Cuz Mommy says so
Posted 26 November 2009 - 01:31 PM
Thursday, November 26, 2009
For someone who's one and done, Harrison Beck sure is having a big time these days.
Even though he's no longer in the big time.
Well-known college locales like Norman, Okla., and Clemson, S.C., have been replaced by Arkadelphia and Magnolia, Ark., but that's OK with the University of North Alabama senior. Unlike almost every program in Division I, the Division II Lions are still playing meaningful games at the end of November.
And Beck, who spent his first three years of eligibility as a part-time starter at Nebraska and N.C. State, has a front-row seat as the D-II perennial power's starting quarterback.
"This place has been awesome," Beck said of UNA, which plays host to Carson-Newman in the third round of the playoffs Saturday at noon. "This right here is what I thought Division I was going to be like as far as football."
Coming out of high school in Clearwater, Fla., Beck had every reason to believe he and D-I would get along just fine. The 6-foot-2, 220-pounder was regarded as one of the nation's top quarterbacks.
But his stay at Nebraska was a short one, and soon after he transferred to N.C. State, the head coach he came to play for, Chuck Amato, got fired.
"When I got to Division I, I was on teams that were in the middle of a process - a transition - and there wasn't that kind of confidence (I was used to,)," Beck said. "It was kind of like you had to tear people out to (work out on the side). Here, people are like 'Yeah dude, I'll be out there. I'll throw with you.' "
"This it was what I was used to in high school - guys who want to be around football. The winning is infectious here."
Beck has only enhanced UNA's reputation since arriving in August as the key component in first-year head coach Terry Bowden's reloading plan, which called for replacing 10 offensive starters from last year's semifinal team. Playing with a purpose and confidence he never had in his previous college experience, Beck has thrown for 3,201 yards and 29 touchdowns in leading the Lions to an 11-1 record.
He is a finalist for the Harlon Hill Award, given to D-II's top player, the eighth time in 15 years that a UNA player has been a candidate for the honor.
"Any time you take over a coaching job, you try to identify the immediate concerns," Bowden said. "We had to replace a three-time All-American (in quarterback A.J. Milwee), so we had to find a quarterback with veteran experience that could be good right now.
"Everything else was secondary, because nothing could be solved without that. He's been the most important part. Everything else couldn't fall in place until that happened."
Bowden's connections in the coaching business, in this case a personal one with his father Bobby, helped him land Beck. Amato is an assistant at Florida State under the elder Bowden.
"He really wanted to play here, (and) he has fit the bill," Bowden said of Beck. "He has come in and done a great job with our offense without ever seeing or hearing about it until August."
The quarterback has thrived in large part because Bowden "is in my corner, so I want to play good for him and my teammates. It's been a blessing."
The playoff format seems to suit Beck better, too. He said he enjoys the weekly pressure and preparation.
He's certainly no big fan of bowl games. "It's like another spring practice, like starting over again," Beck said.
He certainly has had experience in the latter.
Only in this, his third case, it's one and done.
The Lions, of course, are hoping it's won and done.
What is your favorite color?
Go Big Red!
Posted 26 November 2009 - 09:22 PM
Posted 27 November 2009 - 04:17 AM
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