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‘Snacks’ Doesn’t Have Butterfingers

Posted Jun 10, 2013

It is not often you will see a nose tackle dropping in coverage, but you can’t blame Damon Harrison for trying.

“The nose tackle, we pretty much get the dirty jobs,” he told me on a recent “Jets Talk LIVE” installment.  “Taking on the double teams, so for guys like Q (Quinton Coples) and Mo (Muhammad Wilkerson) — the smaller more athletic guys — it’s a whole lot of fun for them.  I joke around in practice that I wish I was the guy that dropped to the middle of the field.”

The 6’4” Harrison, who was the only undrafted free agent to make the Jets out of training camp last year, makes his living in the trenches.

“Holding your ground.  Strong hands and being able to find the ball,” he said of playing NT.  “At three technique you are more so being just blocked by one guy, so you have to be kind of quicker.  At the nose tackle, you just have to be able to sit there and anchor in.”

But Rex Ryan and Dennis Thurman actually did move Harrison to a coverage role during an OTA session and the second-year defender responded with an interception of Mark Sanchez.

“It was actually a play where I was supposed to be man-to-man on the running back.  I was spying the running back and I just went out there hoping that the ball would get thrown and it did.  I showed my excellent defensive back skills, high-pointing the ball, jumping up, came down tucked it and I think I scored on that play,” he deadpanned.  “I don’t know.  If you watched it, I kind of showed you the 1-2 and hit the sideline.”

The fun-loving Harrison was so excited that he kept the ball in his locker here at the team’s Atlantic Health Training Center.  Last year, DL Coach Karl Dunbar dubbed Harrison “Snacks” because he tipped the scales at 350 pounds.

“I came in a bit overweight and Coach Dunbar and Coach Ryan wanted me to lose about 15 pounds.  There were a couple of Rice Krispie treats around the building, and every day I would come in and he (Dunbar) would sit them on my desk,” he said.  “It went from being one to two and then he brought the whole tray in.”

Even though Harrison’s preferred snack of choice is butterfingers, “Snacks” cut his weight in the offseason and he is down the 15 pounds.

“I came in at 335.  That’s the lightest I’ve been in a few years,” he said.  “I’ve never had the chance to play a football year lighter than I was the year prior to it, so I’m looking forward to it and I feel great.”

Only the second William Penn product to play in the NFL, Harrison appeared in four games in 2012.  He will provide depth along the defensive line as the Green & White continue to keep linemen fresh.

“Now I know what to expect,” he said.  “I know what the coaches expect.  I know how to treat my body and prepare more so than I did last year coming in as a rookie.”

Harrison, who didn’t record an interception in his 44-game collegiate career, longs for a theft in an NFL game.  Rex Ryan is aware of the goal, but don’t expect to see Snacks dropping too much in the future.

“He told me to just stick to the nose tackle,” Harrison said.

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