Running back Damien Harris, the Alabama product who now carries the load for the Patriots, put up a respectable 16 carries for 62 yards and a TD last Sunday versus the Jets. It was a nice Week Two performance for the former 3rd round pick, and Harris made sure to attribute some of his success in the league to his former coach, Nick Saban, who prepared him for the Patriots’ culture.
“100 percent, everybody knows that Coach Belichick and Coach Saban are pretty close, so they run their ships pretty much the same,” Harris said. “Obviously they have their differences, but Coach Saban prepared me to be in this situation. I think going to the University of Alabama and being a part of that program definitely helped create a sort of mentality to come in and show up every day with that professional mindset. I think all the things I went through with him help me get ready for this stage.
“It was still a tough adjustment, because you don’t really know what you’re walking into, especially here when you get to New England.”
Harris only has 180 rushes in his brief career, but has gained an impressive 865 yards over those attempts, for a nice 4.8 yards per attempt average. His role may be relatively small, but he does his job well, which is the main point of emphasis for both Saban and Belichick alike: “do your job.”
The Patriots welcome an up-and-down Saints team to Foxborough this Sunday. According to FanDuel Sportsbook, the Patriots are customary (-3) home NFL favorites, though with the juice leaning towards New Orleans. A player like Harris will be tasked with grinding down the Saints defense to open up the passing game for Mac Jones and the offense.