Coach: Eric Morris
Alma Mater: Texas Tech
2010: Houston, Graduate Assistant Offensive Quality Control
2011: Houston, Inside Receivers
2012: Washington St., Inside Receivers
This is one of those, "Hello. Good to see you again," type of profiles. We already know about Eric Morris because it seems like he was just here not too long ago. Morris graduated from Texas Tech in 2008 and spread his wings a bit after trying to stick with the Saskatchewan Roughriders. That professional playing stint only lasted one year, 2009.
In 2010, Morris took the same sort of path that his new boss took, which is to take a job at the University of Houston as an offensive graduate assistant and offensive quality control coach. In 2011, Morris was in charge of the inside receivers in Houston in 2011. Of course, this was somewhat of a confluence of good things in that Kevin Sumlin was the head coach, Kingsbury was offensive coordinator and Morris was coaching the inside receivers for a group of players that had been doing this for a couple of years. Those players included Case Keenum who was just spectacular. That receiving unit caught 479 passes for 6,301 yards and 54 touchdowns. That’s pretty serious production. And just to verify that this was a confluence of events, in 2010, without Keenum this group only caught "only" 298 passes for 3,927 yards and 34 touchdowns.
When Sumlin took the job at Texas A&M, Morris took the job with Mike Leach at Washington St., also at inside receivers.
I also very much enjoyed Coug Center’s account of how Morris has progressed as a recruiter, coach and part-time coordinator:
Morris immediately made an impact in recruiting, going into Texas and working his connections. That may be where the Cougars miss him the most. Morris was a tenacious recruiter who did some great things for Leach and Washington State in the short time he was here. He had those Texas connections, and used them well in the year he was in Pullman.
But it wasn't just recruiting. Early on, it became clear that Leach was taking Morris under his wing. Morris was the inside receivers coach, but also became sort of an offensive coordinator. When the offense would do skelly or team drills, Morris would be right there with Leach, barking out instruction or critiquing plays. He was Leach's eyes in the booth, as well. Leach and Morris had an open dialogue during the game, and Morris would be relaying what he saw down to Leach. He was being groomed, and it was obvious why: there was talent there.
I'll miss having Morris around. He was fun to watch, full of energy, and a hell of a coach in his short time here. Every day he'd be out on the field chasing receivers around, running full speed while playing defensive back in warmup drills. His high-pitched voice was immediately recognizable, even if you couldn't see his 5-foot-2 (kidding) frame amidst the crowd. He's a great guy and will be a superb coach at Tech.
I don’t think it is any secret, but if the offensive coordinator, or head coach, is calling plays on the sideline, there is a coach up in the booth feeding whoever is calling plays on the sideline the necessary information to make adjustments, let them know how the defense is playing on the receivers, how the line is blocking, who is blitzing, etc. Apparently that was Morris for Washington St. and that bodes well for Kingsbury if he was learning that for Leach. Prior to Morris, that role was filled Holgorsen, Dykes, and Riley. Every coach needs an eye in the booth.
It was also noted in the Coug Center article that Morris was responsible for recruiting in Texas and quarterbacks. Kingsbury needs a dogged recruiter, probably a couple of more dogged recruiters, but he also needs some talented coaches. Perhaps in Morris, he got both qualities.