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ASU Football: RB James Morrison also playing on defense

Todd Graham is trying to add depth to his defense by having senior running back James Morrison practice as a pass rusher.

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Christian Petersen - Getty Images

Arizona State Sun Devils coach Todd Graham is doing whatever it takes to get his best players out on the field, even if that means moving senior running back James Morrison to defense.

Graham notes that the move is more out of necessity due to injuries and how thin the secondary is. Morrison won't be making a full-time move to defense, but has been practicing with the defensive units to remind Morrison of a side of football he hasn't played since high school.

Really, the biggest area of concern is in the defensive backfield at corner and safety. We have done that, and I'll be honest about James (Morrison), James is a heck of a football player. There happens to be really good players in that position so we are seeing if there is something that he can do. The guy wants to play, he's a senior and if he can rush the passer and help us, we will work and see that. Obviously though, we aren't just going to throw somebody in there.

Morrison has been one of Graham's more liked players, but accolades from the coach haven't translated into more playing time. He has just three rushes for 10 yards through five games as the Sun Devils have plenty of guys to run the ball.

He says it is an opportunity to get back into the playing rotation. Morrison played on the defensive line in high school along with running back.

"It's a way to get on the field," Morrison said. "I'd like to be running the ball, but we're pretty good in the backfield right now, making positive things happen. Any way I can get on the field, I'll try to take advantage of it."

Morrison isn't the first player Graham has moved from offense to defense. Last month sophomore running back Deantre Lewis found himself as a defensive back. Graham mentions this Sun Devils squad is one of the thinnest he has ever coached.

"I don't like moving people. Most of the movement you have seen is really just taking looks at guys because though for the most part we stay pretty healthy, we don't have any depth at very critical positions. That is one of the reasons why we have done that."