They say a good attorney can argue as well for a case as he or she can against it.
If that's true, it would stand to reason that a college football player in a pre-law program would be as comfortable on offense as he is on defense.
To test that theory, you need look no further than to the Central Lakes College Raiders emerging ironman, Malcolm Harmon.
Harmon is a pre-law student and two-year starter at cornerback for CLC. His role as defensive back was expanded last Saturday. Playing on the road against powerful Rochester, injuries to CLC players started piling up and soon, the Raider bench looked more like a waiting room for a MASH unit than a sideline area.
"Eight of the 22 players that started in our first game are now either out for the season or banged up," said Raiders head coach Mike Degen. "Dan Ackerman (defensive back) is out for the year. He needs pins put into his ankle and possibly total reconstruction of his knee. Matt Steffen (all-division tight end) is probably out for the year, too."
One of the casualties in the Rochester game was Raiders quarterback Matt Yde. When the Raiders' backup quarterback, Steffen, also went down, Degen looked for some experienced help. He found it in Harmon.
"The last time I played quarterback was in eighth grade," Harmon laughed. "I normally throw passes during the defensive drills in practice. We used to joke around that if anyone goes down, I'm the first-string quarterback. Then Saturday, the first and second guys (Yde and Steffen) went down. Coach asked if I could take some snaps and I said, 'If that's what you need me to do, I'll do it'."
Harmon survived to tell about his experience.
"I took a beating but I lived through it," he said. "It was an experience. I got my bell rung a few times but that comes as part of the job. I had a blast."
When a cornerback steps into the offense as a quarterback, his approach is a little different from that of a player who plays only on the offensive side of the ball.
"When I'm playing as a cornerback," said Harmon, "I always read the quarterback. Doing it from the opposite position, I knew the corner was trying to read me. So I tried to do a few things to throw him off. But I was thinking as a cornerback playing quarterback. It was different but fun."
After this season, Harmon, a native of Indianapolis, Ind., plans to pursue his degree in business law and play football at an institution closer to his home.
"I'm looking forward to going back home," he said. "If I get a chance to play ball somewhere else, I'm definitely going to take the opportunity. I'd love to go to IU (Indiana University). If I stay healthy and have a good year, I believe I could play there. That would be like a dream come true."
In the meantime, Harmon and the rest of the Raiders are focusing their attention on Minnesota Community College Conference rival Ridgewater, the team they will host at 1:30 p.m. Saturday. The Raiders, 1-4 overall, will try to return to their winning ways against the 4-1 Ridgewater team.
"Ridgewater is a well-coached ball team," said Degen. "There aren't any real superstars on their team. But, they're all just great kids and great players. They like to show a lot of formations. They like to run the ball but do a fine job of passing, too. This should be a fun football game to watch."
One player hoping he will be among those playing rather than watching is Yde, who left the Rochester game after experiencing vision problems. Those problems seem to have cleared up so, at least as far as Degen projects, Harmon be viewing the game exclusively from his more familiar defensive side of the field.
"We're optimistic that Matt Yde will be back and ready to go for us this weekend," said Degen.
If he isn't, Harmon figures that he and the dwindling number of Raiders who are healthy enough to play will be able to get the job done against Ridgewater.
"The guys are banged up and bruised," said Harmon. "But we've got some real strong guys. As our numbers get shorter, the strongest survive. We can definitely come out here and compete. If the guys come out and play hard-nosed, we can definitely win these last four games."
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