Morris noted that he doesn't get angry if he overhears students doubting his team, because "you can play the game angry, but it won't get you anywhere."
Still, as Penn State showed Saturday in its 35-7 win at Illinois - whose coaches went to Penn State to recruit players over the summer after the NCAA sanctions were announced - a little extra motivation can go a long way.
"That definitely motivates us," tight end Kyle Carter said. "Sometimes it's like being a fly on the wall if kids don't know that we're around."
When the Nittany Lions started the year 0-2, Carter said the comments were harsher, but now that they are winning, things have been changing.
Motivation should be quite easy to cook up for Saturday's game against No. 24 Northwestern (5-0, 1-0) in Beaver Stadium. The Lions have not beaten a ranked team at home since 2008, and on Monday students and players heavily promoted a student "whiteout" for the game via social media.
The Lions opened as the three-point favorite against the Wildcats.
"Any time you put on the Penn State uniform, it's motivation regardless," Morris said.
More for Mauti
Senior linebacker Michael Mauti, who Sunday was named the Walter Camp National Defensive Player of the Week, Monday added the honor of Big Ten Defensive Player of the Week for the second time in 3 weeks, for his performance against Illinois on Saturday. Mauti had two interceptions for 105 return yards, including a school-record 99-yard return, six tackles and a half-sack.
Mauti is tied for fourth in the Big Ten in tackles (48), tied for fourth in interceptions (two) and tied for first in forced fumbles (two). He also won the Big Ten award after the win over Navy on Sept. 15 and after a win over Northwestern in 2010.
Mauti, the vocal and emotional leader of the Lions, has been praised profusely by coach Bill O'Brien throughout the season.
"He's a guy that I'll keep in touch with the rest of my life," O'Brien said earlier. "He's a guy that has meant a lot to this football program, to this team, to his teammates. He's great in the locker room. Just watching him play, boy, you wish you could have played that way. He plays every play like it's his last play and plays within the scheme of the defense and does an excellent job out there. He's a guy who means a lot to me and means a lot to our football program."