Huggins, Pickney are taking All-American’s reps in practice
DALLAS – The way Brent Venables sees it, Dexter Lawrence will not play in Saturday’s 83rd Cotton Bowl Classic.
Clemson’s defensive coordinator said Wednesday during a press conference at the Omni Hotel in Dallas to preview the College Football Playoff Semifinal Game against Notre Dame that he is planning for the All-American not be with the Tigers when they take the field at AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas.
Lawrence, along with freshman tight end Braden Galloway and reserve offensive tackle Zach Giella, failed a mandatory drug test by the NCAA. The three players tested positive for a steroid named Ostarine, a PED, which can be found in every day products.
“I’m really hurt for him. He is family,” Venables said. “He is a guy that we would not be here without what Dexter has contributed and what he has done for us. He is one of the eleven on defense and then some.
“So, you really hurt for him to have to miss on this opportunity.”
Lawrence’s teammate Clelin Ferrell said the All-American defensive tackle has not practiced since coming to Dallas. Senior Albert Huggins and redshirt sophomore Nyles Pinckney are currently sharing the reps at practice.
“I have a lot of confidence in Albert and Nyles,” Venables said. “They have played a lot of ball, not just this year, but a year ago when Dexter was probably fifty percent of what he is now as a player. Injuries are part of the game and that is what we are treating it like.”
Venables said he had no idea when the test results will come back from the B sample or what the news will ultimately be.
He also does not expect Lawrence to be available on Saturday.
“I have no idea. Really, nobody has told me,” he said. “In my mind, no, but nobody has told me anything,” he said.
Venables said he was told by head coach Dabo Swinney last Thursday when the NCAA notified the team about the results of the drug tests. Venables said his heart sank for Lawrence when he heard the news.
“It just hurt. I hurt for him,” he said. “It is like when your own children are going through something tough and you can’t control it. A lot of times, as parents, you get to control things. This is one of those things where this really stinks. That’s a part of life.”