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Posted: Tuesday April 7, 2009 7:24PM; Updated: Tuesday April 7, 2009 9:07PM

Tennessee defensive back Morley dismissed from squad again

Story Highlights

Tennessee DB Demetrice Morley dismissed from team for a second time

Coach Lane Kiffin says Morley was failing to meet the program's standards

Morley was key part of Vols' dynamic secondary during the 2008 season

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Demetrice Morley recorded 42 tackles and two interceptions for the Vols in 2008.
Chris Williams/Icon SMI

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (AP) -- After spending a year away from Tennessee for academic problems under the Volunteers' previous coaching staff, defensive back Demetrice Morley has been dismissed from the squad for a second time.

Coach Lane Kiffin wouldn't say Tuesday specifically why Morley wouldn't return for the 09 season, but the rising senior had missed a number of practices, meetings and workouts in the past few months.

"It's very demanding for guys to stay here and go through everything that we do and to hold to our standards on and off the field ... Demetrice could not do that, and we wish him the best of luck," Kiffin said.

Morley was suspended from one practice early during the Vols' spring period for being late to a team meeting and had missed several other practices, including Saturday's scrimmage.

The 6-foot-2, 195-pound Miami native joined the Vols in 2005 and had a promising freshman and sophomore season before then-coach Phillip Fulmer dismissed him because of academic problems.

He spent the 2007 season improving his grades while taking classes at nearby Pellissippi State Technical Community College, and Fulmer reinstated him for the 2008 season.

Kiffin said Morley's previous discipline problems did not factor in his decision.

"We didn't judge people on what they'd done before. We judge them on since we've been here," Kiffin said. "We've had a number of kids that I think if we would have judged them on what they did before, we'd have different opinions of them."

Sophomore defensive back C.J. Fleming said Morley began missing team workouts in January and struggled to adjust to the Vols' new coaching staff.

Fleming also thinks Morley's dismissal sends a clear message to the team.

"Everybody tomorrow is going to be talking about how they put Demetrice off the team, and it's real big that it's D-Mo rather than just being somebody who never really played. That's just a starter taken right out of the lineup," he said.

Morley was a part of a dynamic backfield last season that included All-American Eric Berry. He had 42 tackles and two interceptions, including one returned 32 yards for a touchdown.

"It's a big loss. For me, playing with him was fun on the field," Berry said. "It's tough to say, but we've kind of got to move on and just try to get things straight with us and make sure we're ready for the season."

With Morley's absence and cornerback Brent Vinson recovering from shoulder surgery, the competition is more open for younger backs like Fleming, Art Evans and Stephaun Raines to join veterans Dennis Rogan and Marsalous Johnson in the backfield. Kiffin's first recruiting class also includes DBs Janzen Jackson and Darren Myles Jr.

"It's going to make everybody hungrier," Fleming said.

Copyright 2009 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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