NC State coach Doeren 'surprised' by Morris' decision to redshirt

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Friday, November 10, 2023
NC State coach Doeren 'surprised' by Morris' decision to redshirt
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NC State football coach Dave Doeren spoke at length Thursday about quarterback MJ Morris' decision to redshirt for the rest of the season.

RALEIGH, N.C. (WTVD) -- NC State football coach Dave Doeren spoke at length Thursday about the biggest news surrounding the Wolfpack this week.

No, not about the team's preparations to play at Wake Forest -- whose Winston-Salem stadium has been a house of horrors for NC State for years, but about starting quarterback MJ Morris' decision to redshirt.

"I didn't announce that on Monday, I was hoping we could maintain a competitive advantage in our preparation with Wake Forest having to prepare as you've seen with two quarterbacks on the field at the same time," Doeren said. "That plan didn't work. Somebody found out, put it out there on Tuesday; it is what it is."

The original plan going into the season was for Morris to redshirt behind incoming graduate transfer Brennan Armstrong.

But Morris was brought in just a little more than a month ago to save the season after the Wolfpack got off to a rocky 3-2 start.

He responded by going 3-1 as the starter and helping the Wolfpack secure bowl eligibility for the third consecutive year.

Doeren said Morris came to him a few weeks ago to let him know that he and his family were still considering the original plan of playing in no more than four games to preserve that eligibility.

"I was surprised by that, because he was our starter and didn't expect that, for a starting player to want to sit back down," Doeren said. "He said he wasn't sure which way to go, but he wanted me to know that that was something he was thinking about talking to his family about."

Doeren said after the fourth game, Morris was "very decisive" in telling the coach that he and his family felt it was important for him to choose to redshirt.

"We're honoring his decision," Doeren said. "With that, Brennan is our starter, our team has embraced him in this role and we're rallied around him and super excited to see what he does in this opportunity."

Doeren added that Morris was on the scout team this week, helping the Wolfpack prepare for the Demon Deacons. The Wolfpack have won just twice in Winston-Salem since 2001, the last time in 2015 when Jacoby Brissett was the quarterback.

The NCAA allows a player to participate in up to four games in a season without burning an entire year of eligibility. Morris' family has said in recent days that he does not plan on leaving the program.