The Wolfpacker

September 2013

The Wolfpacker: An Independent Magazine Covering NC State Sports

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■ pack pros J.R. Sweezy Wins Seahawks' Starting Right Guard Position By Ryan Tice uard J.R. Sweezy started three regularseason games, as well as both playoff contests, and saw action in a total of 13 games for the Seattle Seahawks last season as a rookie playing offensive line for the first time since Pop Warner football. The former Wolfpack defensive tackle will admit that training camp has been much easier this time around. "It's unbelievable how much I didn't know last year compared to this year," he said via the team's official website. "I'd say it's a big jump." Sweezy started the season opener last year, but admitted that he had no clue what he was doing up front. However, it was no secret it had been quite some time since he lined up on the offensive line. Family members had t-shirts made with the phrase, "It ain't easy, bein' Sweezy," that eventually caught on with his teammates after they saw them in the stands. The 6-5, 298-pounder called the past 12 months a "night and day" difference, and his coaches have been so impressed that they awarded him the starting right guard spot. Sweezy was battling for the position with third-year professional John Moffitt, who has since been traded. "We alternated all through camp," head coach Pete Carroll said. "J.R. beat him out and did a nice job. "The biggest and most obvious jump [in the last year] is Sweezy. He didn't know anything. At this time last year, this would have been his third time out to practice on the offense. He's much further along." "First and foremost, J.R. is understanding offensive line play," offensive line coach and assistant head coach Tom Cable added. "He's learning how to be an offensive lineman, fundamentally — how to use his hands and feet together." Sweezy couldn't agree more with his coaches, and he is ready to pave the way for a potent rushing attack featuring running back Marshawn Lynch, while helping to keep pass rushers away from his former Wolfpack teammate, quarterback Russell Wilson. "It's finally coming together," Sweezy said. "I finally feel like an offensive lineman. I know the combo blocks. I know my responsibilities. Now it's just a matter of doing it fast. I just try to go fast, be powerful, try to find my keys and just go. I feel that's a lot of our mentality on the offensive line — just go hard, fast and physical." G Sweezy (shown at this summer's Russell Wilson Passing Academy camp in Raleigh) is an NFL offensive lineman after playing his entire NC State career on the defensive line. photo by ryan tice Maybe it isn't that different from the defensive line after all, although he did note one major difference. "Last year, I was just attacking the whole time because that was the only thing I knew," he said. "You still attack on the offensive line, but you've just got to know when those times are. "I'm still learning and trying to perfect things, so that I do it right every single time. Sometimes I can be a little inconsistent, so that's what I'm working on." Nate Irving Has Big Opportunity In Denver Nobody ever wants to see a teammate get suspended by the league, but those things happen. When Denver Broncos star linebacker Von Miller was suspended by the NFL for six games on Aug. 20, the first question asked by the Denver faithful was, "Who will replace Miller?" The simple answer is that a player of Miller's caliber can't be replaced easily, but former Wolfpacker Nate Irving seems like he will get the first shot at the job. The third-year professional has played in 31 games during his career, seeing most of his action on special teams, and has totaled 17 stops with one pass deflection. In 2012, Irving tied for the team lead with 10 special teams tackles, and he is prepared to step into a defensive role this fall. Miller is a pass rusher who sometimes lines up on the line of scrimmage, but Irving, who was also battling for the starting middle linebacker job, is expected to replace him on the strongside in the base package. 90  ■  the wolfpacker 90,92.Pack Pros.indd 90 8/23/13 3:25 PM

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