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Alfred Morris: “It’s Time to set the bar Even Higher Next Year”
- Updated: April 22, 2013
Striking gold in the sixth round doesn’t happen very often in the NFL. But that’s just what the Washington Redskins did in the 2012 NFL Draft when they selected Alfred Morris out of Florida Atlantic University.
Alfred Morris was the all-time leading rusher at FAU, but was so obscure that some draft experts had him listed as a blocking fullback thanks to his physical style.
After tearing it up in preseason, Morris won the running back competition (partly due to injury to others) and started Week 1 in New Orleans. What followed, was the single greatest rushing performance in the Redskins 80- year history. Morris finished the season with 335 carries for 1,613 yards (second in the NFL) and 13 touchdowns.
In addition to thrashing the Redskins’ rookie rushing records in all three categories, Morris had the most carries by any single back since Clinton Portis in 2008 (342).
Morris said after the season that there weren’t that many physical adjustments to life in the NFL. For him, it was the preparation process that needed an upgrade.
“Physically it wasn’t much of a transition for me, because I was actually more physical when I was in college,” he said. “Coming to the pros, you have to just be smarter. It’s a longer season, more wear-and-tear on your bodies so you have to know when to be physical and not to be physical.”.
“ I’ve never been an upright runner. Your body gets killed out there doing that,” he explained. “I’m always low, especially when I’m coming through holes, I’m trying to stay as low as I can. If I get out in the open field then I’m going to kind of raise up cause I’m trying to open up my stride. I can’t open my stride when I’m hunched over. You’ve got to know when to do it and when not to do it.”
Morris admits he never used the hot and cold tubs for recovery in college, thinking the cold tub was just unnecessary discomfort.
It wasn’t until he arrived in Washington and listened to veterans like Tim Hightower, London Fletcher and Darrel Young that he was willing to give it a try.
“I added to my knowledge of how to take care of my body,” he said. “They just helped me set up ways to do that like getting massages and start going to the chiropractor. It definitely helped me avoid that ‘rookie wall’ and just trying to soak up as much knowledge as I can.”
“I don’t like stretching,” he admitted with a grin. “But stretching has definitely been beneficial, not only just to athletes but to everyone. The more flexible you are, the faster you run. The more flexible you are, the better you feel. You don’t wake up aching. Just loosening your muscles up and just allowing them to rest. It’s always good.”
“One of the things I’m working on this off-season is becoming more flexible because it will unlock my heels and help me increase my speed,” he said. “I’m not as fast as I used to be because I have tight heels and it really affects me when it comes to running.”
“Speed. I mean I’ve got a burst and I have my acceleration, I just need that top gear back so I can get those big long runs,” he said. “I need to get those 60, 70-yard [runs]. I can do it, I just need to get my top gear back. I’ve only got four gears right now, I need my fifth gear. I’m missing it.”
Looking ahead to next season, Alfred Morris expects to improve in all facets of his game, knowing that his work is cut out for him.
“I’m not getting complacent; complacency is death,” he said emphatically. “When you get to that point where you feel like you can’t get any better, that’s when your decline is going to start. I’m trying to become a better me. I’m trying to become Alfred 2.0, Alfred 3.0, Alfred 4.0. Every day I’m trying to become better in some way. I set the bar very high, I love a challenge. If you give me easy, I don’t want easy, I want hard, I don’t care.
“A sophomore slump? I don’t see it happening. I’m going to bust my butt this off-season I’ve got to get better. I can’t be satisfied with a year when, as a lot of people say, you’re only as good as your last performance. I love what I do and I have fun doing it and I want to do it as long as possible and being complacent won’t help me. It’s time to set the bar even higher next year.”