Notes: Harrison, UConn, Pratt red-shirting?

Rutgers is readying to play at Connecticut on Saturday, and freshman receiver Mark Harrison could be a big part of the Scarlet Knights' offense. He has heard comparisons to former Rutgers receiver Kenny Britt, and he gives his thoughts on it. Also, the Scarlet Knights talk about UConn's rushing attack, and coach Greg Schiano discusses the health of the Scarlet Knights.

Mark Harrison heard the comparisons immediately, and while flattered, he is ready to make a name for himself.

"It's nice,'' Rutgers' speedy 6-foot-3, 225-pound freshman receiver said, "but I want to be called Mark Harrison, not Kenny Britt.''

The work, and production, needed to achieve such lofty status is immense, and with two catches in his career – both last week at Army – heading into Saturday's Big East game at Connecticut, comparing his on-field play with the Big East's all-time leading receiver is premature.

But there are plenty of folks who believe Harrison is headed for a special career because of his physical tools.

"He's got incredible abilities,'' Rutgers coach Greg Schiano said. "You guys haven't had the chance to see him fully healthy yet. This is a big guy who can really fly. He can do big things if he gets comfortable physically, and comfortable with his job here.''

Harrison is talented, but also raw.

He was a basketball player growing up – "I was more of a dunker,'' he said – and did not begin playing football until he was in high school.

"One of my friends, my freshman year, told me to come out to the football team, and that's when things started turning for me,'' said Harrison, who graduated from Bunnell High in Stratford, Conn. "I really enjoyed it. The overall excitement of the game … man, there's no better feeling than being out there on the field. I can't even describe it.''

His arrival in Rutgers' offense was delayed because of a training camp groin injury, and he acknowledged some frustration because of it.

"It's taken longer than I thought (to contribute) because of the injury situation. Injuries were holding me back,'' said Harrison, who understands the work he needs to put in. "There's a lot of improvement I need to make. I need to be more precise (in route-running). It's real tough. You have to know your alignments. There's a lot of technique that a lot that goes into it.''

Stopping UConn's run
Despite losing 2,000-yard rusher Donald Brown to the NFL, UConn has not gone away from the run. Now, though, the Huskies do it using a pair of backs in Andre Dixon (654 yards) and Jordan Todman (596 yards).

"They're just like Pitt. They're not shifty backs, but they're downhill and they come to get you,'' Scarlet Knights defensive end George Johnson said. "And the offensive line, you can look at them on film and people may think, oh, they don't look the best, but they get the job done. They're a real good line.''

The Huskies are fourth in the Big East in rushing (171.7 ypg), and their 16 rushing touchdowns are tied for second in the league. "They've got a big offensive line,'' Rutgers defensive tackle Blair Bines said. "I was just looking at them the other day, and they've got two really good backs that can run the ball. The quarterback can throw the ball, so they have really good balance. They're both strong runners and they come out there and work really hard.''

Injury report
Schiano said of the guys bumped and bruised only offensive lineman Desmond Stapleton would not play.

As far as freshman receiver Quron Pratt, who injured his ankle against Pittsburgh, the possibility still exists he could red-shirt if his ankle injury is season-ending since Pratt was injured in the first half of the season and has played less than 30 percent of the games.

"If he can play, we really could use him,'' Schiano said.


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