During spring practice there was talk that not only would Carl Lawson be a capable replacement for Dee Ford, but he could actually prove to be better than the All-American defensive end.
If Lawson hits the playing field from the get-go, that’s certainly a possibility. That, unfortunately, appears to be somewhat of an if at the moment.
Lawson underwent surgery this offseason to repair damage in his left knee. Other than it wasn’t an ACL issue, no details were revealed about the specific nature of the injury. Lawson’s father told al.com‘s Brandon Marcello that it is “not in the thought process” for his son to miss the entire 2014 season.
Whether Lawson is there for the opener against Arkansas or even the first couple of games, however, remains to be seen.
“He definitely wants to play this year and everybody wants to get a chance to right the wrong from that 13 seconds (against Florida State in the BCS National Championship), so I think the thing is he wants to be out there contributing and trying to help Auburn win a national title,” Lawson, Sr. said.
“When he’s ready, he’ll be out there,” said Lawson, Sr., who played running back at Georgia Tech from 1989 through 1992. “I’ve got full confidence in the staff to make sure he’s not only ready but he’s prepared. We’ve got a great team and we’ve got a good defensive line rotation. We’re in good shape.”
Interestingly, Ford, the player Lawson will be expected to replace, missed the first two games of the 2013 season due to a knee injury. Ford, of course, went on to be named first-team All-SEC and tabbed on numerous postseason All-American teams after totaling 14.5 tackles for loss and 10.5 sacks in 12 games.
As for Ford’s likely replacement, and at this point in time, defensive coordinator Ellis Johnson is putting on a positive face.
“The procedure went well, and Dr. (James Andrews) said it’s been phenomenal the way he’s responded,” Johnson said Thursday according to the Montgomery Advertiser. “But we don’t get anything else definitive. We’re still very optimistic.”
That said, Johnson said “nothing specific” when asked if they’ve been given a timetable for the defensive lineman’s return.