Against Kansas State, Nic Harris joined Reggie Smith to form the Sooners first all freshmen safety tandem.
When both players were recruited out of high school, Oklahoma envisioned both becoming starters early in their careers. While many times players with such hype don't live up to their press clippings, both Smith and Harris have been every bit as good as advertised.
Recently we talked to Smith about his experience as a freshman, and this week we catch up with Harris for the OUInsider.com Two Minute Drill.
JH: Nic, coming out of high school you always said that once you got to OU that you would have to make every opportunity count to crack the starting lineup. Well, you did just that against Kansas State didn't you?
NH: "Yes, I just came out wanting to read my keys and do everything that I was told and make my community proud. So, when I got my opportunity I took advantage of it."
JH: You have often talked about your community in Alexandria, La., but knowing you as I do I bet you have adopted Norman as well haven't you?
NH: "Yeah, I am playing for a couple of communities right now. In the Norman community they love me and I love them. I am glad to be here. However, it means a lot more back in my community back home in Alexandria, especially with the current events that have taken place in Louisiana. Everybody has been dispersed from their homes and I am more or less playing for them now and not necessarily for myself."
JH: How many friends or relatives have you had effected by Hurricane Katrina and Rita?
NH: "I have numerous friends from high school from previous years and cousins that lived down there. It really hit close to home."
JH: Has the adjustment to college life been that difficult for you?
NH: "Naturally, it is going to be difficult to a certain extent because it is not the same level of play out here. It is a transition and once you understand, being the people person that I am, and being a personable guy, that I need to understand my circumstances and surroundings. Once I did that, things were easier for me to do what I needed to do."
JH: Has college life in general been pretty easy to adapt to?
NH: "I love it, I love it. It is the freedom, know what I mean? You get to do what you need to do. Being a responsible adult and being an intelligent young man means to handle everything to the best of my ability."
JH: Plus there are 13,000 women on campus right?
NH: (laughing) "No comment."
JH: Bobby Jack Wright always stresses lining up right and for you to play you have to read the right keys. How did that go for you in your first start
NH: "To be honest with you, when I went out there the only voice that I heard was Bobby Jack's. That was the only voice that I heard was Bobby Jack's all game. I mean, I hear him yelling at practice every day and that is the only voice I heard during the game. I didn't hear the crowd and I wasn't thinking about anybody else but what Bobby Jack was going to say if I messed up. So, I tried to do everything to the best of my ability."
JH: At what point then did you stop thinking and just play?
NH: "Probably after my first tackle. When I got that initial hit on my first tackle I just said lets go. I knew I could go either up or down from here, so I decided to just go out and play.
JH: Do you realize that everybody is pumped about you and Reggie starting at safety as true freshmen?
NH: "Reggie is my brother and we complement each other pretty well. He sees the keys and we communicate very well. We speak the same language and we understand the game. For two freshmen, we understand the game pretty well. We both are just out here trying to make the best of our opportunity. I can't wait until we get a couple years under out belts. We don't know the system as well as we should, but we are making strides to get better each and every day."
JH: What is the most difficult thing about playing safety?
NH: "The most difficult about playing safety is reading the routes and understanding what you need to do."
JH: What are your thoughts on Texas and all the problems they can present a defense?
NH: "Texas is a great team. Actually, they are an incredible team. They have an incredible quarterback, incredible receivers and an incredible offensive line. They are going to come out and give their all. We are going to give the same and the best team is going to win in the end."
JH: Are you looking forward to the challenge of trying to stop Vincent Young?
NH: "I put my pads on just like Vincent Young does — one leg at a time."
JH: You are not a Texas native, but wasn't this game one of the reasons why you came to Oklahoma?
NH: "I knew that this game was big, and I knew what it meant to both communities in both Norman and Austin. I know what the bragging rights to this game means and the hype that goes with this game. We just need to come out and play, read our keys and do what we need to do each and every play."
JH: Is this team a lot better football team now because of the Kansas State game?
NH: "We made improvements and made strides to get better. That game was a wake up call for us, because it proved that if we come out and understand what we need to do we can play really well. We are starting to get better, combine and gel as a unit. We are a better team since that game."
Two Minute Drill: Freshman safety Nic Harris
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