Grizzlies Look To Rebound
Against Eastern New Mexico
ADAMS State football boards an 8 a.m. bus to Portales, New Mexico on Friday, where the Grizzlies head to play Eastern New Mexico. The Alamosa Citizen caught up with head coach Jarrell Harrison to talk about last week’s season-opening loss to Western New Mexico and what the Grizzlies need to do to get a W this week.
The bus ride to Portales, N.M. is 7 hours long. How do you shake off the effects of a long bus ride and get ready to play?
“It is a long bus ride, and you just let them enjoy the moment with their teammates. As we get closer to Portales we’ll have them focus on what needs to be done, give them a test, but I don’t want them to be locked in for seven hours on the bus. But as we get going, and we get closer to Portales and then game day, we’ll lock in and be ready to play.”
What did you learn about your team from the Western New Mexico game?
“I learned that we are a tight knit group. A lot of things didn’t go our way last Saturday. But we’ve got a tough team that can go through some adversity. They’re a tight knit group and I admire that about them.”
Adams State vs. Eastern New Mexico
Kickoff: 6 p.m. Saturday.
Livestream and radio: https://asugrizzlies.com/sports/football/schedule
Coach Harrison’s Keys to the Game: “Stop the big play, whether it’s in the run game or the pass game, and control both fronts. And then obviously, don’t turn the ball over. We need to make some offensive plays against Eastern New Mexico, make some big catches and big runs.”
What are the areas of concern for you as you look at film from the season-opening loss?
“As far as the areas of concern, the big plays. Western New Mexico made more big plays than us. We did some good things out there, but the big plays hurt us. We played well enough to win the game, but we need to stop giving up the big play and then make some on our end.”
What were the highlights for you from the Western New Mexico game?
“I thought our offensive line was very physical and was setting the tone up front, and I thought our freshman quarterback did some good things. We gotta help him out at the wide receiver position, but I think we can build on the physicality and I think we can build on what our special teams showed.”
What was your message to the team following the Week 1 loss?
“It was devastating for the players and myself. You don’t play for so long and you’re so amped up, and then you’re devastated after the game when you lose. I’m glad my guys were upset. It’s never fun losing, but my message to them was ‘At the end of the day, losing is only embarrassing if you stay down.’”
SEPTEMBER 5, 2021
College football returns to Adams
COLLEGE football returned to the campus of Adams State on Saturday. It was the full game day experience with a 5 p.m. game against Western New Mexico under the lights at Rex Field, students geeked, local fans tailgating and the Grizzlies looking to score a win for Jarrell Harrison in his first game as head coach.
Western New Mexico spoiled the fun with a 35-17 win over Adams State. The Grizzlies’ highlight of the game came early when Elija Harper scored on a 91-yard kickoff return to tie the game at 7-7 in the first quarter. Other than that tie, Adams State trailed throughout against a bigger and faster Western New Mexico team.
Adams State gets another shot at the win column when it travels to play Eastern New Mexico next Saturday, Sept. 11. Adams State’s next home game is Sept. 18 against Western Colorado.
Photos by Tristin Porco/Alamosa Citizen
SEPTEMBER 2, 2021
Jarrell Harrison makes
head coaching debut Saturday
by cvlopez | email@example.com
IT’S February 2021 and the students at Adams State want to organize a march to recognize Martin Luther King and Black Lives Matter. COVID-19 has kept students largely in remote-learning environments and the campus has social distancing and other protocols in place that guide what can happen on campus.
There is anxiety among the student body on how to move forward and so they turn to a university staff person they trust to guide them, head football coach Jarrell Harrison. He becomes the staff chaperone for the event, Plachy Hall becomes the location for the beginning of the march, and hundreds of Adams State students participate with Harrison leading the way.
“We’re out here celebrating opportunity, progress, and how much we still have to go,” Harrison says into the camera as the march takes off. “It’s exciting what we’re doing here in Alamosa and at Adams State University. Go Grizz.”
On Saturday, Harrison makes his head coaching debut for the Grizzlies, but in reality he’s already made a name for himself on the campus. His outgoing style, his ability to bring students together and relate to where they’re coming from, his social media savviness, has endeared him not just to the football players, but to the campus as a whole.
“I think ultimately what I’m trying to do is build a culture of hard work and responsibility,” Harrison says matter-of-factly. “I’m building the type of culture I want around our football program and I think that’s what the community will see the most.”
Adams State vs. Western New Mexico
Kickoff: 5 p.m.
Adult ticket purchase
Rex Field Green and Student Union Parking Lot
Harrison is the 24th head coach in the school’s history and the first African-American to serve as head coach. That fact is not lost on him, either. He arrived at Adams State in 2016 as a graduate assistant to coach running backs, and in 2018 shifted to coach defensive backs and coordinate player recruiting.
When head coach Josh Blakenship departed in 2020, Harrison became a logical internal replacement given his experience on the coaching staff and his own playing career. He was a two-sport star athlete at Palo Verde High School in Nevada, leading the school to the 2004 state basketball championship his junior year and then a state football title as quarterback his senior year.
His grades coming out of high school didn’t qualify him for a Division I school, even though he could play at that level. So he enrolled at City College of San Francisco, where he played safety for two years and then transferred to the University of Missouri and started for the top 10 Tigers.
He says his experience at Missouri, and his exposure to a top NCAA Division I football program, will pay dividends at Adams.
“The most important lesson I’ve learned is you must be adaptable to each young man because they all need different things in terms of guidance, advice, tough love, and mentoring,” Harrison says of the early lessons he’s learned as a head coach. “I made it important for me to be adaptable to what our young men need.”
His message to the team when the Grizzlies head onto the field Saturday as a favorite to beat Western New Mexico? “It’s about us. It’s about how we practiced during the week and how we prepared. It’s never about the opponent. Yes, we want to scout our opponent, but ultimately it comes down to us and how we prepare and how we execute Monday through Friday, and then how we execute in the game on Saturday.”
Sounds like a head coach. He’s been acting like one for a while.