Clawson Adjusting to New Position

While at Snow Junior College, Clawson played as a rush defensive end for the Badger defense. Now at BYU, the junior college transfer has had to learn how to adjust his game to his new position at outside linebacker.

"He's fast, aggressive and a warrior who simply doesn't quit." Those are the words former Snow Junior College defensive line coach Jason Ah You used to describe Coleby Clawson while he was taking on big offensive tackles from his defensive end position. With a week and two days of spring practice behind him, Clawson is still adjusting to playing outside linebacker.

"It's been going not quite as smooth as I want it to go," Clawson said. "I'm finally learning how to pick it up. It's kind of strange because now I have to learn how to run backwards instead of forward, so that's a little bit different for me. Coach Lamb [during] my first week told me that I was "a blind pig in a hail storm."

And why did Coach Lamb describe Clawson's play in such a colorful description?

"Because that first week was like chaos to me," said Clawson while chuckling. "I'm used to pass rushing upfield or run stopping every play, but now I have to get used to running backwards or side to side, and it wasn't as smooth as I wanted it to go at first, but I'm slowly starting to pick it up."

On top of getting his linebacker technique down, Clawson has also had to make some adjustments in learning how to read the offense from his new position. At the linebacker position, being able to quickly read the offense and put yourself in the correct position is vital for this staple position within the defense.

"Another big thing is learning how to read pass or run," Clawson said. "At the linebacker position, you have to learn how to read the tackle, the running backs and the quarterbacks and stuff. We did seven-on-seven the first week, and so it was mostly just pass stuff. Then later on they put run stuff in and it got a little confusing for a little bit. It's just a whole different story now."

Clawson plays the boundary outside linebacker position that covers the shorter part of the field. The position also allows him to rush the quarterback from the outside.

"Every once in a while I get the chance to rush the quarterback from the outside," said Clawson with a slight chuckle. "When I do that it feels like old times."

Having played as an undersized defensive end while at Snow, Clawson had to learn how to substitute size and strength for other things that would allow him to be successful as a defensive end. Having learned this through practical experience, Clawson is not only able to use this to his advantage while rushing the quarterback from the outside, but he is also able to pass along some tips to his fellow teammates as well.

"Well, Vic [So'oto] has a defensive mentality," Clawson said. "I think defense already comes natural to him, but with him the biggest thing was that he lacked some technique in this regard. I don't have perfect technique either, but I was able to show him some little things like hand control, when to make a move, how your hips need to be and how to use your feet. I think it's just the little things for Vic, and like I said, he's already really aggressive and it just comes natural to him.

"For me it just feels at home when I'm able to rush the quarterback. Even when the offensive tackle is a hundred pounds heavier than I am, it still feels at home coming off the edge."

Although Clawson is learning the ropes, he's learning them really quickly through being thrown into the fire day in and day out by facing a top-10 offense.

"I'll tell you what, we definitely have a bunch of good players on offense," said Clawson. "I went up against the offensive line today to practice a little bit of pass rushing with our defensive line, and these guys are definitely a big step up from the junior college level. At Snow College, they run a pretty tight ship and Coach Ah You taught me some really good techniques. These guys here are bigger, stronger, faster and have great technique no matter what you try and throw at them. It's good to be able to go up against guys like this because it only makes you better."

Now you can listen to assistant coach Barry Lamb give his thoughts on outside linebackers Coleby Clawson and Vic So'oto.

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