“We hadn't had any scrimmage since I've been the head coach that we've had a dominant defensive performance like that in a scrimmage, so that's very exciting,” Malzahn said. “I think it was encouraging that the offense got whipped. But we've got some very good offensive players and really expect them to rebound.
"Big-picture, I'm looking at everything and trying to administrate," he added. "The only thing that really percent (stood out) was Carl Lawson. He's about unblockable."
If the offense hopes to rebound the first order of business will be to block Lawson and a defensive line that has shown improvement early in fall camp. Out all of last season after having knee surgery, Lawson looks to be in midseason form because of all the work he’s put in since being cleared last spring. Turning it loose in his first live action since the injury Lawson made it tough for the offense and Malzahn said it was fun to watch.
“You've just got to know where he's at,” Malzahn said. “There's no doubt about that from an offensive standpoint. He disrupts. He's a disruptor, and a lot of times, even if he's not making the play, he disrupts stuff for other people.
“There was no limitations on him,” he added. “He was 100 percent. He's better than he was before, I think.”
Not only has Lawson’s play this fall camp had an impact on what the offense has been able to do, but it has also impacted his fellow defensive linemen. One of those is fellow end Davonte Lambert. Also coming back from a knee injury suffered late last season, Lambert is cleared for play and took part in Monday’s scrimmage.
Playing 20 snaps in the first scrimmage with freshman Byron Cowart also getting first-team reps, Lambert said having Lawson back on the field for the defense is a game changer.
“It feels good knowing you have a real good defensive end over there with Carl,” Lambert said. “ He’s energetic, strong, powerful, and he brings a lot of energy to the defense as well. I learned a few things from him as well watching him on film. We talk and just knowing that’s someone you can go to and talk to and learn a few things from, it feels good knowing you have a real good player on the other side of you.”
Perhaps nobody knows how much Lawson can impact the game as much as Auburn quarterback Jeremy Johnson. Faced with having to play against the defense every day in practice, Johnson said Lawson brings it every play and that’s something that forces the offense to step up their game.
“He’s been unblockable all fall camp,” Johnson said. “He is just a tremendous pass rusher. He’s looking more explosive, faster and is probably one of the best pass rushers in the country.”