Shane was joined today by former Gator QB, Kyle Morris. Morris and Matthews were teammates and roommates on the 1990 Gator football team and are still good friends today.
Our media guest today was multi Emmy winner, Buddy Martin to catch up with the last week in sports.
Joining Shane on the PodUp this Tuesday is former Gator QB, Kyle Morris. Morris and Matthews were teammates and roommates on the 1990 Gator football team and are still good friends today. Like Shane, Kyle is from Mississippi.
Kyle Morris was a redshirt freshman when he set up under center on Sept. 3, 1988, when UF destroyed Montana State 69-0 at Florida Field. Morris went 9 of 18 for 213 yards, one touchdown, and 2 interceptions that day, helping the Gators open the season 5-0 before suffering a broken finger — the same day tailback Emmitt Smith went down with a knee injury — in a horrific 17-10 home loss to Memphis that started a 3-game losing streak. Herbert Perry replaced Morris and the two took turns the rest of the season, as Florida finished 7-5.
Morris was the starting QB in 1989 before being suspended along with a handful of other players. He won the starting job in the spring of 1990 under new coach Steve Spurrier, but a poor spring game reopened the competition. Of course, Shane Matthews eventually beat out Morris, Lex Smith, Brian Fox, and Donald Douglas and went on to win the 1990 and ’91 SEC Player of the Year and shatter every UF passing mark.
Before the 1990 season, Morris nudged ahead of Matthews as UF’s starter. A poor performance in the spring game, coupled with a strong showing by Matthews, forced Spurrier to re-evaluate his depth chart. Matthews eventually won the job, starting all 11 games.
Morris then left Gainesville to transfer to Mississippi College, an NCAA II school in Clinton, Miss, his hometown.
The quick progression of Shane Matthews from a 5th-string quarterback to the SEC player of the year significantly affected Morris’ decision, made after he met with Florida coach Steve Spurrier.
“This will give him the opportunity to play, that’s the main thing,”
said Bob Morris, Kyle’s father back then.
“With the outstanding year that Shane had, and because coach Spurrier has a one-quarterback system, Kyle just wants the opportunity to play during his last year of eligibility.”
He left Gainesville with blessings from coach Steve Spurrier.
“We wish him the very best, and we appreciate the many contributions he has made to Florida football.”
On the famous quarterback battle of 1990:
“Spurrier was so different than the other coaches at that time. We were still in the day that if you were the starting quarterback then you were the starting quarterback. Nobody really benched guys unless they got hurt. Shane and I, to this day, are great friends. It was a battle and I was the best of them all for 20 days during spring practice, but Shane had a really good spring game and I threw some interceptions.
After that, Coach said, ‘OK, we’re gonna battle this out in the fall. Shane spent so much time in the coach’s offices, watching film and building relationships, things he knew how to do because his father was a coach and grew up in that environment. I still remember when Coach Spurrier took Shane and me to the Jacksonville Gator Club, told us to stand up and then told the crowd, ‘I don’t know who’s going to start for us, but whoever does is going to be MVP of the SEC.’ He was right. To this day, I’m truly happy for Shane. He worked hard and deserved it.”
When asked recently if he is still a Gator and if he holds any grudges,
“No, I’m not bitter at all. Things happen. And I made some mistakes,” said Morris. “My name came up in some things that were negative, but I still love the Gators. My dream growing up was to go to the University of Florida. So I not only got to be a Gator, I got to run through that tunnel, be the starting quarterback, hand the ball to Emmitt Smith and win some big games.”
Morris played for the Gators from 1987-1990. Before being recruited by Galen Hall, Morris was a hotshot football and baseball prospect at Clinton High. He chose the Gators over Mississippi State. UF was his dream school, with his father having grown up in Panama City, Fla., as a big-time UF fan. Morris believed he’d come to Florida, redshirt as a freshman while learning from Kerwin Bell, then a senior, and then step into the QB spot for 4 years. He was on that track when he started the ’88 opener, but injuries and a run of ineffective offensive coordinators (do the names Whitey Jordan and Lynn Amadee ring a bell?), an NCAA investigation seemed to have derailed Morris’ development. When his UF career was done, Morris had started 12 games (six each in ’88 and ’89) and completed 158 of 318 passes (49.7 percent) for 2,436 yards, 12 touchdowns, and 19 interceptions.
After transferring to Mississippi College, during his final season of college eligibility, Morris helped lead his team to the D-II playoffs before losing to eventual national champion Jacksonville (Ala.) State. After graduating, he settled in Madison, Miss., became vice president of sales and marketing for Cal-Maine Foods, a national chain that supplied eggs to grocers across the country. Morris then got out of the egg business and bought Live Oaks Golf Club in Jackson, Miss., the very same golf course he grew up playing. “Some days I pick up range balls, other days I work the cash register,” Morris said. “I show up and do what needs to be done.” Away from the course, Morris enjoys spending time with his two sons, Brock & Kade.
Shane and Kyle will reminisce about their times playing together on Florida Field. They will also talk about Gators, Football, the SEC, Yon Hall, the HBC, & plenty more.
#TuesdaysWithBuddy means multi Emmy winner, Buddy Martin joins the podcast tomorrow to catch up with the last week in sports.