March 28, 2012

Harper preparing himself to make an impact



2012 Arizona athlete signee Bryan Harper was able to be in Tucson last week to take in a spring practice and the Wildcats' first day in pads.

Like many who have seen the 'Cats practice this season, Harper realizes that there is still a long way to go until the program is where the coaching staff wants it. However, the three-star prospect said that it was a positive experience overall.

"I thought it was good for me to go out there," Harper said. "I thought the coaching staff got after it. It started off a little slow with the players, but I thought they responded well after the coaches kept coaching and tried to get them motivated.

"I just thought the coaches were a little disappointed in the intensity with it being the first day in pads, and the players didn't seem too amped up or excited as they should have been. It was good for me to go out there and see what I'm going to be competing against, see my new teammates and get a good feel for my new coaches as well."

Harper signed with the 'Cats as an athlete prospect and will likely spend most of his time at receiver, but there is a good chance he'll play some quarterback during his career. So like any smart player, Harper knew what to do when it came to attending the Wildcats' spring practice.

"I watched a lot of the receivers and shadowed (receivers) coach (Tony) Dews," the Ontario (Calif.) Colony standout said. "And I thought he did a great job with the receivers, because he really focuses on the little things. He really didn't get too frustrated about anything else but the little things.

"I watched a lot of the quarterbacks as well, and I thought that coach (Rod) Smith does a great job with the quarterbacks. So I just kind of watched the quarterbacks and receivers to see what drills I should work on and try to get a feel for the coaches."

The speed during practice is one of the more prominent things that has been talked about early in the spring. While it was something that Harper noticed, the Wildcats' way of doing things is not unlike what he's already used to.

"I thought the tempo was really, really fast," he said. "I don't think the tempo is going to be that big of a transition - obviously the speed of the game is different from high school - but as far as practice tempo. At my high school we practiced pretty fast too.

"But the thing that I took most out of practice is that the coaches coach on every play, and they demand greatness on every play. They're going to coach you up on every play, but the pace is really fast and they get a lot of things done."

At this point in the school year for Harper it's all about getting ready for the next level and becoming a Wildcat. After being able to see what areas he needs to work on at the practice, the versatile prospect is going to continue to do what he's been doing this offseason.

"I just want to be in the best shape I can be coming in," Harper said. "That's all you really can do at this point, come in strong and come in mentally prepared. It's not like you get a playbook to study, so the only thing you can do is be in the best shape you can be in.

"If you come in as the best athlete, then all the plays will come naturally - especially with me playing quarterback I think that stuff will come easy to me."

Because the class of 2012 signees are not really part of their high school teams anymore and they're not quite part of the Wildcats yet, Harper said this time of year takes a lot of self motivation and discipline to make sure the recruits are doing what they have to do to be ready.

"It forces you to really make a decision, because when they send those workouts it's on you to do them," Harper said. "Fortunately for me I have a good strength and conditioning program at my school already, so hopefully other guys have that or you just have to take it upon yourself and do good.

"It is tough though, because everything is on your own. You don't really have anybody there telling you what to do."

For Harper it's now about preparing himself for the next level and he said he just wants to be the best athlete he can be to give himself the best opportunity to make an impact.

Matt MorenoMatt Moreno
GOAZCATS.com Senior Recruiting Editor

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