Morris living two lives with Force

FLOWERY BRANCH - It's two days before game day and finding a Force player in practice is tough.

Per tradition, the team switches jerseys - which makes identifying players, their faces covered by helmets, a challenge. But Carl Morris stands out. His jersey is not a Georgia jersey and its' number, 10101, is an apartment number of a friend.

"It's a long story," is all he'll say.

Wearing the jersey is all for Morris to get some laughs. He doesn't need any help drawing attention.

Even as the Force wallow at 3-5 midway through the season, the first-year starting wide receiver is shining. Through eight games, Morris is the only member of the receiving corps to start every game. He leads the team in receptions (63), yards (713) and touchdowns (14). Quarterback Chris Griesen has only thrown 11 touchdown passes to the rest of the team's rotation of wideouts.

"It is always nice to get out there and do what you know you can do," said Morris who watched much of the Forces' last two seasons from the bench. "With regards to the last two years, seeing those other guys out there and knowing that you can do it too, it kind of takes a shot at your pride. But it makes you more grateful when you get the opportunity to get out there. That is one of the things I haven't let go, I just relish the opportunity to be out there and relish the chance."

"Carl has been someone that has helped us set the standard here for effort and attitude and he has been a great teammate," head coach Doug Plank said. "He really deserved to play last year. He could very well have been a starter last season."

Morris would be happier to share his success with his team. He's done the succeeding on a team where wins have been hard to come by. He played college football at Harvard.

"Winning is obviously the most important thing," he said. "At the end of the year, I would rather be in the playoffs than be on the leaderboard in stats."

With the Force stuck in a two-game losing streak, reaching the playoffs isn't the team's first concern at the season's midpoint. Georgia has not won a game since April 4.

"If there ever was a time for the Georgia Force to begin their season it is now," Plank said. "No one feels worse about the failures of our organization than me as the head coach."

Things don't get easier this week with Georgia welcoming Southern Division leader New Orleans (7-2) to the Arena at Gwinnett Center. The Force have not won a game against any division foe, including Tampa Bay, also 3-5. Defending last year's division championship will take a near perfect finish and help from the teams ahead of the Force, but if it's going to happen a win this week is vital.

"We would still like to be confident that we can win our division," Plank said. "The best barometer for a team is to compare them with the best team in your division or conference. That is what we have a chance to do this weekend."

Winning starts with limiting turnovers. The Force's defense forced 13 turnovers in the first eight weeks. The offense gave the ball away 16 times. New Orleans has force 16 more turnovers than it has given up. Opportunistic lacks the meaning to describe the Voodoo defense.

"Turnovers are the second most important statistic in football other than points," Plank said.

And it's the little things stopping the Force, from turnovers to giving up big plays on fourth down (the Force allow teams to convert 68.8 percent of the time).

"People can say we only lost be a few points, but the difference between winners and loser are winners do all the things necessary to win," Plank said. "It is not found in statistics. The reality is those few plays that determine the success or failure of our game have not been done."


When: Today, 7 p.m.

Where: Arena at Gwinnett Center, Duluth

TV/Radio: CSS/790-AM