Trevor Lawrence came back to practice focused and ready to go after missing the Boston College and Notre Dame games due to COVID-19 protocol following a positive test result for the virus on Oct. 29.
The Clemson quarterback returned to practice last week during the Tigers’ bye week.
“He is right back in it,” tight end Braden Galloway said. “He got back last Monday, and it was like he never left. So, it has been a very smooth transition. Obviously, he has been dealing with some symptoms he had previously, whether it be endurance or things like that, but from a football standpoint it does not look like he has skipped a beat, so he is ready to go.”
Lawrence is expected to start for the Tigers this Saturday when No. 4 Clemson visits Florida State in Tallahassee, Fla. When he drops back for his first pass, it will be the first time the Heisman Trophy candidate will have thrown a pass during a game since Oct. 24 when the Tigers beat Syracuse.
“He came back with a ton of energy,” offensive coordinator Tony Elliott said. “You could tell that he was disappointed he was not able to be there for his team.”
Clemson (7-1, 6-1 ACC) went 1-1 in the two games Lawrence missed, beating Boston College and then losing in double overtime to No. 2 Notre Dame the following week.
Lawrence’s replacement, freshman D.J. Uiagalelei did well, combining to throw for 781 yards and four touchdowns in the two games, while completing 59-of-85 passes (69.4 percent) with no interceptions.
However, despite how well Uiagalelei played, Lawrence’s experience was missed, especially in the Tigers’ RPO game.
“As you saw with D.J. being in there and Trevor being out, you saw where (defenses) were committed to stopping the run,” Elliott said. “As soon as there was any kind of run action, you had a safety fitting, you would have a nickel/SAM fitting and D.J. is still learning the process of how to manage the run game.
“I thought there was some opportunities where we could have throw the ball on the perimeter to keep those guys honest.”
As Elliott pointed out, those are things that just come with experience. Lawrence being back in the lineup should help the Tigers’ running game, which is coming off their worst performance—just 34 yards—since 2011.
“I am not trying to put any added pressure, but (Lawrence) was excited and appreciative to be back out there,” Elliott said. “He did look good. He was moving around good, but we will know more as we get into this week.”
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