March 2, 2009

Speedy Morgan still trying to add weight

Nationally, USC linebacker Michael Morgan's weight hasn't really been a topic of conversation. Around circles of Trojan fans and coaches, though, and Morgan's body has been dissected like Oprah Winfrey's or Kate Moss'.

xAt 6-foot-4 and 220 pounds, Morgan is the anti-Brian Cushing. Playing on the strong side, Morgan's frame is long and lean opposed to Cushing's bodybuilder physique.

Instead of gorging on the fattiest foods he could find, Morgan's learned to use his rangy frame.

"I've been hearing it since I was freaking young. Ever since I was playing football, I was a smaller guy. I still always seemed to get the job done," Morgan said. "In Pop Warner I played defensive end. In high school, I was a defensive end until my senior year. It didn't matter that I was small.

"The long arms really help."

Morgan, getting ready for his fourth year at USC, still would like to add a little more bulk.

"I'll probably add a couple of more pounds. I feel good with where I'm at," he said. "I'm at 220 pounds. I'll maybe add five pounds between now and the start of camp."

Morgan knows he needs to be physically ready to step in for Cushing this fall.

"I feel good about the opportunity in front of me right now. It's been a long time since I really played football," he said. "I practice and everything out here, but to get out there and have a chance to get into it will be nice."

Morgan said he thinks more reps on Saturdays will help him become a much better player.

"It's always good to be out there and make a mistake or two. That's how I can learn," he said. "If you a make a mistake as a backup, you'll get chewed out, and you won't get back in the game. Now, I guess I'm considered more of a vet. I just want to get out there and work hard."

While all three of USC's starting linebackers from last season are gone, Morgan said he thinks the unit can be just as strong with players like Chris Galippo, Malcolm Smith and himself.

"We do have a different mentality, but we're still going to work hard. Malcolm and I are a lot faster than those guys," Morgan said. "I had the fastest time the other day. I kid you not. Ask anybody."

Morgan's 4.39-second 40-yard dash time had the Dallas native beaming, and he's even more excited to get out on the field.

"My first job is to do everything right. I want to go out there and compete every play, know my assignments and play to the best of my ability," Morgan said. "It was tough to sit, but I never really thought about leaving.

"Now, we're going to have to find out what I can do."

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