Usually prepping for a true freshman quarterback would be considered a good thing for defensive coordinators. Many times a freshman might be plan B, called in if the starter goes down. Unfortunately for Harlon Barnett and the FSU defense, Trevor Lawrence is a bonafide starter and has been playing like one of the best quarterbacks in the country since he usurped Kelly Bryant for the starting job.
Lawrence was the top ranked quarterback coming out of high school and has been efficient for the Tigers thus far. Earlier in the week, head coach Willie Taggart said Lawrence is the best quarterback FSU will face. Barnett noted what makes him stand out.
“He’s talented arm wise,” Barnett said. “He’s got a quick release, he sees the field, he understands the game, and he’s long. So that gives him a slight advantage— I guess if you want to say that— by being so tall with a quick release and understanding the game playing quarterback for so long. He just totally understands and they teach it well over there. They keep it simple enough for him to make the proper reads and then he just goes out and executes.”
Lawrence isn’t the only offensive weapon the defense will have to account for. Tigers running back Travis Etienne is ranked 10th in the nation in rushing yards, and has far fewer carries than most of the backs above him. Barnett praised the Clemson back, but was tight lipped about his plan to slow him down.
“He’s quick and fast,” Barnett said. “He has great balance. I can’t tell you how you stop him; that wouldn’t be smart on my part. But, he is quick and fast and like I said, he has good balance. We definitely have to wrap him up and tackle. That’s part of trying to stop him. We look forward to the challenge.”
Barnett’s full comments can be found here: