Getting After Winston The Goal For Lawson

Auburn freshman defensive end Carl Lawson talks about his development this season, learning from the veterans, and the key to slowing down the Seminoles.

Newport Beach, Calif.--It's hard to imagine a better first season than the one Carl Lawson and his fellow freshmen defensive lineman have had at Auburn in 2013. Jumping in and getting playing time under the guidance of Rodney Garner, Lawson is second on the team in sacks with four and tied for second in tackles for losses with seven and a half. All that despite playing in a 12-man rotation this season for the Tigers.

Making more and more plays down the stretch as he has gotten more comfortable in Ellis Johnson's system as well as learning what it takes to succeed in the toughest conference in college football, Lawson said he's excited about the strides he's made this year and he's looking forward to finishing strong against Florida State in the BCS National Championship Game.

"I feel like I have progressed a lot," Lawson said. "The game has come slower for me. I feel like I get better and better each game. It's not from a physical standpoint, but from the mental aspect of things being more technically sound."

One of the biggest advantages for Lawson, Montravius Adams and Elijah Daniel this season on the Plains has been having veterans such as Dee Ford, Nosa Eguae, Jeffrey Whitaker, Kenneth Carter and Craig Sanders to learn from. Seeing their work ethic on and off the field, Lawson said the entire defensive line has formed a bond that has carried them through the season.

"It has helped a lot," Lawson said. "When we came in here they embraced us and I'm so thankful for that. From Dee to Nosa to Jeff to Ken, they all embraced us and taught us the way of life around here. It wasn't just football, but on and off the field they look out for us. I have never had an older brother, but they make me feel like I have older brothers now."

While much of the attention since Auburn earned a shot to play Florida State has been on how the Seminoles will stop the Tigers' offense, the Auburn defense has largely been ignored. Even though most think it's a given that Florida State will run up and down the field, Lawson said this defense is out to prove once again they can get the job done when it counts. Facing an offense that has scored 53 points per game this season, but allowed 29 sacks (10th in the ACC), Lawson said there is no doubt the goal this week is to get after Jameis Winston early and often and see what happens.

"They're athletic, but once again I feel like we play against the best competition week in and week out," Lawson said. "I have played against some of the best tackles, supposedly, that are out there.

"They have never faced a defensive line that is going to be a fresh, as ferocious, as fast, and as athletic. I feel like we match up well and if we get after the quarterback then any quarterback can become average if you hit him a few times."

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