July 14, 2014
Gus Malzahn talks Auburn football at SEC Media Days on Monday
By Charles Goldberg
HOOVER, Ala. -- Carl Lawson is optimistic he'll be able to play this season, but the Auburn defensive end so full of promise will have to overcome knee surgery to do it.
Coach Gus Malzahn confirmed Dr. James Andrews performed ACL surgery on the sophomore in early May.
"Carl is working very hard and is determined to make it back this coming year," Malzahn said at SEC Media Days on Monday.
Lawson suffered the injury in spring practice following a season in which he had 20 tackles, including a disruptive 7½ for a loss.
"He is an unbelievable worker. He's very determined. We'll see where that will go," Malzahn said.
Malzahn also said defensive end Keymiya Harrell had ACL surgery again. Defensive lineman Tyler Nero, who has seen limited action, will take a medical redshirt and work on his degree. Malzahn said Auburn will press on with depth with defensive line coach Rodney Garner, thanks to some practice experiments and the likes of LaDarius Owens, Gabe Wright and Montravius Adams.
"Coach Garner will have a good plan," Malzahn said.
There was good news on the injury front. The NCAA has granted an extra year for receiver Jaylon Denson and defender Justin Garrett. Denson played in three games before suffering a knee injury. Garrett played in two after dealing with a foot injury.
•Malzahn says defensive coordinator Ellis Johnson has seen positive things in his linebackers.
"I think Coach Johnson would say we're light years ahead of where we were," Malzahn said.
•Malzahn said he hasn't decided on the penalties for quarterback Nick Marshall, who received a citation for marijuana during a traffic stop. Either way, he said he's happy with backup Jeremy Johnson.
"He understands the offense better now. He's a year older," Malzahn said.
Tight end C.J. Uzomah agreed.
"Jeremy could start, and no disrespect to the other quarterbacks in this league, but he could probably start anywhere else in the SEC," Uzomah said. "We have all the confidence in the world in him. This offseason we've been throwing with Nick and Jeremy, and we feel comfortable and confident in everything he's been doing. He's one of the leaders. We trust him with every aspect of playing football."
•Malzahn in the big media room:
"We've got our program back where it should be."
•Auburn's entire signing class has been on campus all summer.
"That's very important," Malzahn said.
He said newcomers could first show up as "quality depth" and on special teams.
Charles Goldberg is a Senior Writer at AuburnTigers.com. Follow him on Twitter: Follow @AUGoldMine