They were dancing in the football offices at UMaine on Wednesday, and if you want to see the starkest contrast between the old regime and the new, check out the video clip that @BlackBearsFB tweeted out at mid-morning.

It’s hard to imagine Jack Cosgrove and Kevin Bourgoin breaking into the “Ran Off Da Plug Twice” dance after hearing of a recruit’s commitment, but that’s what new Coach Joe Harasymiak and his young staff did (or attempted to do) in the 17-second video clip that has been retweeted 26 times.

Joe Harasymiak, 29, was promoted in December to become Maine's head football coach after longtime coach Jack Cosgrove resigned.

Joe Harasymiak, 29, was promoted in December to become Maine’s head football coach after longtime coach Jack Cosgrove resigned.

“I’m not even sure what the dance is. We probably need some lessons,” the 29-year-old Harasymiak told me shortly after his first recruiting class, 13 members strong, all hopped on board yesterday.

“This one will always be special to me, just because it’s my first class,” Harasymiak added.

That was evident in the youthful glee that emanated from Harasymiak and his coaches, notably on social media. The serious business of Wednesday morning — National Signing Day for those not paying attention — played more like an episode of “Saturday Night Live,” with Black Bears coaches in starring roles. It was funny stuff. Harasymiak and crew clearly get it — that the modern athlete and fans like a little frivolity mixed in with the football.

Speaking of football, though, here are five takeaways from the conversation I had with Harasymiak about his initial class (besides the addition of quarterback Chris Ferguson, which I wrote about for the Thursday Press Herald):


1. Harasymiak sees value in getting big running backs, guys who can punish tacklers instead of merely trying to elude them. Hence the transfer of Zaire Williams from Temple (5-11, 195) and the addition of freshman Joshua Mack (6-1, 190). They are meant to complement junior Nigel Beckford (5-9, 195), who has been the Black Bears’ leading rusher the past two seasons despite nagging injuries. Maine needs to run the football better, Harasymiak said. And as a defensive coordinator in the Colonial Athletic Association, he was well-versed in how difficult it could be to contend with bruising backs like Darius Victor of Towson. So that’s what he’s trying to replicate. Plus, he’ll be looking for a fullback to help out in the pro-style scheme envisioned by new offensive coordinator Liam Coen.

2. Speaking of big athletes, Harasymiak is intrigued by a couple of defensive recruits who may be able to add weight and move closer to the line of scrimmage. Guys like safety Demian Thomas (6-0, 195), who could have a future at linebacker. Or linebacker Deshawn Stevens (6-2, 230), who may find himself on a familiar path at Maine of bulking up and joining the linemen (think of Trevor Bates). Size brings a lot of options, Harasymiak pointed out, and you can never have too much of it.

3, Harasymiak raved about the cover skills of his two cornerback recruits — Manny Patterson and Jesse Stauffer. If they can excel in press coverage, obviously that opens up a lot of possibilities for the defense that will be under the leadership of Corey Hetherman going forward.

4. Harasymiak believes he landed two of the best in-state players in wide receiver Hunter Smith of Foxcroft Academy and linebacker (or could he become the coveted fullback?) Owen Elliott of Thornton Academy. Smith, at 6-3, 190, is a freakish athlete skilled enough to play quarterback for his high school, dunk a basketball at full speed in traffic, and high-jump 6-6, all while making it look easy. Elliott impressed all the coaches with his dedication to the sport and willingness to work hard to improve himself.

5. On a negative note, Maine landed only one offensive lineman Wednesday — Alejandro Alvarado out of New Jersey. Two recruits the Black Bears were avidly pursuing ended up going to Rutgers instead. That’s undoubtedly a disappointment, Harasymiak acknowledged, but he also noted that the recruiting for 2016 didn’t end this week. Defensive tackle Darius Greene was a May commitment, Harasymiak pointed out. Wide receiver Jordan Dunn didn’t join the Black Bear fold until June. There will be players available — either because they needed to get their academics in order or because they simply didn’t get the scholarship offer they were hoping for. Offensive line will be a priority.

So stay tuned. There more may be more dancing ahead.

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