DB Stephon Morris eager for new start

STATE COLLEGE, Pa. — Stephon Morris stood on Penn State's practice field Thursday afternoon and admitted that in December, he never thought he'd step foot on this field again.

The cornerback was unhappy last season. His playing time was limited, and the coaching staff always seemed to fall silent when he asked about his role.

"I'm pretty sure I wasn't -- I wasn't going to be here," Morris said matter-of-factly.

Morris' said his mind changed in mid-January when Bill O'Brien was tabbed as the new head coach. Morris' father researched O'Brien and liked what he saw. And when O'Brien hired defensive coordinator Ted Roof, a coach who preferred man-to-man schemes, the scales tipped toward staying.

"Once he got here," Morris said Thursday, referring to O'Brien, "I wasn't thinking about transferring. He was honest from the get-go."

The 5-foot-8 senior said he was frustrated and "fed-up" last season. Some teams even reached out to him because his displeasure was so apparent.

He wanted honesty from the old coaching staff, he said. He wanted to know where he stood on the depth chart. Instead, he practiced the first two weeks of the season without a clear-defined role. By that time, he was already buried on the depth chart.

"You can go to Coach O'Brien right now and say, 'What's going to be my role on the team?' " Morris said. "And he'll tell you right now, whether you like it or not."