Lissemore hoping to 'run all day' with first team defense

BY foxsports • July 23, 2013

OXNARD, Calif. – When Sean Lissemore was a child, the wish he'd make when blowing out the candles on his birthday cake was the same every time, he hoped to one day play in the NFL.

That dream didn't become tangible for the 314-pound defensive tackle until the end of his college career at William & Mary when pro scouts began showing interest.

Now entering his fourth season with the Dallas Cowboys, the 2010 seventh-round pick has steadily seen his playing time increase. With Jay Ratliff sidelined because of a hamstring injury, Lissemore has been working with the first team defense through the first two days of training camp.

"It's unfortunate that we have injuries," Lissemore said. "You never want to have those, but it's a situation where I'm just trying to take advantage of more reps. More reps for me helps me get used to this new position.

"It's a little bit unique in a sense that I'm tilted. Different steps and different techniques, so I'm working on that, trying to take advantage of these reps."

Lissemore was capable of playing all three defensive line spots in Rob Ryan's 3-4 front. In Monte Kiffin's 4-3 alignment, he's playing tackle.

So what's the biggest difference in the two schemes?

"Last year there was more of an emphasis on taking on blockers and stopping the run," Lissemore said. "This year it's about movement. It's about running to get to the quarterback, getting after the ball, constantly on the run. It's a little bit different in that sense. I'm trying to get my conditioning up so I can just run all day, run all game and really get after it."

Kiffin's defense seems like the perfect fit for the 25-year-old. Lissemore is used to trying to run fast. Unlike most 240-pound high school athletes on the track team, he didn't just throw shot put and discus. Lissemore was running the 100 meters and the 200 meters.

With DeMarcus Ware and Anthony Spencer on the ends, Cowboys defensive line coach Rod Marinelli has to enjoy the idea of having a sprinter rushing quarterbacks from up the middle.

Lissemore played all 16 games in 2011. He missed six games with a high ankle sprain last season but still managed to record a sack and 35 tackles. And to prove how much the Cowboys like what they've seen, they didn't draft a single defensive lineman in April.

"They basically said to me that we need to step up," Lissemore said about the team not drafting any d-linemen. "They kind of gave us the keys. It's one of those situations where, now we're responsible for us and we got to get after it and lead and do the right thing."

Follow Jon Machota on Twitter: @jonmachota