Arkansas's Drew Morgan discusses life under Bret Bielema, playing with his brother and his definition of "The Juice"
He's no Sebastian Tretola, but Drew Morgan said he'd do his best to live up to the high bar set by the former Arkansas offensive lineman when he chatted with Campus Rush for the Friday Q&A. He cleared it with ease, chatting at length about a variety of topics. The oldest of seven children, including three little girls under the age of three who were all adopted, Morgan talked about Arkansas' hot start, why he roots for Kansas hoops and why, in his world, it's OK to be an addict.
Lindsay Schnell: Big-time environment this weekend at Texas A&M—what's the toughest challenge that the Aggies will present?
Drew Morgan: I think it's just keeping your head on straight, not getting overexcited. Last year we went in and we were level-headed but we had some distractions that we had to take care of before the game. If we can just eliminate distractions and keep our head straight, then the game will take care of itself.
LS: Describe to me what the end of that overtime game at TCU was like?
DM: Oh, that was crazy. I wasn't expecting it to go down like that, since we had the lead, but the football gods were on TCU's side for a little bit at the start of that fourth quarter. So I started praying really hard. It was one of those things where we'd been there before. I was really comfortable, in the game. One time I looked at the team and smiled and you know, we had some young guys in there. I look around and they're really nervous. I didn't think that was going to come in our second game, but college football is getting crazier and crazier every year.
We have to come together, in this moment, and play our tails off because you never know what is going to happen. I felt like, since we had been there last year, and won a bunch of games in overtime—and not just one OT, but four OTs—we were gonna be able to keep the train rolling, however many overtimes we needed.
LS: Last season you led the team in receptions, yards and touchdown catches … what did you do this summer, specifically, to improve on all those numbers?
DM: One thing I've really tried to focus on is helping the other guys learn, just like I learned. But I got there cause I learned from guys like Keon Hatcher. That was my first time playing an SEC game last year, against Texas A&M, in Jerry Jones World. How was I able to go in there? Because I learned from guys in front of me. This summer, I want these guys to learn because you never know when your name is going to be called. So I tried to pull guys with me, not necessarily by my words, but by my actions.
LS: SEC fans are known for their passion. What's the craziest thing you've ever seen a fan do in celebration of a big Arkansas win?
DM: (Laughs) You mean at a game?
LS: Whatever comes to mind, that's appropriate for a family website.
DM: (Laughs). OK. So against Texas State, it was the very first touchdown, I ran over the middle, pulled the safety, Keon beat his man one-on-one, went back to the end zone, we threw a fade, he caught it and when I was on my way over there to jump up in the air with him, I looked over in the crowd and there were four or five guys in the very front row of the student section and they all have their backs painted with all of the receivers numbers and names on it and there's two or three of them who jumped the barrier and start doing splits. That's the weirdest thing I've seen. There's more to tell, but probably at a different time.
LS: During football, we all need to do something that's NOT football related to stay sane … so what TV or Netflix shows are you currently binge watching?
DM: I just finished watching the second season of "Narcos." I like watching Apple TV. I watched "Tarzan" the other night, that is one of my favorite movies now. And I watched "The Jungle Book." These movies that are supposed to be for kids, but they're so mature now. Tarzan, he's grown up with us. Oh and on Sunday mornings, I watch "Spongebob Squarepants."
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LS: How many episodes of Being Bret Bielema have you watched?
DM: I think I've watched two. It cracks me up. I can't watch him on TV, it's too weird.
LS: He's in the media so much … what do people not know about him? Any secrets you'd like to reveal?
DM: He's not very secretive. He's pretty open. I'd probably say, oh man he is going to get MAD at me for this, but he's a sleeper. He falls asleep at the most random times. Once, my freshman or sophomore year, we came into receiver meetings one day and we're watching film and Coach B is sitting in the back. He looks like he's taking notes and then the next thing you know, you hear his watch and ring hit the table and he pops up, kinda does a snort. He was sleeping! I'm sorry I'm laughing so hard while I'm telling you this, it cracks me up to think about. I said I had to go to the restroom so he wouldn't see me laughing.
LS: Your younger brother, Grant, is a freshman on the team. What's it like to play with a sibling? Do you show him around and make sure he's taken care of, or haze him?
DM: You know it's interesting, with Brandon and Austin Allen, they grew up always competing for the same spot and fighting about that. Me and Grant, on the other hand, we fight and bicker but it's not about sports. It's like he'll say to me, "Are you going home this weekend?" and I'll say no and then he'll tell me "Well you should, because I need a ride—and you should take me!"
I wanted him to experience college on his own. I want him to experience his freshman year without me being around. He knows I'm always here if he needs me but I'm not asking, "Hey man, how are you doing, are you ok?" every day, because he's a grown man, he's in college, I want him to grow up on his own. I just want to set a good example for him.
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LS: You're an Arkansas boy playing for the premier university in the state—did you grow up a Razorback fan?
DM: It's a different story. I've moved 25-plus times before my freshman year of high school. I've been everywhere. My dad was an entrepreneur and I remember asking him once, why are we moving so much? I can't have friends, I can't have favorite teams … But when we moved to Arkansas when I was in high school, all I wanted to do was play football. And everyone I played with, they all loved the Arkansas Razorbacks. But I was born in Emporia, Kansas … and all my family, they're all Kansas fans.
LS: Oh, wow. So did you grow up a KU hoops fan?
DM: Oh, yeah, and I still am. Heck yeah I root for them. They're my champions every time. I'm still a young boy at heart, and they're my team!
LS: I actually grew up a KU fan, too. I'm from Portland and when Aaron Miles and Michael Lee went out there to play for them, I was so excited. But I blame the 2003 national championship loss on Miles, because he jacked up a horrible shot when Kirk Hinrich...
DM: Was wide open in the corner! Oh, I know ALL about that.
LS: What has that been like, to see how a child's life is changed, and a family's life is changed, when they choose a particular child to bring into their life? The process can be heartbreaking sometimes.
DM: It's a blessing. To be a part of a family that's so loving and caring. You meet my family, you meet me, the one thing you'll say, I guarantee it, is that we're very loving and caring and always have open arms to everybody. We love this world we live in and live on but there's something more—it's to live like Jesus Christ. And what would he do? He opened his arms to families and children that needed it. To be a part of that process, it's humbling, to realize how much you have … I think a lot about who are you impacting, and how are you using that platform?
LS: So I hear I'm supposed to ask you about "The Juice." For the record, I feel like we're suddenly talking about O.J. Simpson.
DM: (Laughs) There are two sides to me. There's one side that's loving and caring. And then there's another side that's addictive. I have an addiction. I told everybody on the team meeting. It took some guts to say that out loud. It's not a bad addition, it's a mental addiction—I'm addicted to a positive mindset.
I believe that the guy who came here and played, Brandon Burlsworth, that guy is the definition of "Juice." I've had it since I was in high school. It's go to above and beyond what people expect of you, to want success more than need it … I want everyone to be infected by The Juice. You're either Juice, or you're a sponge. Sponges suck up all the juice in a negative way. I want everyone on the team to have so much juice, have there be so much juice that the sponge can't do anything but sink into the juice. Does that make sense?
LS: It does. I think so anyway.
DM: OK, I hope so, cause the guys got it!