Harrison Developing at Tackle Spot

Redshirt-freshman tackle <!--Default NodeId For Edwin Harrison is 1221266,2004--><A HREF=[PlayerNode:1221266]>Edwin Harrison</A> saw the most extensive action of his career last week against <!--Default NodeId For Texas A&M is 372,2004--><A HREF=http://tamu.TheInsiders.com>Texas A&M</A>, when starter Clint O'Neal left the game with an injury. While O'Neal is back and healthy, Harrison should continue to see the field some in the backup role as the season continues.

Harrison has played in five games this season, backing up O'Neal, a junior, at tight tackle. Game by game, Harrison has improved, and currently has a higher ratio of knockdown blocks (1 per every 18 plays) than any offensive lineman on the team.

Outside the five starters, Harrison is the only lineman to play more than 100 snaps this fall (113).

"I've been enjoying myself, but really I've been focused on winning, doing whatever I can for the team," Harrison said after practice Wednesday. "If that's playing five snaps, or if that's playing 45 snaps, that's what I'm going to do."

Against Texas A&M, that meant playing 46 snaps, to be exact. The 6-foot-4, 295-pound 19-year old played almost the entire second half after O'Neal had to leave the game with a strained trapezoid muscle injury at halftime. Harrison played until he developed cramps late in the game.

"It's been a long time since I played in the humidity," the Houston native laughed.

He said getting so much action in a game in his home state was fun. But, mostly, his playing time, and the game preparation this season has been a big learning experience.

"I've been learning how hard it is to win one game in college football, learning how hard it is to prepare for that win," Harrison said. "It's just amazing all the work and time and effort you have to put into it."

Offensive line coach Dave Borbely was pleased with Harrison's effort against the Aggies, when he was matched up against A&M defensive end Mike Montgomery, a probable 2005 NFL Draft pick.

"For a freshman, Edwin has done an outstanding job for us," Borbely said. ‘He's still learning the offense, but he's much more comfortable with it than he was at the beginning."

Asked where Harrison needs the most improvement, Borbely said, "He's got to learn the nuances of the game; he's got to learn to recognize when there's going to be a twist, or how to recognize when the line's going to slant — some of the things it takes a while to learn."

And some of the things you can't learn unless you're out there in the trenches on game day.

O'Neal is recovered and practiced full speed on Wednesday, and is expected to be at full strength for Saturday's game at home vs. Texas. But expect Harrison to continue to get in the game on a few series, as Borbely is more and more comfortable with his level of play. That's just fine with Harrison.

"I'm happy that (O'Neal) is able to be back," Harrison said. "We push each other in practice and that's the whole thing — just to continue to get each other better. That's what being a team is about."

Running back Bobby Purify practiced full speed Wednesday, and similar to last week, will play against Texas with a separated shoulder.

UT OL Impressive
Gary Barnett said Texas' offensive line is the best CU will face to this point in the season, and probably the best one they'll face all year.

Brooks to Line Up Against His Buddies
Safety Dominique Brooks will face two former high school teammates Saturday. Starting Texas cornerback Tarrell Brown played in the same secondary as Brooks at North Mesquite High School in Mesquite, Texas.

UT starting middle linebacker Aaron Harris was a year ahead of Brooks and Brown at North Mesquite. But Brooks was at Harris' house in Dec. 2001 and watched on televesion as Colorado beat the Longhorns in the Big 12 title game.

Tunnel of Fans
Asked about what he expects from the crowd on Saturday, Barnett said, "We hope people get fired up and come. But there's not much I can do about that. I just want to have our team on the field playing full speed and playing with passion."

Kickoff is at 1:30 p.m. and the game will be broadcast on ABC television.

The 5334 Club is organizing a Tunnel of Fans, similar to the one that took place prior to the CSU game in September. Fans are asked to gather at the Frank Shorter on the corner of Stadium Dr. and Folsom Ave. at 10:45 a.m. Saturday. Team buses will arrive shortly thereafter, and the Colorado players and coaches will walk the tunnel up to the Dal Ward Center prior to the game.

Former CU players are scheduled to be at the Tunnel of Fans too, and will be available to sign autographs. It's also a chance to vote for the Buffalo Heart Award, given each year to the player that displayed the most heart.

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