Like all receivers, Spencer Morgan likes to catch the ball, but the McCallie senior knows blocking is a big part of his job.
Most football players perceive receiver as a glory position, equal perhaps to running back and not all that far behind quarterback.
Unlike the years when he had such quarterbacks as Ryan Moore and B.J. Coleman, there is only one type of receiver for McCallie coach Ralph Potter these days — one who is as effective blocking as catching passes.
“It’s always about the triple option, and other people tend to overlook the passing game,” said Blue Tornado senior receiver Spencer Morgan. “We know well how to use the running game, and it makes people overlook the passing game.”
A former quarterback and running back, Morgan fits well into Potter’s offensive scheme. He understands it and knows well that his priority revolves around the less glamorous side of a pass-catcher.
“You block. Block for the triple option. That comes before anything else. In our offense if you can’t block as a receiver, you can’t play,” he said.
It’s not that he relishes the idea. He probably would rather be catching passes every other down, but he accepts the role.
“I know if we’re getting 6-7 yards [per play] running the ball, why pass it?” Morgan acknowledged. “I don’t always like it, but I know I have to do it, and if I do I have a better chance of getting the ball. If I keep doing my thing, we’re going to be fine.”
He believes he’s going to get enough opportunities to get noticed.
“Of course,” he agreed. “As long as I do my part, my chances will come.”
He has proof. Last year, even playing late in the year with a torn labrum, he averaging 18.9 yards on 28 receptions.
Potter compared him favorably with ex-McCallie standout Joel Bradford, the former All-American at the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga who just joined the Blue Tornado staff.
“He reminds me a lot of Joel. He’s the same type player. He isn’t as fast, but he’s bigger,” the coach said. “Like Joel, though, he understands the game — has a very high athletic IQ. He’s a good route-runner with good hands. He’s a tough kid and he had a very good year for us last year. He also has been a great leader for the younger guys.”
That leadership is important this year, because the Blue Tornado have a number of young players who likely will get on the field this season.
“I think we will be a very good team if we execute and play hard all the time,” Morgan said. “Coach Potter always talks about efficiency rating. He’d like for us to be around 80-90 percent, and right now we’re probably 30-40 percent, maybe 45. If we get that higher and play hard, we could have a really good team. We have a long of young guys that are quite good but not very experienced.”
Ward Gossett is an assistant sports editor and writer for the Times Free Press. Ward has a long history in Chattanooga journalism. He actually wrote a bylined story for the Chattanooga News-Free Press as a third-grader. He Began working part-time there in 1968 and was hired full time in 1970. Ward now covers high school athletics, primarily football, wrestling and baseball and University of Tennessee at Chattanooga wrestling. Over a 40-year career, he has covered ...