CHARLOTTE — In taking over as Duke’s starting quarterback this season, Quentin Harris is only replacing the program’s highest draft pick in only 30 years.
Seriously, no pressure.
That much was obvious as the fifth-year senior took questions on Thursday, never skipping a beat as he was asked about stepping into the new role leading the Blue Devils, crediting his father, Kevin, a former Georgia defensive back, for his cool, calm demeanor.
So far, he’s only had limited opportunity to show that on the field, completing 41 of 81 career pass attempts for 410 yards, eight touchdowns and one interception. Coach David Cutcliffe believes that success will translate to a larger scale.
“I have great confidence in Quentin,” Cutcliffe said. “The thing that Quentin Harris didn't have to do, he didn't have to become a leader; he's been a leader in our program. If you just heard him speak, you realize what type of young man he is.”
A change-of-pace runner for the past three seasons, Harris believe his work behind the scenes will come out on the field this season, and while he’s not changing his game, he is making a slight adjustment to his approach.
“Hopefully I've earned the respect of my teammates over the last four years, kind of in the role that I've occupied,” he said. “But I think hopefully I've taken the reins, taken a more vocal leadership role. As I started to play more in a supplemental role the last couple seasons, took more leadership of the team, a more vocal standpoint.”
Scattered, smothered and covered
Among the reasons Geoff Collins took the job at Georgia Tech was the chance to return home to where he grew up in the Atlanta area.
There are many reasons the Atlanta area is a wonderful place to live, but among the best for Collins is the chance to enjoy a meal at Waffle House, which was dearly missed during his time at Temple, where he spent the past two seasons as head coach, going 15-10 while leading the Owls to two bowl games.
Since getting back, Collins has held numerous meetings at Waffle House and, more often than not, has a to-go cup in his hands.
“When I got back down to Atlanta, the first nine days on the job, by 5 a.m. I was in a Waffle House,” he said. “It just kind of organically happened, but it's genuine. Everybody loves Waffle House, and I'm one of those people.”
Headquartered in Norcross, Ga., the quick-serve chain has more than 130 locations in the Atlanta area.
The American Dream
At a time immigration is dominating the discussion nationally, new Miami head coach Manny Diaz shared some of his story — one he called the, “Traditional Miami story.”
His mother and father came together in Miami — one a native of the Northeast, the other forced out of Cuba.
“My mom and dad met and had me,” he said. “They taught me Miami, in a weird way, is a little bit of a microcosm of the American Drream. Generally speaking, not many of us that are from there are from there. If you're from there, you're probably not second or third generation from Miami.”
Not only does he believe the city represents the American Dream, but also the football program he now leads.
“I'll be very honest, I think the Miami Hurricanes are a showcase for that,” he said. “That's really what the Miami Hurricanes did in the 80s. There's not many college football programs that crash the college football scene; this has been a sport for a long time been dominated by the bluebloods. Very rarely does a team sort of sneak in, (but) Miami did.”