Towanda's Harris ready to play for Orange
The past two years football season has begun and Towanda graduate Adam Harris found himself standing on the sidelines, watching and wishing he was back on the field.
After graduating from Towanda he chose Cornell, but after injuries held him out of a season at the 1-AA school he choose to transfer to Syracuse.
The transfer meant sitting out last season, leaving him two years away from his last competitive game.
Everything changes on Sept. 4 when Harris, who is first on the depth chart at fullback, takes the field for the Orange when they open the season at Akron.
"It's been great so far," Harris said Tuesday night. "Practice has been going real well. Everything is working well. Things are starting to click right now. I'm really looking forward to that first game."
And the closer it gets to Sept. 4 the more and more it begins to sink in that Harris is about to get back on the field.
"It's definitely starting to set in, starting to become more of a reality."
A year ago Harris was a back-up linebacker for the Orange, one year later he is now on the offensive side of the ball and set to start the season opener.
"Coming into last year I had a lot of goals, but I could have never really envisioned this happening now," Harris said.
During the summer Harris got a little competition at fullback as the Orange signed Tombe Kose, a junior college transfer from California.
For Harris having another fullback around has only made the transition to offense easier.
"It's been really nice to have him around. He is an important part to this team," Harris said. 'We are basically completely different players. I have some skills in some areas and he has other ones."
Since Kose's arrival Harris has been able to learn more about being a blocking fullback from him, while he has been able to help Kose with his pass-catching skills.
"He is more of a blocking back, helping me step up my game in that aspect," Harris said. "I'm more of a guy that can catch passes out of the backfield."
With Delone Carter and Antwon Bailey returning in the backfield, Harris expects a lot from the position this year.
"For sure, I have one heck of a backfield behind me, so that's going to be fun,' Harris said.
And, Harris is getting comfortable with the team's quarterback situation as Ryan Nassib is set to start and Charlie Loeb is listed as the backup.
"Nassib is a great leader and he's going to have a great season," Harris said. "We feel comfortable with him and if something happens we have Charlie behind him who we believe in."
As Doug Marrone begins his second year as head coach the Orange have higher expectations this year.
"Definitely people want to see wins and we are hoping to take care of those needs and give the people what they want," Harris said.
And, for the Towanda graduate it is nice to be part of a team that believes they care capable of a winning year.
"It's definitely nice to have a team where everyone expects to win and wants to win," he said. "Everyone is working toward the common goal of getting to a bowl game."
This season won't be an easy one for the Orange as they face a Big East with some talented teams and a road schedule that includes a road game at Washington and a home game with Boston College.
"I look forward to the schedule," Harris said. "The second game of the year we go all the way to Washington and I've never been west of Iowa, so that will be fun. We also have a game in South Florida.
"I'm definitely looking forward to it. I don't have any expectations as far as numbers, I just want to be a healthy competitor for the team."
And while he knows that he can't look ahead, if the team can finish the way they believe possible and reach a bowl game, it would be a perfect way to cap a year.
"I don't want to get to far ahead, but that would be something sweet at the end of the season," Harris said.
For Harris everything has changed in the past season as his coaches have more trust and expectations on him and he is in a position to make an impact for the team.
"Last year I was basically just a blocking dummy on the practice field and no one knew much about me," Harris said. "This isn't much pressure, it's just something I'm excited about. They are giving me an opportunity. It's definitely nice to have all the teammates and coaches on your side."
Since the Spring when he made the move to fullback there have been big improvements in Harris' game.
"I have been able to do some things now that last Spring I struggled with," Harris said.
And the more and more he works he is starting to get back some of the running ability he had for Towanda.
"I've been working with coach (Tyrone) Wheatley and definitely have some of those traits coming back," Harris said. "The more and more I play the more comfortable I get with the position."
Harris has enjoyed how much people from the area have supported him in the past year.
"Towanda is such a great place," Harris said. "Everyone stays in touch with you. I really love the area there. Everyone is just giving me great support.
"There is definitely a little bit of pride involved. We have had a nice bit of players come through and play good football down there. It's nice to show people that."
When he takes the field for the first time Harris expects there may be some nerves, but he also knows that this past year has been exactly what he always hoped for.
"I'm sure I will be a little nervous when the time comes," Harris said. "Right now, I have just been living my dream basically the whole time."