Shannon Morrison, who was named an assistant football coach at Ball State in February, sits down with the media relations office for a Q&A.
Q: What are the fundamentals and techniques you would like to see in Ball State's defensive backs?
Coach Morrison: The most important thing about defensive back play is being able to compete. We want our guys to compete at a high level every day and have strong technique. After teaching them my style of coaching, the rest will take care of itself. As we all know, being a defensive back is about your pad level and your foot work. There are a lot of things we will harp on, but the biggest thing is to compete every day in the classroom and on the field. We want to make sure we teach these kids to take it to the next level on game days.
Q: How does your coaching style fit into Ball State's system under Coach Lembo?
Coach Morrison: I like to challenge my student-athletes every day. There will be times when I am going to be a brother or a parent to them, but the majority of the time I am going to push them to where they don't think they can go on a day-to-day basis. I am an aggressive, in your face kind of coach that expects to do stuff right. That is my coaching style and how I was brought into this profession. I am going to put pressure on them in practice so game day is easy.
Q: What are some of the advantages of having worked with Coach Lembo since you were an assistant for him at Lehigh in 2004?
Coach Morrison: The biggest advantage is that I already know his personality and what he prefers from his assistants. When you are working for a new head coach it is kind of like a honeymoon phase where you are trying to figure what he is about and how they like things done. I have worked for Coach Lembo and I have known him for many years so I know what to focus on in order to help this program.
Q: What attracted you to take the job at Ball State?
Coach Morrison: I have been in the Mid-American Conference before and I always believed Ball State was strong academically. Ball State has had success here in the past. I have worked with Coach Lembo, Coach Bateman and I know Coach Gaither really well so that is what attracted me to come to Ball State.
Q: In your 17 years of experience as a football coach, have you ever coached against the Cardinals?
Coach Morrison: Yes in 1997, I was a graduate assistant for Marshall. It was a good day that day because we won and Randy Moss set an NCAA record for the most touchdown catches in a game. The second time was in 2009 when I was at Bowling Green. I am not sure what the final score was, but we won the game. So I am 2-0 at Scheumann Stadium and I am hoping I can continue that as a coach for the Ball State Cardinals.
Q: Do you think your success as a player at Marshall has helped you with your success as a coach?
Coach Morrison: I think as you look back at being younger and the foundations you were taught through successful coaches then you realize how those can make you succeed as a coach. You use a lot of their wisdom to develop your own philosophies. Listening to those coaches as a young player and developing a coaching philosophy early was an advantage.