Copyright 2011 Robert Casey, All
Weber State junior linebacker Anthony Morales earned All-Big Sky Conference second-team honors this season, when he averaged a league-leading 12 tackles per game — third-best in the nation — and served as a team co-captain for the second straight year. The muscular junior from Edmond, Okla., had 48 unassisted tackles, 60 assisted stops and 9.5 tackles for loss, piling up a career-high 23 tackles against Montana — the sixth-most in a game in school history. Deseret News sports writer Randy Hollis recently caught up with Morales.
Q: AS ONE OF A HANDFUL OF WEBER STATE PLAYERS WHO HAIL FROM THE STATE OF OKLAHOMA, HOW HAS YOUR EXPERIENCE BEEN IN COMING TO PLAY COLLEGE FOOTBALL IN UTAH?
A: "I like it out here. I knew I was going to like it from my trip, actually, and one thing is when you have other guys on the team that can relate with you and with your home, it's pretty easy going somewhere else. So we always talk about it and we always go home together for the breaks. It makes it a lot easier when you come out here with people that you know. Utah's a lot like Oklahoma in many ways, so it's been great and I love the mountains. I'm ready to get on the snowboard here real soon (with a season pass to Snowbasin). I look at it as just kind of a preseason workout every time I go. When I moved out here, I was just like, man, you've got to take advantage of it, so I have been for sure. I'm glad that I got the chance to come up here and play. It's been a great move for me."
Q: WHAT SURPRISED YOU THE MOST ABOUT UTAH ONCE YOU GOT HERE?
A: "You always hear, of course, when you're from another state that everyone's Mormon and they say it's like villages here and all this crazy stuff. So I'm thinking like, what is Utah going to look like? Once I flew in here, though, it's just a normal city. Salt Lake is normal; Ogden is a normal place with normal people. Whatever your faith is, that obviously doesn't matter. You always hear a perception of Utah being kind of a bubble, and it's not at all. I like it a lot; the people are great, and I've enjoyed some great relationships and I might end up staying out here. It's a place I like, and I love the mountains and snowboarding. It's a good place to live and I'm really impressed with how much the people really support their schools here, and they both have an NBA team that they really love and support, too. It's not weird and quirky at all. It's not Miami by any means; there's not as much to do, but hey, I'm out here to get an education and play football, so it's a good place to keep out of trouble."
Q: THE WILDCATS WENT JUST 2-6 IN THE BIG SKY AND 2-9 OVERALL IN 2012. HOW WOULD YOU SUMMARIZE THIS PAST SEASON?
A: "It had a lot of ups and downs. Obviously not winning makes things harder, but just from the beginning, with coach John L. (Smith) leaving and the whole year with the coaching situation, and coach (Jody) Sears did a good job of coming in and calming things down and moving forward. We had a lot of injuries this season and we weren't winning, so it was hard. I just look at it as a blueprint of what we all want to do next year, build from this year and use everything that was negative and turn it into a positive, because it can't really get much worse. I think a lot of the young guys grew up fast this season, so I think it'll be good for us."
Q: WHAT'S YOUR REACTION TO COACH SEARS BEING RETAINED AS HEAD COACH, AND WHAT KIND OF COACH IS HE?
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