Coach's Corner: UNH's DC on Sean Ware

Hybrid defender Sean Ware aims to beat the odds and earn a spot on Carolina's final 53-man roster. Does the versatile player and special-teams stalwart have what it takes? To find out, we check in with Sean McGowan, who served as Ware's defensive coordinator at the University of New Hampshire.

Sean Ware (6-foot-2, 237 lbs.) is a hybrid defender who found a home at linebacker during his final two years at New Hampshire. During that stretch, he compiled 185 total tackles and 14.5 TFLs. He looks to continue his ascension in Carolina, where he'll scrap for time on special teams while hoping to work his way into the defense.

To learn more about the chances of Ware bringing that dream into fruition, we check in with New Hampshire defensive coordinator Sean McGowan.

LaShana Marshburn: Can you tell me about Sean Ware's transition from receiver to safety to linebacker?

  Sean McGowan: Sean was a kid who came to us as a receiver/safety, but he got big enough to play linebacker and it was something he had no problem with. He adapted very well to it. He took a lot of pride in getting better at the position. It probably wasn't until the fifth game of his junior year where the game really started to slow down for him and you really started to see him play the way he was capable. He was a big, strong, fast kid and really started to come into his own at that time. He played hurt and he really set the tone for us physically.

  LM: Can you comment on Sean's resilience, as far as him missing the entire 2007 season with an injury and then coming back the next season and not missing a single game?

  SM: Yeah, it was an unfortunate situation. He ended up blowing his knee out late in the spring and then he missed that following season. You could tell it was very difficult for him to be away from the games and not being able to practice and be around the guys. At the same time, he finally got himself to the point where he turned it into something positive where he made himself better as far as understanding the game. Being a guy that hadn't played linebacker, he really took advantage of the situation.

  LM: Was there one game or play that stood out to you?

  SM: In the Ball State game (Sept. 12, 2009) he made a huge play in the fourth quarter that helped us solidify that win. That gave you an idea of how fast he could play. He came off a blitz and sacked the quarterback. That was a glimpse of Sean in a nutshell and that was exciting to see, especially in that situation. Playing a 1-A team and coming down the stretch with less than three minutes left in the game, it was just a real big play at that time -- just one of the many that sticks out.

  LM: What are some of the key attributes to Sean's increasing success?

  SM: He's got the ability to run. That was really what got him evaluated, because a lot of these [scouts] were coming through evaluating our tight ends and they were intrigued by Sean because of his combo of size and speed, as well as his ability to play on special teams. Just the opportunity to compete at the NFL level is what really jumped out to a lot of people.

  LM: How do you think Sean will fit in with the Panthers?

SM: I think that the Panthers are a good fit. Sean really took the right approach going through the process. He just wanted an opportunity -- it didn't matter where -- to go in, get into camp and have the opportunity to prove himself because of his athleticism and his ability to play on special teams, no matter what his role is. I think if he ends up staying with Carolina or wherever he ends up, I think for him it's just the opportunity to play at that level. That's been a goal of his, to put himself in that type of atmosphere.

  LM: What can you tell us about his off-the-field contributions?

  SM: He was elected captain by his peers. I think people have respect for him coming off the injury and the way he was a leader outside the football atmosphere. I think he really earned those kids' respect, but when Sean got on the field, he led by how he practiced. He was an emotional leader, as well.

LM: Can you offer any final advise to Sean?

  SM: Adapt to [the Panthers'] schemes and fulfill their expectations.

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