BY SCOTT MORGANROTH
When FAU senior tight end Jason Harmon was injured on the first play in spring practice in 2008 on the track and field, it was a silent moment.
After practice, Terry Mohajir, Associate Athletics Director External Relations and I walked off the field and I let him know my feelings disliking spring practice scrimmage because of the fear of a major injury could impact the following season. Mohajir still defended the benefits of having the spring game as he should because he felt it was a good way to market the program and did say that injuries can happen anywhere. While that may be true, to this day, I still bite my nails and chew my lip watching these games.
Nevertheless as we approach the 2009 season, Harmon was redshirted last year and he is back after tearing his (ACL) and meniscus. He ended up spending hours in the training room during his rehabilitation.
In two years, the 6-3, 215 pound native of Tampa, has 89 receptions for 1,086 yards and seven touchdowns.
My memories of Harmon's 2007 performance was watching him hurdle over tacklers gaining the extra yards. Now FAU fans will have a chance to see him barrel through them again.
Harmon is glad to be back for his senior year as he and Smith look to have excellent seasons in their final campaigns.
“A lot of people are grateful that they moved the spring game to our regular practice field because on the turf field, you may run faster on it but there are a lot of injuries on it because cleats get stuck,” Harmon said. “It was rough last year and I felt helpless at all of the games watching them knowing I can't do anything about it. I wanted to so bad though.”
Harmon did have the opportunity to travel to the Motor City Bowl in Detroit on Dec 26, 2008, but decided it was in his best interests not to participate.
“I wasn't going to ruin my year of eligibility but I went as an equipment manager,” he said. “I didn't do much with the team until the day of the game.”
The Public Management major said the he's looking forward to his final hurrah with his quarterback.
“Hopefully, this is our big blowout year for Rusty and I, “ Harmon said.”We have a lot of seniors on this team as far as offensive starters. Hopefully this is the year we go undefeated.”
Harmon said the thing he tried to accomplish in spring practice is “I'm just trying to get my timing back with Rusty and make sure everything is all right with that. I tried to work all the kinks out since I missed a year. I think I'm 100% healed and my knee is stronger than it ever was.”
Coach Howard Schnellenberger is pleased to have Harmon back.
“He's an experienced player and he'll be ready for the opening game,” Schnellenberger said. “I expect him to be back to the level that he was. The difference is now is he has two teammates that are right in the same category with him. Each of them do something better than the other. If you add up their different skills and divide by three, they're about equal.”
Outgoing President Frank T. Brogan said that the rewards outweigh the risks when evaluating the need for the spring football games.
“Yes, Jason Harmon was a great illustration of somebody who went down in spring who was out all season,” Brogan said. “But coaches will tell you that even Jason Harmon is going to come back a better man. He has had a marvelous spring, he's looked loaded and ready for this year.
“So even though we missed him last year, no doubt about it, all the additional days that came along with spring practice will come along with summer practice, and even come along with having a bowl game, even gives you more preparation for the bowl.
“If you put all this together, all of these things far outweigh the element of risks associated with injury. Injuries are going to happen and sadly, it's a part of the game.”
You can bet Harmon is gearing up for the opener September 5th At 7 PM. When the Owls travel to Lincoln, Nebraska and face the high flying Cornhuskers where the passionate Big Red fans will be very visible and rowdy at Memorial Stadium.
Scott Morganroth can be reached at email@example.com
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