WINNIPEG — An old quarterback can easily spot a ball-hawking safety any day.
So Chris Jones knew he was getting a intriguing prospect in Demetrice Morley.
Former CFL pivot Condredge Holloway recommended the former Tennessee Volunteers star to Jones this off-season, and Morley didn’t disappoint in his introduction to three-down football.
Now, the Calgary Stampeders will find out if Morley’s two-interception performance from the pre-season was a fluke.
It’s likely Morley will continue impressing his defensive co-ordinator by arriving in front of an intended receiver before the pass gets there, beginning Thursday night in Winnipeg, where the Stamps face the host Bombers at Canad Inns Stadium (6 p.m., TSN).
“Some guys have a little more instinct and end up where the ball is because they seem to know,” Jones said. “He seems to have that.
“We’ve seen him in one pre-season game. Before we jump off the boat on him, let’s let him play (Thursday) and see what we have.”
For the tilt with the Blue Bombers, Morley will be replacing veteran Milt Collins at safety.
The Stamps are looking for some big plays from their rookie, who will turn 24 on July 23, and Morley is a much different player than the hard-hitting Collins.
Morley went from being the talk of training camp to the injured list thanks to an unusual knee injury. He had a slight tendon tear behind his knee, but he isn’t sure exactly what happened when he hurt it.
He gave his coaches a taste of what he can do. Now he has to live up to the billing.
“I don’t think I set the bar high,” Morley said. “I did what the coaches wanted me to do. I did my assignments. When a play comes my way, if you are doing what you are supposed to be doing, you want to take advantage of that play.
“So many plays you make something happen from. You want to make the play. I was in the right place at the right time. Hopefully, I can do the same (from here on out).”
The Stamps are actually making two moves in the secondary for the game in Winnipeg.
First-year cornerback Greg Fassitt had some leg tightness from practice and was left at home. Sophomore Johnnie Dixon will take the wide-side corner spot previously occupied by Dwight Anderson.
Before arriving in Calgary, Morley was out of football, but he was still living in Knoxville, Tenn., when he got the itch to get back in. At the University of Tennessee, where Holloway is the assistant athletic director, Morley spent three seasons with the Volunteers, and the former star pivot pointed Morley towards the CFL.
Even with a taste of action in the pre-season, Morley realizes the regular season will be a step up.
“This will be much different,” Morley said. “I had a chance to work in practice, but this is the real deal. Things get serious now. We put in hard preparation in practice, and we’re ready to compete. Hopefully, we can come back with a victory.”