BY MATT VENEGONI
Daily Sports Editor
Published September 20, 2005
In football, many say speed kills. Michigan cornerback redshirt freshman Morgan Trent definitely has that going for him. But as the season has progressed, he has become better known for the plays he makes rather than just for how fast he is.
Trent came to Michigan last year as a wide receiver but was moved from that position to the defensive backfield during spring practice last April.
"Coach Carr thought it would be a good fit for me," Trent said. "So we went through the spring, and it went pretty smooth. So we decided to do the switch."
So far, that change has paid dividends for Trent and the Wolverines. In his first few games as a collegiate player, Trent has impressed.
In Michigan's 17-10 loss to Notre Dame, Trent showed poise at his new position by keeping containment on a reverse by Irish wide receiver Rhema McKnight. It looked like McKnight had room to run, but Trent made a solid open-field tackle against the speedy receiver, impressing Carr.
"He stayed home, and we came up with a big loss," Carr said.
Later, Trent had man-to-man coverage, and he forced an incompletion, causing Notre Dame to punt.
All of that was just a warmup for the Brighton native, who, in Saturday's game against Eastern Michigan, notched his first career interception. In the second quarter, Trent dropped into his zone of coverage and saw Eagles quarterback Matt Bohnet look for wide receiver A.J. Bennett deep down the right sideline. The six-foot cornerback went up and snatched the ball in midair.
"(Safety) Jamar Adams gave me a great re-route on the No. 2 receiver, so I just did my job and spread the No. 1 and No. 2, and it was right there," Trent said. "It happened so fast, I didn't know what happened until I got tackled."
Unfortunately for Michigan fans, Trent didn't get to show off his blazing speed. Instead, he was tackled by Bennett as soon as he caught the ball.
"I wish I could have (scored a touchdown)," Trent said. "After watching the film I'll probably see that I could have done something but we got the ball, so that works. Everybody kept saying if I went inside instead of outside, they would have my block."
With the nonconference season over, Trent has made the transition from offense to defense look relatively easy. He understands that some of the nuances from the receiver position have helped him make the adjustment to corner.
"(It helps) being able to get in the mindset of the receiver, knowing what they're going to do, looking at their splits and thinking what I would do," Trent said.
Other than his own personal experience, Trent also has been able to lean on both current and former Wolverines for advice. He acknowledges that going up against receivers Jason Avant and Steve Breaston in practice has helped him since "they're some of the best receivers in the country." Additionally, Trent gets advice from older cornerbacks such as starters Leon Hall and Grant Mason and even former standout Marlin Jackson, who he still speaks to.
"They're making it a lot easier for me - they're always helping." Trent said.
Their guidance and Trent's speed has helped him get playing time, but Michigan fans should look for even more contributions from the young corner.
"I just try to do what I can," Trent said. "When I get an opportunity to play, I try to do my best. As long as they keep putting me out there, I'm going to do what I can."