With a scheme focused on getting constant pressure on the passer and making plays at the line of scrimmage, Muschamp said Lawson is a player that so far has looked the part of a big-play threat while playing both end and the “buck” position in his scheme. The veteran coordinator said he can add something to the defense right away.
“I think the number one thing is you have a really good edge rusher, a guy you have to account for in the rush,” Muschamp said.
“Number two you have a guy on the field who plays with a high motor and affects everybody else. When a guy like that goes out and performs at a high level, and is certainly one of our leaders, you’re able to take examples of how hard he plays on the film. That says a lot from a coach’s standpoint.”
For Lawson it has been a long year of waiting and watching after injuring his knee last year and being forced to miss the entire 2014 season. Even though he couldn’t be on the field the redshirt sophomore pointed out it didn’t keep him from learning more about the game or even improving his skills as a defensive end.
“From a knowledge standpoint, I’m a lot better,” said Lawson, who is known for his physical style of play. “Over that time that I sat out and even that spring that I did get in after my freshman season, I acquired a lot of knowledge. I feel like I’m a much better football player.
“A lot of footwork stuff,” he added on what he picked up by watching. “Just a lot of little things where you don’t have to waste as much energy to get to your goal. Just the overall game, the game itself--addressing formations and time and get-offs based off different things you see on film.
"When you’re out there your freshman year, you’re sitting there just trying to read and react," he added. "You’re looking at the sideline because you don’t want to get cussed out. After that, it’s just that swagger about you that makes you a better football player.”
Lawson is in great shape this preseason as the Tigers prepare for their Sept. 5th opener vs. Louisville.
Second on the team in sacks in 2013 with four in limited action, Lawson has high expectations heading into this season with many expecting him to be one of the best defensive players in the SEC. That’s not unreasonable when you consider what he did as a true freshman, but with a full year off that makes this preseason an important one for Lawson.
Without full contact since early in the spring of 2014 Lawson needs to get get back to the physical nature of football before taking the field against Louisville. That means taking part in scrimmages, something he’s looking forward to.
“I need to be in the scrimmages and I need to be out there,” Lawson said. “With Coach Muschamp's defense he's trying to prep as many guys to be as good as possible to there's no overvalued person. A team that puts more emphasis on one guy, what happens when that one guy goes out? They blow up so everybody is training to be good so I don't really think it's a value thing.”
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