Scout Team Analysis: Defensive Line

One of the main reasons this scout team accepted their role so quickly was the "veteran" leadership on the defensive line – particularly that of redshirt freshman J.R. Sweezy.

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    One of the main reasons this scout team accepted their role so quickly was the "veteran" leadership on the defensive line – particularly that of redshirt freshman J.R. Sweezy.

    The 6-foot-5, 265-pound defensive end stood out as a true freshman on the 2007 scout team, earning defensive scout team player of the year honors for that season. This year, Sweezy brought the same energy and tenacity to every practice, while serving as an example for the new players.

    "He knew exactly what to expect and he brought his best effort to the table every practice," Grad Assistant Bobby Blick said of Sweezy. "Our biggest concern early in the season is getting the new scout team players accustomed to our practice schedule and tempo, and Sweezy was a tremendous help on the field helping guys get lined up and keeping the enthusiasm high."

    Sweezy earned some playing time in games (special teams, etc.) because of his performance in practice, but the depth along State's defensive line has made it difficult for him to find a permanent spot on the two-deep.

    Regardless, Sweezy's prospects for the future are very high because of his frame and his versatility. His speed off the line makes him a natural fit at defensive end, but that might not be where he ends up in the fall of 2009.

    "Sweezy plays with a lot of energy, and is talented at any number of d-line positions," said Blick. "I wouldn't be surprised if he bounces around position-wise, just to give him the best chance to play early."

    "He never complained. His work ethic was outstanding, and he became a great example for the rest of the guys."

    Another veteran of the scout team defensive line who contributed in the leadership category was redshirt sophomore Audi Augustin.

    At 6-foot-2 and 253 pounds, Augustin may seem undersized for the defensive line, but he has proven time and again that he has the raw talent to make plays at the next level. In fact, his combination of skills and experience were evident whenever he was called up to play in certain games over the course of the season.

    Like Sweezy, however, his time on the field has been limited due to the extensive depth at defensive end. Yet, the fact that he was relegated to scout team duty for much of the year only served to motivate him all the more.

    "If anyone would have an attitude about being on the scout team, it would be Audi," said Blick. "But he never complained. His work ethic was outstanding, and he became a great example for the rest of the guys."

    Blick also believes that Augustin has the best chance to make significant contributions to the field next year for the Pack.

    "He's a guy I never had to worry about being out of position on the scout team; he knew his assignments and used good technique in getting the job done – which is why he has the best chance to contribute early on."

    "He's physical and works extremely hard on the field and in the weight room. He definitely has a bright future here."

    At defensive tackle, the experience was even more prevalent in the form of senior Jamain Clemmons and redshirt freshman Wayne Crawford.

    Clemmons, a career walk-on who earned a scholarship last season, has been a rock since the day he arrived on campus four years ago. He never had the size to become a fixture on the two-deep, but his persistence showed in every practice, and his presence has been a steadying influence to the younger players.

    Crawford, however, is one player who is sure to see the field extensively in 2009 with the lack of depth at defensive tackle. He was able to see some meaningful action in relief of players like Alan-Michael Cash and Antoine Holmes, but he has yet to display his full potential in front of the Wolfpack faithful – and that time may not be far off.

    "Wayne Crawford has got to be at the top of the list for prospects that could play early next year," said Blick. "He's physical and works extremely hard on the field and in the weight room. He definitely has a bright future here."

    When Augustin, Sweezy and Crawford were called up at various points in the season, the scout team defensive line got support from a pair of tough walk-ons: Andrew Cobb from Barrington, IL, and Justin Crudup from Rocky Mount.

    Neither is expected to crack the depth chart next season, but both have taken on the business-like identity that the upperclassmen have worked so hard to preserve – and that will go a long way toward welcoming the new crop of freshmen next year.


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