LIVE OAK, Fla. — Expected to shed blocks on defense, Nyalen Seymour — like all of the Suwannee playmakers — is required to lay some blocks on offense.
And that’s just fine with the junior, who said he was added to the backfield to add some “physicality” there.
“Every player on offense has to block,” SHS offensive coordinator Mike Braun said. “And every player on offense who touches the ball,” has to put in the work necessary to be a good blocker, including all the playmakers.
“Seymour has done really well at blocking,” Braun added. “He could work on some things, but he has a low center of gravity, and he gets low with the power run and wedges people out of the way. He also does a good job at running, he’s a power runner.”
And that is just what Braun wants to see, noting the Bulldogs favor being a power team.
“We pride ourselves first in being an inside running team; then that opens up the outside,” he added.
In the season opener against Fort White, which Suwannee won 28-6, Seymour carried the ball six times, including a 41-yard run for a touchdown in which he opened up the outside himself after starting up the middle on one of those power runs on third-and-short.
Pretty impressive for a blocking back.
“I saw the hole, and I hit it,” Seymour said of the run. “It was all about blocking on offense. Then the coaches started letting me run the ball.”
Suwannee head coach Kyler Hall, though, said it wasn’t surprising to see Seymour deliver a big play.
“He’s the type of back that can block or run it, and he can fit into any situation in a game,” Hall said.
Right now, Suwannee is ready to see Seymour back in any game situation. The junior who also is counted on as a defensive leader from his linebacker position, didn’t play against Santa Fe or Hamilton County after injuring his knee in that opener at Fort White.
The Bulldogs hope to have Seymour back this week at Madison County.
It would be a big lift against the Class 1A No. 1 Cowboys, who are also two-time reigning state champions.
In addition to being a playmaker, Seymour also captains the defense, taking the play from the sideline and delivering it to the Bulldogs on the field. Hall expects linebackers to be vocal and communicate with the rest of the defense, which includes calling out formations.
Seymour said he then “checks which side the offensive strength is on, check our coverage, and make sure everyone is ready before the play starts,” and describes his defensive style as “physical, energetic and fun.”
It’s a new role for Seymour, who is in his third year playing varsity football. After beginning to play in middle school, Seymour played JV as a freshman before being moved up to varsity after five games.
Defensive coordinator Dan Marsee said last year Seymour was a “spot starter, he started a few games but played a lot.”
Marsee said Seymour put in the work in the offseason and preseason to ready himself for a larger role.
“It’s starts before the season and he’s doing great, and has done exactly what we’ve asked, work in the weight room and has become a vocal leader of the team,” Marsee said. “This year he’s our main linebacker and captain of the defense, and he has great athletic ability and is super strong.
“We ask our mike linebacker to make a lot of checks and calls at the line. Last year he was’t ready for that. But this year he’s more comfortable with it. He’s been missed the last couple games, we’ve been scratching without him. When he’s back, we’re going to feel really good.”
Hall agreed that Seymour had a great offseason, one that should lead to a stellar season.
“I’ve seen him get a lot stronger, had growth in the weight room, which has carried to the field,” he said. “If you watch him run, he’s a powerful back. At linebacker he’s a run stopper and can drop in coverage. He’s stepping into a vocal leadership role on defense and knows how to direct the defense.”
And Seymour is aware of his responsibilities on defense, and he added that his teammates, “Expect me to be a leader and play to my full potential.”