Wyoming’s DeVonne Harris Rocks Goggles … and Quarterbacks
LARAMIE -- Utah State's Alfred Edwards allowed just two sacks on 830 snaps last season from the left tackle spot.
Saturday night inside War Memorial Stadium, the 6-foot-7, 325-pound senior gave up three on just 62.
Arguably no one had a more forgettable night on the high plains. Well, maybe Bishop Davenport, a true freshman quarterback who was making his first-career start. He was on the receiving end of those takedowns, after all.
Wyoming got to the Aggies' young signal caller six times, but those three at Edwards' expense came courtesy of DeVonne Harris.
"He was a big guy," UW's sophomore defensive end said. "We worked on it all week. He's big like Frank (Crum), so you dip around the corner. The first pass, I tried power. He sat down, so the second one I would speed around the corner and got home."
In other words, speed kills. The Big Lake, Minnesota product has plenty of that to burn, too. That's just part of the reason his teammates nicknamed him "Speed Goggles."
You'll never guess how he earned the second part of that moniker.
Harris does indeed sport glasses under his helmet. You know, the thick ones with the elastic strap. The kind that would make Eric Dickerson proud. He's been wearing them since ninth grade. In the classroom, Harris noticed the transition from the overhead projector to the smart board was a difficult one. His eyes wouldn't stop bouncing. The words and numbers, blurry.
MORE UW FOOTBALL NEWS FROM 7220SPORTS:
With contacts out of the question, Harris unapologetically went with the goggles. They are a bit of a trademark these days, but also necessary.
"I could not play without them," he said with a smile. "Like, if I have someone standing five feet away from me, their face is blurry. (Doctors) saw something that was getting progressively worse. It's stopped now, but they kept getting worse and worse."
Does anyone have a little fun at Harris' expense or maybe even try on his eye wear?
"Nope," he said. "They gave me the nickname though. I was fast getting off the line. Just explosive."
Harris clearly had Davenport in his sights all night long. Edwards was on the receiving end of that quick get off.
Those aren't the only two victims this year, either.
Harris, who stands 6-foot-4 and weighs in at 225, has tallied seven quarterback sacks through eight games. He tops the Mountain West in that category half-a-sack in front of Fresno State's David Perales.
He's wrapped up Tulsa's Davis Brin, Haaziq Daniels of Air Force, San Jose State QB Chevan Cordeiro and took down both New Mexico signal caller, Miles Kendrick and Justin Holaday.
Davenport got the brunt of it in Saturday night's 28-14 victory over the Aggies.
Harris came into this season with no sacks to his credit. What has changed?
"He's really continued to improve," Craig Bohl said of Harris, who also has 32 tackles and a pass breakup this season. "He has good length. He's able to long-arm and he runs well. We were concerned about his strength level and he picked up some really solid lean muscle mass this offseason."
Wyoming's ninth-year head coach then cracked a smile.
"He's a unique guy," he added, followed by an impression of Harris' scratchy voice. "He'll come to practice with pajamas on that are who knows what color. He's got socks that are -- the pajamas are stuck inside the socks.
"... I make fun of him and he answers back to me."
It's a safe bet no one in the visiting locker room is poking fun at Harris. Certainly not on Saturday night. Edwards made his 49th career start in Laramie. The seasoned vet looked anything but, chasing No. 93 around.
"We pressure him, he's going to have a hard time because, again, he's young -- he's a true freshman," Harris said of the game plan against Davenport, who completed 17-of-26 passes for 104 yards and an interception. "He had a hard time."
Still, Harris can't deny it, there was another Utah State quarterback he would've liked to have gotten to.
"A little bit. I'm not going to lie, a little bit," he said, referring to former UW teammate Levi Williams, who didn't play because of a high ankle sprain. "But, you know, we go out and play whoever we have to play."