Game Knows Game: Swinney says Trevor Lawrence has quietly earned teams' respect
|Monday, October 29, 2018, 1:01 PM- -|
CLEMSON – Game knows game.
Freshman quarterback Trevor Lawrence rolled towards the right sideline during Saturday’s win over FSU and took a helmet to the chin from a Seminole defensive back. As Lawrence struggled to get off the ground, several of his teammates left the bench area to rush to his aid.
A few weeks ago, many wondered if the departure of veteran quarterback Kelly Bryant would cause a rift in the locker room, but head coach Dabo Swinney said Lawrence earned the respect of the veterans long ago with his calm demeanor and work ethic.
After all, game knows game.
"He has just gone to work. He came in here with zero expectations other than controlling what he could. He's a quiet young man and showed great respect for the veterans,” Swinney said. “The new guys pay attention to how the veteran guys work. He has just stayed poised and focused. We say, ‘game knows game.’ I think they all quickly realized that he could play. Throw in the fact that he's an easy guy to like. He's just an unassuming guy. He's very humble. He's a leader. He leads by example. He's a worker."
Lawrence was a consensus 5-star and rated as the No. 1 player in the nation by 247Sports and Rivals and No. 2 player by ESPN, but Swinney says Lawrence came in and instead of acting like a superstar simply put his head down and went to work.
"He has come in and has gone to work. Every day. Go back to January and he came in and got in line,” Swinney said. “He earned everything he got. He has put the work in mentally and physically. Obviously, you get to the season and he has had the performance to go with the work. He is a special player. He's very humble and goes about his business in a very humble way. He's a great teammate and a great winner. He has a great understanding of our system. I'm so proud of him.”
Swinney said that even though Lawrence arrived with a mountain of outside expectations, he didn’t know what to expect until he got the freshman out on the practice field.
"I was expecting him to get here and be a highly-talented player. I don't have many expectations on them until I get them on the practice field,” Swinney said. “It's not like we know how they're going to process things. You can measure some of it but until you get them into this environment, it's tough to measure that. I don't put a lot of expectations on these freshmen coming in. I have hope and knowledge of what they can do physically but you just never know until you start coaching them.
“In the past, you think this guy is going to tear it up but he comes in and he's not mentally ready. I learned a long time ago to focus on the guys that are here and when the new guys come, you assess them at that time and evaluate where they are. Some guys take off quick and some guys take longer to blossom."