Harmon playing his way into record books
October 23, 2008
In the fall of 2005, UW-River Falls quarterback Storm Harmon began his collegiate football career, recruited as a player that could play on both sides of the ball.
“I didn’t know if I wanted to play offense or defense right away,” Harmon said. “I thought it would have been the best way for me to get on the field.”
He played defense in his first year with the Falcons, but when spring practices came the following year, UWRF Head Coach John O’Grady asked him to play quarterback because he was in a bit of a bind.
“We only had one quarterback heading into spring ball,” he said.” I know Storm played some quarterback in high school.”
After one year of backup duty, Harmon was the starter for the 2007 season and has been setting Falcon passing records ever since.
Last season he set a school record when he threw for 340 yards in a 49-34 loss to UW-La Crosse. He also completed 34 passes in that game, a school record as well.
Harmon’s other school passing records are yards in a season, 2,163 in 2007; completions in a season, 202; pass attempts in a game, 49 against Pacific Lutheran (Wash.) in 2007.
This season he broke the University’s record for career pass completions, which was previously 246, set by Jerry Trooien in the 1967-69 seasons. Harmon currently has 316.
“[I] did not expect to see what happened,” O’Grady said. “Obviously, [I was] pleasantly surprised.”
Harmon said he agreed with his coach.
“I don’t think we anticipated this offense being this good this early,” he said. “Some of these records, you just can’t really predict them to happen.”
Harmon was the scout team quarterback in his freshman season due to the fact UWRF did not have a quarterback that threw the ball, he said.
The Falcons ran the wishbone offense for a better part of three decades, primarily a run oriented offense, and did not have quarterback who threw the ball well. Harmon stepped in and helped his squad prepare.
“They needed someone who could throw,” Harmon said. “We were a running offense.”
UWRF switched its offense in 2006, which opened up its passing game, and Harmon watched and learned from the sidelines that year.
The following season, he won the starting position, which he described as a battle. He admitted he does not have the strongest arm for the job, but relies on his preparation and intelligence.
“I know I don’t have the biggest arm,” he said. “I have to be smart and make better decisions than everyone else.”
The receiving core has benefited from Harmon, more in particular, sophomore wide receiver Michael Zweifel.
Zweifel has compiled a handful of records of his own which include receptions in a game, 18 against La Crosse in 2007; receptions in a season, 97 in 2007; receiving yards in a season, 1,056 in 2007.
This year he broke the Falcon record for career yards. Zweifel currently has 1,763 yards. The previous record was 1,502. He also has the most career reception with 102 and counting. He broke the record last year in his freshman year.
“We have a pretty good connection,” Zweifel said of himself and Harmon. “We have confidence in each other that we will make a play. He throws a good ball and makes my job easier. When I’m open, he makes the right read and throw.”
O’Grady said he agrees with Zweifel.
“Mike [Zweifel] makes play after play, but Storm gets the ball to him,” he said. “He has a lot of inner confidence, more than I think he had.”
Confidence he has, but his choice of clothing and personality may be different from others, Harmon said.
“Pretty sure everyone on the team thinks I’m a little odd or goofy,” he said. “I guess I dress differently. I wear flat bill hats and they don’t really like that with their farm style. I like people and like to talk to them, so you see my personality more. The more friends you have, the more options you have in the world.”
Some of the coaches give Harmon a hard time as well, he said.
“Coaches like to make fun of me saying I’m not that tough and just a pretty boy running around out there,” he said.
The offense installed some plays this year where Harmon has the option to call his own number when it comes to a running play, meaning he takes a few more hits than he has in the past.
“Everyone else is taking hits, so why shouldn’t I take a hit,” Harmon said.
Harmon played football, basketball, baseball and golf in high school. He said he thought about walking on to the UWRF basketball team, but chose to concentrate on football.
With all the sports he played, he said he believes it made him a better football player.
“I believe the more sports you play when you are younger, the better athlete you will be,” he said. “Not specializing in one really benefited me.”
With the season at the halfway point, Harmon leads the conference in passing yards, 1,258; yards passing per game, 209.7; and total offense per game, 244.
Zweifel summed up Harmon in one sentence: “A tough, intelligent quarterback and a great competitor.”