Stone Mountain, GA
His East Carolina teammates call him
Young Slash because he seems to always be able to find a seam, a tiny
crack in the defense and exploit. He confounds even the best of the
Pirates’ linebackers as they try to make sense of how a guy can just
shrug off their best hits. To the coaches, he presents a bit of too much
of a good thing as they scratch their heads looking for more ways to get
him the football. For the fans, he is something to behold, always one
step from a TD.
For Dwayne Harris, it is just
the way he plays football. Arguably the biggest of ECU’s host of
playmakers, a lot of the diversity in the offense was lost a season ago
with an injury to the wide receiver/kick returner extraordinaire in the
10th week of the season. Harris is healthy again now – in fact
he says he is feeling darn good right now – and the junior is excited
about the offensive possibilities this season. He thinks it could be a
season of fireworks.
Harris took the time recently
to sit down with Bonesville for a one-on-one Q & A in
he shared his thoughts about the Pirates offense, the possibilities of
being miles better than a year ago, and the Pirates goals for 2009.
Harris clearly is a special talent and to talk to him, you understand
quickly why he is so respected by his teammates. In a word, he is humble
and unselfish. And he sees an opportunity for something very, very
special this season.
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ECU Media Relations photo
Bonesville: As a
junior, you have played a lot of football at ECU already and will be
counted on to be a vital part of the ECU offense. What is this offense
out to prove this season?
Dwayne Harris: We are
out to prove that we can play with the best teams out there. Last year
we had some injuries and off-field problems so we weren’t able to do
some of the things this offense can do. This season, we are healthy and
have playmakers and expect to be one of the best in the conference.
B: Are you healthy
and feeling good? What is the role you expect to play this season in
DH: I am back at 100%
and I am feeling great. I am out here to do whatever the coaches want me
to do… I am ready for whatever role they want me to play in the offense.
B: You are
regularly referred to as the team’s biggest playmaker. Do you see a lot
of things happening that will allow you to make those types of plays?
DH: We have Jamar
Bryant coming back which gives us another big threat on the other side
of the offense and a guy like Michael Bowman, another guy who is similar
to me. We have Dominique (Lindsay) coming back who makes big plays so,
yes, there should be a lot of opportunities for me to make some big
plays. Defenses can’t key on just one guy in our offense.
B: Any nicknames
DH: They call me Young
Slash… so I try to live up to that.
B: Talk about some
of the young guys in the receiving corps. Who should we keep an eye on
for breaking out this season?
DH: The young guys… you
have guys like Darryl Freeney and Joe Womack and Michael Bowman – those
are three young guys who are going to get a lot of playing time and are
able to contribute to make a big impact on the offense.
B: The offense returns a veteran quarterback in Patrick
Pinkney. Talk about the importance of having a guy like Pinkney back
B: From a receiver’s perspective, how important is it that Pat
Pinkney is back for another year?
DH: With Pat being
back, we have all been with him for three years now. All of us know him,
know how he throws the football, how he reacts in situations… we
definitely know how to read each other with all of the work we have done
through the seasons. That connection is important. We all have that
connection with him and [that] should give us a lot of momentum going into the
B: When you look around the team, can you name a player or two
that really commands your respect with their abilities?
DH: You know, we got a
lot of great players here. There are too many to talk about.
B: Do you feel like working against this defense is going to
benefit the offense this season?
DH: Yes, sir. As a
receiver, you know, we play against one of the best safeties in the
country in Van Eskridge and then you look at the corners and there is a
freshman All-American in Emmanuel Davis and there is Dekota Marshall and
[a great] line, one of the best in the country, coming at our
quarterback, so we practice against the best every day here.
B: So, then, what is the goal this year for this team?
DH: The conference
championship again, an undefeated season and get to a BCS bowl.
B: What kind of advantage does the home crowd give to this
DH: Huge. The fans
support us win or lose here. It really helps to build the program and
the recruits see that it brings them in.
B: What are your personal goals this season?
DH: Put up better
numbers than last season and accomplish those team goals.
B: Do you think
that if this offense can stay healthy, will it be the type of offense
that can carry this team?
DH: Most definitely… we
have playmakers all around this team, receivers, running backs,
quarterback… our line… yes, I think we will be able to carry this team if
we need to.