Cornerback Stephon Morris talks about transitioning from Bill O’Brien to Bill Belichick
|05.04.13 at 1:34 pm ET|
FOXBORO — It’s clear that the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree.
When he got the call from the Patriots about coming to Foxboro as an undrafted free agent, defensive back Stephon Morris said he got some advice from current Penn State coach — and former New England offensive coordinator Bill O’Brien — about what to expect with the Patriots.
“Coach O’Brien pretty much, before I came out here, just told me to keep my nose clean, keep my head down and stay off social network sites,” Morris said Saturday morning during a break between workouts at Gillette Stadium during rookie minicamp.
Morris — who has Tweeted five times from his personal account after being picked up by the Patriots as an undrafted free agent last weekend — is a 5-foot-8, 196-pound cornerback, one of 28 players who are taking part in rookie minicamp this weekend at Gillette.
Morris played in 49 games and made 24 starts for Penn State over the course of his collegiate career. He finished with 148 tackles, one pick and 13 passes defensed, which helped him capture an honorable mention All-Big Ten selection as a senior in 2012. Stats aside, he does figure to have a little better idea in terms of what to expect from Bill Belichick than some of the other rookies because of his experience with O’Brien, who took over the troubled Penn State program last year after spending five years in New England.
“You can pretty much see the way coach O’Brien ran things is the same way that coach Belichick runs it. His time with the Patriots definitely rubbed off on him,” Morris said. “[But I have] got a lot of catching up to do especially to the veteran guys who have already been here. The main thing for me is to get on board and learn the New England way, which is kind of the same way that Bill O’Brien had brought into Penn State.”
While Morris wasn’t all that expansive about his time at Penn State — when he was asked how O’Brien changed the program after he took over, he answered with, “To be honest, I’m not supposed to answer a question like that” — he understands that he and the rest of the rookies face a big challenge going forward.
“It’s pretty much a job now,” he said. “You have to be in your playbook from sunup to sundown. The coaches pretty much tell you how it is — there’s no more babysitting. It’s not like you’re on scholarship where you can pretty much stay on the team. It’s a job. You can get fired any day. You can get fined. The workouts … everything is just different. It’s just time consuming, but this is why we play the game since I was six years old for. I’m ready for it.”