“Whatever is best for the team.”
It's what junior Marquis Frazier echoed to PonyStampede.com after practice on Monday. The returning-starter was moved from defensive end to nose tackle today in hopes to bolster the SMU defensive line.
“They said we are going to start running nickel a lot more, so we just stayed in nickel pretty much the whole time today,” said Frazier. “I went through the plays, getting to know them a little more, because I'm going to have to learn the position. We are sort of short there right now.”
Frazier, who is 6-foot-3 and 295 pounds, made an instant impact for the Mustangs last season as a junior college transfer defensive end. He was named named honorable mention All-C-USA by the league's coaches and was second in the team in sacks with four. He also registered 45 tackles.
In the first week of practices SMU had been going with Aaron Davis, Mike O'Guin, and Jordan Favreau at the defensive tackle. Davis, a sophomore has a high motor, but is a bit underweight for the position right now. O'Guin, a true freshman that enrolled this spring to practice with the team early, appears not quite ready for more than a few reps a game. Red-shirt freshman Favreau, who just moved to the position this fall, has been hindered by heat exhaustion throughout practices.
“That battle is still open, but what you hope to do from this is get the best 11 players on the football field. Out of those three lineman, you have to get Marqus Hunt (soph. 6'7 DE) on the field. He has really progressed and Marquis is the guy that can go in there,” said Tom Mason SMU defensive coordinator. “I'm hoping that those three young guys can progress. They aren't quite ready for prime-time, so until those three guys can give us a lot of reps, Marquis is the guy.”
Whispers coming into the fall were Frazier did not want to slide over, but the junior appears to be taking it in stride.
“I would prefer to play defensive end, but whatever is best. I have to make our defense better. I can't be selfish. It's not about me, but about he team,” said Frazier. “That lineup is definitely big. Bigger and stronger than last year. Chris Parham was strong last year, but he wasn't as big as me and Taylor (Thompson). I think the line will have a lot more quickness, especially if I'm playing nose.”