Grades Out As A Champion

Although he played in ten games last year, sophomore offensive tackle Addison Lawrence earned his 2008 team letter mainly playing on the special teams. In his first true test as an offensive lineman, which was against Jackson State this past Saturday, Lawrence earn a champion grade.

"I graded as a champion, so I was pretty excited about that," said Addison Lawrence. "80% or better grades as a champion. I think I was an 83. There is always room for improvement but I think I did well, so 83 is about right."

Lawrence had no idea that he was going to do so well in his first start as an offensive lineman, especially considering how nervous he was going into the game.

"I was so nervous coming into that game," said Lawrence. "I didn't think it was going to hit me but when we got into pre-game I was pretty nervous. After the first snap and first pad contact I was fine."

Once the nervousness subsided an adrenalin rush took over.

"I had my adrenalin going so I was moving around a lot," said Lawrence, who bulldozed an opening that allowed sophomore quarterback Chris Relf to score the Bulldogs' second touchdown of the game just before the first half ended.

The extra adrenalin probably wasn't necessary for the swift sophomore lineman.

"You have to think on the run and on the fly because the mental part of the (college) game is a lot faster but I think I have enough speed to hang with anyone out there," said Lawrence, who ran a 5.0 forty yard dash as an All-State tight end during his prep career at Magnolia Heights in Senatobia, Mississippi.

While the speed of the game hasn't been that big of an adjustment for the youngster, learning all the necessary reads in the spread offense has been somewhat of a challenge.

"We do a lot of reading of our ends and we have to read our (line)backers," said Lawrence. "We even have to read safeties, which is something that we didn't have to do very much in our past offense. There are a lot of calls that we have to make."

Overall, though, he handled that aspect of his game fairly well, as did most of the Mississippi State offensive linemen.

"I think (offensive line coach John Hevesy) said we did pretty well," said the 6-5, 295-pounder. "Most of the things we didn't do was finishing plays. He said there were about eight plays for each person that if they had finished the play they would have graded out as champions."

While grading out as a champion against Jackson State is something Lawrence can be proud of, earning that same type grade won't be as easy to attain this weekend against Auburn.

"They have some really good (defensive) ends, including an All-American defensive end," said Lawrence, referring to the player he will go against in the game - senior Antonio Coleman. "I'm excited to see what I can do."

Not only is he excited to see what he can do individually, but he's even more excited to see what his team does against an SEC opponent on their home turf.

"This is the biggest game of the year and it's a great test for us," said Lawrence. "If we get this game we will have some momentum under our belt."

Mississippi State meets Auburn on the road Saturday night. Gametime is set for 6 pm, and the game can be seen on FOX Sports South.

Gene Swindoll is the publisher of the website, the source for Mississippi State sports on sports network. You can contact him by emailing

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