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Titans Sports

Harris gets a team of his own

Posted Wednesday, March 23, 2011 by TBO.com

Just one week after taking over the football program at Tampa Bay Tech, head coach Jayson Roberts has found the person he wants to lead his offense: Plant running backs coach Mo Harris.

Harris, who has been an assistant with the Panthers the past three seasons, takes over as TBT's offensive coordinator effective immediately, Roberts said.

Harris was part of Plant head coach Robert Weiner's staff for two of the Panthers' three state titles (2008 and 2009) and helped guide the career of Florida State-bound running back James Wilder, who rushed for 1,000-plus-yards the last two years.

Wilder's production represents the first time in Weiner's tenure that a running back produced 1,000 yard seasons. Harris also helped guide the development of University of Hawaii running back Allen Sampson, former Jacksonville University fullback Chris Hesson and current Panthers back Antonio Crawford.

In the early 1990s, Harris was a star running back for Jesuit under coach Dominick Ciao and, later, Hillsborough under Ear Garcia. Harris played his college football for Butch Jones at Ferris State (Mich.) University, where he still owns the school's career rushing record. Jones is now head coach for the Cincinnati Bearcats. Harris says he models much of his coaching philosophy from what he learned from Jones. And he says he has learned much from Weiner in three years at Plant.

"What I learned (at Plant) and, really, from all my coaches is that it's not easy being good," Harris said. "You have to put your work in -- watching film, breaking everything down, you have to know your opponent and you have to respect your opponent."

Harris said Titans fans should expect a new look to their team's offense this spring and fall.

"We have a 10-2 team coming back from last season so that makes my job a little easier but I do want to spread it out a little more than they have in the past," Harris said. "But I still expect it to be predominantly a running team because that's their strength for right now, until we see what we have in terms of receivers."

Harris said he expects the basic offense to run out of the I-formation and is pleased to know he has four offensive lineman returning who were starters last fall. The key, he says, is "knowing the game, not just playing it."

"We have to know the Xs and Os of the game, we have to recognize defenses from the offensive standpoint," Harris said. "It's not just run-and-catch football. It's far more technical than that these days, even in high school football. I've always been big on the technique of the game because I've always been one of the smaller guys on the field so I've always had to work twice as hard and know the game better."

Roberts said he shares many of the same coaching philosophies as Harris and the two are already formulating the look of their offense.

"We've already sat down together and talked about trying to have a more wide-open offense, where we get the ball into the hands of playmakers in the open field," Roberts said. "It's definitely going to be a more pro-style offense, where one play you might see us line up under the I-formation and the next you'd see four wide outs."

For now, Roberts says he will pull double duty as both head coach and defensive coordinator, his former position at TBT. But he said he is still interested in hiring a DC, if the right coach is available.

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