Stuck at home, Gophers’ Morgan continues to ‘strive for mastery’ of offense
Quarterback Tanner Morgan was at his house in Union, Ky., enjoying spring break when the University of Minnesota canceled all in-person classes March 12 due to the coronavirus.
Like most of the country — and world — the quarterback is stuck at home.
“Thankfully, I checked a bag,” Morgan said on a conference call with the media Wednesday. “I have a decent amount of clothes. It was kind of wild how it all went down.”
Morgan, along with his Gophers teammates and coaching staff, has had to adjust to the lack of spring football.
According to NCAA regulations, every football program is allowed 15 sessions of practice in the spring semester with eight involving live contact. The Gophers were able to get one week of team workouts in, including a practice open to the public March 6, before the campus shut down.
Minnesota also had to cancel its annual spring football game scheduled for April 4.
But, like the rest of the world, Morgan and the Gophers are keeping their oars in the water and moving forward.
“Some teammates are stuck in a house or can’t get out,” Morgan said. “Our strength staff has done a great job of sending us different challenges or things we can do to stay active.”
Head coach P.J. Fleck posted a video to Twitter on March 26 showcasing the creative ways his coaching staff is staying in shape while practicing social distancing.
— P.J. Fleck (@Coach_Fleck) March 26, 2020
“Guys are finding ways to get it done,” Morgan said.
Coming off a breakout 2019 season that saw him throw for 3,253 yards, 30 touchdowns and seven interceptions while completing 66% of his pass attempts, Morgan is sitting on a 2020 campaign that will determine his future in football.
Aside from FaceTime and Zoom calls with coaches and position groups, Morgan is finding ways to prepare in this all-important offseason — even from his bedroom. The quarterback said he’s constantly watching tape of himself, other quarterbacks and 2020 opponents.
“I think the first part for me is continuing to strive for mastery of our offense and the mastery of defensive recognition,” he said. “We’re utilizing this time to gain more knowledge and ask more ‘why’ — why we do this, why defenses do that — so when you get in a game or practice, things move so much faster.”
The date for when Morgan and the Gophers can resume play is unknown. Other sports leagues, like the NHL and NBA, had to suspend seasons due to the coronavirus, and MLB has yet to set schedule a postponed opening day for the 2020 season.
“We can’t worry about ‘What if?’ The most important thing is the health of our country right now,” Morgan said. “That’s a real possibility, but that’s down the road and we’re going to work like we’re playing Sept. 3.”
For now, the second-team All-Big Ten selection is staying busy with film, academics, home workouts and even a bit of fishing from a pond in his backyard.
“That’s been nice,” he said. “I haven’t been fishing for a while, so doing that and finding ways to connect with different people has been awesome for me.”