Marcell Harris plays big at the goal line

Some might say it was the play of the game. With the Gators and Hawkeyes toed at three with 7:42 left on the clock in the second quarter, the Hawkeyes had a 4th &1 at the one and ready to take the lead in the game. Instead, the Gators lined up tight inside with Marcell Harris on the outside, and the junior safety does what he has regularly done this year. Made the play.

Normal 0 false false false EN-US X-NONE X-NONE With a Florida offense that seemed to hit a few plays early but had already turned the ball over twice, the defense bowed up for a goal line stand like they have had to try and do in several of the last games. With a yard to go to pay dirt, Harris made a blocker miss on the outside and Iowa running back Leshun Daniels was headed his way. Diving like he had a cape on, he wrangled Daniels to the ground like a professional rodeo cowboy chasing down a calf and hogtying it.

Harris continues to praise everyone else involved in these plays he continues to make, like one eerily similar in the last play of the game that beat LSU.

“Coach Randy Shannon put us in the right spots to make plays. And in that situation everybody had a great push and I came through, broke open, and wrapped him up.”

 “In our heads we knew we just had to stop the,” he said. “Just coming off the edge, reading the blocks and getting through the line and making the stop. It was a remarkable play.”

“It’s all the defense, it’s all one effort and I just happened to make the play.”

The play before, Harris missed the tackle allowing Daniels to almost score. He brushed that off to make the play.

“You have to let it go. Once you let that go out your head, you come to the next play, the next play is going.”

“You can’t dwell on it. It’s the next play, the next man up, you just have to keep going.”

Harris had more than himself to worry about since the end of the SEC Championship Game. Several injuries to linebackers and safeties had him being the veteran in the back middle of the defense against a team that was going to really test that middle. He just tried to be a calming force all month long.

“Honestly just being vocal,” he said in what the coaches wanted from him. “Just being a captain out there and letting the guys know that it’s not on you and that you have all the players around you. Everybody came together in the effort and came out with this win.

 

Watching the freshman shine…

Freshman safety Chauncey Gardner finished the game as the MVP after a couple of interceptions including a 48-yard interception for a touchdown. It was a true coming out party for Gardner who has played pretty well for a rookie this season.

“It was very impressive,” Harris said of Gardner. “For a freshman to come out and have the game he had, it was remarkable.”

Harris expects a lot of Gardner as a sophomore in 2017. He believes Gardner has the right mindset to do the right thing.

“Just to keep it going, just to keep growing, keep dialing down the offenses that he’s going against and he’ll be great,” he said.  

H also believes the young defender could play anywhere in the secondary with his talent.

“You look at him,” Harris said of Gardner. “If he’s comfortable where he’s at, then you can leave him. He can be an all-around player, he has a lot of (different attributes). He did a great job.”


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