March 23, 2014
Carl Lawson makes the play, with one of his two sacks against Ole Miss (Todd Van Emst photo)
By Charles Goldberg
AUBURN, Ala. -- Second in sacks, third in tackles for a loss and a player who made big plays in big moments as a true freshman. Defensive end Carl Lawson made an impression in his first season at Auburn.
Not good enough, Lawson said over the weeknd.
"It's a big spring for me because last year, I was a little bit disappointed with my performance and I can’t wait to get better," he said after wrapping up his first week of spring practice.
Lawson didn't start a game last year while serving as LaDarius Owens' backup. Still, he made 20 tackles, including 7.5 tackles for a loss that included four sacks. Only Dee Ford had more sacks. Only Ford and Gabe Wright had more tackles for a loss.
Lawson is the first guy up at one of the defensive end spots this spring as Auburn looks to replace Ford, who is heading to the NFL; while missing Owens, who is out with an injury.
Lawson says he can improve on "my overall football awareness, addressing different schemes when I’m out there on the field, snap count, getting off the ball, hands, footwork. Every little aspect of my game, I need to improve."
Lawson forced a fumble in the second game last season. He had two sacks in the fourth game and was named the SEC freshman of the week. He was second in sacks halfway through the year. His disappointment?
"How long it took me to adjust to the college game," he said.
Others may say he caught on fast enough. Lawson says things will be even better in his second year in college.
"Having knowledge in the offense and defense allows you not to waste as much energy," Lawson said. "If you’re all over the place, you’re wasting energy and you’re putting your time and effort in the wrong direction. Once I have a better understanding of what I’m doing, the game comes easier to me."
Auburn is looking for the next Dee Ford, the guy who disrupted most everything for the opposing offense.
"I just want to be able to make plays for my team, pass or run," Lawson said.
Lawson said Montravius Adams is behind him on the left side this spring. Wright and Gimel President are the right side.
Charles Goldberg is a Senior Writer at AuburnTigers.com. Follow him on Twitter: