More on the D-Line from Courtney Harris

Redshirt sophomore Courtney Harris has been a strong contributor this year for the Hurricanes' defense, tallying a sack and recording three quarterback hurries, good for second on the team. Harris will be a player that quietly has a huge impact on the game, even though he is primarily on the second team. Read on to find out why.

Courtney Harris will have an increased role on Saturday. While he usually backs up Calais Campbell at defensive end and plays some defensive tackle on third downs, Harris will see much more playing time at tackle due to depth concerns at that position. The Hurricanes have been decimated by injuries on the interior of the line, and have turned to two defensive ends, Vegas Franklin and Harris, to receive significant playing time at that position.

"Everything happens for a reason," Harris said after practice. "I just have to do what I have to do to help the team. If I have to play tackle, I'll do that."

Coach Shannon said that he hopes to give Harris, Franklin, and tackles Joe Joseph and Teraz McCray between 35 and 40 snaps a game. The concern for the Hurricanes is that having a six man rotation at line will tire the players out in the second half.

"How do we perform? As bad or as good as we do as a group," Harris said. "We're not really thinking about it in terms of individuals, because as individuals, we still haven't won. We have to trust in the system and get a big win."

The system has been hard to pick up this season for Miami's defense, and on Saturday, it won't get any easier. Going light at defensive tackle poses some risks. While it allows increased speed and penetration, it could open up lanes in the middle of the field for Florida State's running game. Harris, who weighs in at just 245 lbs, will have to use excellent technique to keep his weight from being too large of a disadvantage.

"I played tackle on third downs the whole year," Harris said. "When it was 3rd and long, I'd go in to get more quickness for the pass rush, and that works well. I've been doing it on third down, but you know, since we have injuries, I'm going to be coming in on first and second."

"It's a big difference. When you're at end, you got a lot of space to work in. When you go inside, there's no space. It's a bunch of people coming down on you, double blocking you, and trying to cut you. You have to work in a box. I got a lot of respect for those dudes, because it's real tough."

While the lack of depth may concern fans, Harris insists that the team hasn't thought twice about it.

"No concern. I just got to stay low and go hard. That's the key of the game. Whoever want it most is going to win at the end of the game. I got to use my quickness. I can't be still out there. And I have to keep a low pad level."

As for the little matter of beating arch rival Florida State in Doak Campbell Stadium on Saturday? Harris has a simple opinion on what needs to be done.

"We have to win. No more no less."

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