw the ball with accuracy. In the end, he was instrumental in not only leading Monroe to a winning season, but also the team’s first playoff appearance in more than a decade making him Scrimmage Play's newcomer of the year.
“Last year we opened up with Nelson County to start the year and it was a bit of a shock to me,” Morris said. “I got into a bit of groove going ahead though, it was just all up-hill.”
A lot has changed in calendar year. Morris is going from being a first time starter on a team with that was perceived as still in development, but loaded with experience to the leader of a young but promising team looking to prove that the Dragons truly have a program with the new talent ready to step in. So much of the process of getting better at Monroe has to do with having football ready talent, and Morris is a leader by example in that department. Morris has truly committed himself to not just football, but the quarterback position during the offseason as he’s fully embraced coach Mark Sanford’s weight lifting and conditioning regiment.
“Since I’m not the most athletic quarterback, I try and be as strong as I can,” Morris said. “It helps so much to have. When you’ve got a couple guys on you, you can elude them. And you’re able to take the hits a lot better.”
Sanford’s son, a former standout at quarterback at Monticello who went to play at Umass has also been working closely with Morris. The Athelite Factory founder ran the Scrimmage Play 6 camp and every chance Morris has to learn from an athlete that has been through the high school quarterbacking process and succeeded, he’ll take.
“Joe’s been through these camps, he’s got all the experience, played in college and so he knows what it’s all about,” Morris said. “So whatever he tells me I’m trying to listen to it. I know he’s out here trying to pass his knowledge on to the younger kids.”
As rising junior now, Morris has a similar job to perform with his teammates as the Dragons are retooling at all the skill positions and along the line. Offensively, he’s the biggest piece of the puzzle coming back and as such, it’ll be up to him help along a new group of receivers and lineman into mastering Mark Sanford’s system.
Entering his fourth season as coach at Monroe, the class of 2013 will be his first full senior class and everyone around the program has become familiar with what to expect – the Dragons will hammer away on teams with their ground attack. While Morris figures into that part of the equation as he’s faster and more athletic than he’ll ever admit, the biggest task for him is to be able to execute when Sanford goes for the jugular with a deep pass, or tries to sell the run down in the redzone. Morris had a firm grasp on coming up big when he needed to last year. Now he just has to find a way to do it with a new group of talent.
The one constant under Sanford the previous three years is that the over depth and win total has improved. If Morris takes another step forward this fall, it will go a long way to helping keep that trend in tact.