August 25, 2009

Harris focused on learning playbook

MADISON, Wis. - Shelby Harris arrived on the Wisconsin campus in a good situation. With a defensive line losing three starters from a season ago, along the arrival of Harris, the unit possesses a young stable of talent.

Following a recent practice, caught up with Harris. The following is a question and answer with the Mequon (WI) native.

First of all, how did your summer go? And were you up here the whole time?

Harris: Yeah, I was here. I came here after I graduated. It's been a good summer. I've gained a lot of muscle. It's been a lot of fun.

How much muscle weight did you add?

Harris: I came here at 235, now I'm at 248.

Do you feel a difference as far as explosiveness?

Harris: I feel a lot faster and stronger ever since I came up here. So, I feel a lot better now.

As far as fall camp is going, how do you think you've been doing so far?

Harris: It's going pretty good. I'm just trying to learn the whole defense. It's a big step up from high school just with the playbook or whatever and taking responsibility for what's going on. It's mentally tough, but that's what camp is for, to try you mentally.

What is a realistic timeline, as far as to learn the playbook to what you want to be? Does it take a year, or two?

Harris: Well, it's ongoing. Just because you know it doesn't mean you shouldn't go through it. It's going to be the whole four or five years. You're always going through the playbook. It's not like you get it and you're done. You always want to go through your playbook everyday and get some kind of catch up on it. So then, you know it without any doubts.

Have any of the older guys on the line helped you out at all?

Harris: They're all willing to help and they all have. They're just like, you just got to think of it in certain ways. They all help out a lot.

Has anyone in particular took you under their wing?

Harris: O'Brien Schofield, he always helps out. He's always willing to help out. So does Daniel Moore and so does J.J. Watt. They're all willing to help. They don't want people messing up, even if it's people challenging them for a spot. They all understand it's a team and that everyone wants to make it work.

What have the coaches been telling you in regards to how they are going to utilize you this year? Has there been redshirt talk?

Harris: I haven't even talked about this. It's not even on my mind right now. It's just about learning the playbook and trying to get better everyday and every practice trying to take a step up.

You talked about camp being straining mentally. How has it been physically for you?

Harris: It's been fine. I'm just taking care of my body. So my body's not really feeling it that much. I've been going into the cold tubs everyday after practice. It's like drinking a lot of liquids and staying hydrated. Keeping my body in tiptop shape so I don't feel as much down as I should be.

How are those ice baths? Are they comfortable at all?

Harris: I've gotten used to them by now so it's fine. It takes me about 30 seconds to get numb.

Did you do those in high school too?

Harris: Not as much. I did it every once in a while, but to keep your legs here in camp, you have to.

What's been the biggest difference transition wise from high school to college that you've seen?

Harris: I would have to say the speed of the game. The speed is a little bit faster. In high school you can get away with not doing the technique. You have to be technically sound here. You have to know what you're doing. You have a certain responsibility and you have to stay with that responsibility. You could make plays all over the field in high school, but now, you have to be in your gap and you to do….so that's the biggest.

Does coach Charlie Partridge spend a lot of time on the fundamentals?

Harris: Yeah, he spends a lot of time with footwork and strike and all. Everyday during practice we work on this, so it's helping a lot.

I see you guys down here with the drill you do with the linemen. How do you assess that drill, it seems like a pretty intense one?

Harris: It's just one-on-one pass rush. It's just working pass rush moves. It's really just like getting off the ball and work the pass rush. It's just like kind of improving pass rush moves everyday. It's a vital drill to what we do everyday.

What's your move?

Harris: I don't really have a move. I wouldn't say that. I try to work on everything everyday. During those drills, I try to use at least one move, a different move every time. If you use one move too much, they are going to pick up on it so you have got to at least get better with every move.

Finally, for some of the people that don't know so much, how do you classify yourself as a player?

Harris: I classify myself as a player that won't give up on a play and a player that works hard every play and every down. I would never give up.

...More... To continue reading this article you must be a member. Sign Up Now!