“For us to be very competitive we have to have a lot of competition within the team itself,” Morrow said. “The spring was time for us to get experience for players and get questions answered on guys that we didn’t get answered during the regular season.
“The coaching staff went into the spring with the mindset that we really wanted to develop the players that we do have. We accomplished that mission.”
With 17 newcomers expected to join a team that only lost one starter, defender-midfielder Kezi Lara, the competition for playing time should be fierce.
“I think we fell victim last season to not being competitive enough within the team itself, and that is my fault,” Morrow said. “One of the things I told the guys at the end of the season was that there were things they needed to work on, but that as a coaching staff we aren’t to let happen this season what happened last year.
“Players were somewhat complacent. Certain spots weren’t guaranteed but guys knew they were going to play.”
Morrow’s main goal is to improve dramatically on 2009’s 6-10-3 overall record and 3-4-2 Atlantic Sun Conference record.
“That year was certainly a huge disappointment,” Morrow said. “I think the expectations hurt our players. They thought things were just going to happen for them.
“It’s not that they didn’t work hard. But in college soccer, and especially in our conference, there is such a small difference in the top, top teams and the teams that aren’t really there yet. You can’t have any let ups.”
Morrow has many expectations for the Bisons who have the ultimate goal of being the next program at Lipscomb to earn their first NCAA berth.
“I expect us to have a team that is competitive,” Morrow said. “I expect to have a team where the players work together and fights for every loose ball.
“I don’t want us to never be out of a game because of their effort or because of their frustration. We saw that a little bit last season. That can’t happen again this season.”
One of the biggest concerns for Morrow after the spring games was a lack of goal scoring.
“The ability to score is there,” Morrow said. “We need to be clicking at the right time. We still have to do a better job of finishing our chances.
“Statistically, we didn’t have the goals last season that we did the year before. We need to get better on defense and we need to get better on the attack as well. “
The DaSilva factor: The player who will be expected to carry the scoring load for the Bisons is senior forward Miguel DaSilva. He scored five goals last season, down from his nine in 2008. He was making a recovery from off-season surgery and was not 100 percent during the season.
“For the most part we rely a lot on Miguel,” Morrow said. “Everybody knows who Miguel is. Certainly, a lot of our success will depend on how he is doing.
“Can we get it done without him? Certainly. But if he is healthy and he is right he is going to score goals. Even with people knowing who he is and doubling down on him he will find a way to score goals.”
Morrow will also count on junior forward Garret Pettis who scored four goals last season after recording 12 as a freshman in 2008. Pettis broke his ankle midway through spring workouts.
“Garret didn’t have as good a year his second year, but neither did we,” Morrow said. “Garret would be the first to tell you that if it wasn’t for Miguel and the players behind him he wouldn’t have had as many goals as a freshman.”
Morrow also thinks that at least a couple of the incoming players will be able to provide a scoring boost.
“With the class we have coming in we will have much better chance to generate goals off of set pieces rather than just relying on Miguel,” Morrow said. “But if Miguel is doing well, certainly that will help.
“The good news is that Miguel is better at this point than he was at the same time last summer. He wants to be here. He wants to play. He has goals for himself and goals for the team. From day one he has said he wants to go to the NCAA Tournament and he feels responsible for doing that.”
Written by Mark McGee, Senior Publisher/Director of Media Relations.