Auburn's Carl Lawson plans his return
By Charles Goldberg
AUBURN, Ala. -- His teammates were on the practice field. Carl Lawson was not far away in the training room, his left leg being stretched, his hopes of returning to football this season on his mind.
"Can't wait to get back out there," he said Wednesday.
Auburn's defensive end/Buck linebacker, who started the year on the watch lists for prestigious national awards, has been sidelined since the first half of the first game when he injured his hip. He missed the next two games and coach Gus Malzahn said this week that Lawson could be out for an extended time because of the injury.
Lawson didn't play last season as he recovered from knee surgery and his return this year was cut short after four quick tackles. He guesses the injury happened early in the opener.
His plan now is simple: "I'm working each day to get better."
Auburn had counted on Lawson to provide a pass rush, and the prospect of him playing the new stand-up Buck position away from the defensive line was intriguing. Malzahn said Lawson was "unblockable" in a scrimmage in August.
Now, Lawson waits for another chance.
"It's frustrating," said defensive coordinator Will Muschamp. "I think from a standpoint of just the frustration you have for a young man like Carl, who really enjoys practice, he enjoys meetings, he enjoys the game, he enjoys competing, he enjoys playing — to see the frustration he and his family are going through.
"His dad was in the building the other day. That's what really hurts you as a coach. It's just the individual. Obviously, how does it affect your football team frustrates you, but really you hurt for the young man because football's important to him. When something that's very important to him gets taken away and to see his frustration… we spend a lot of time with these young men. They're kind of your own guys, and to see them go through those is no different from your own child at home. To see him go through frustration is pretty excruciating for you as a coach or parent."
Charles Goldberg is a Senior Writer for AuburnTigers.com. Follow him on Twitter: Follow @AUGoldMine