NEW ORLEANS — At exactly eight:30 a.m. New Orleans time, Nation Thor Jesus, he of the politely nice baritone Georgia drawl, thunderous proper arm, flowing blond hair and an ever-growing following of devotees, settled into his seat behind a microphone and beneath an enormous LED-powered signal that learn “TREVOR LAWRENCE QUARTERBACK.”
“How’s it going, y’all?” the 20-year-old Clemson star mentioned with a smile as he ran his fingers by his hair, took a deep breath and regarded over the cameras and microphones pointed his method. “Right here we go once more.”
It was one yr in the past, within the 2019 Faculty Soccer Playoff title sport, when Trevor Lawrence and his locks took their place within the nationwide sports activities consciousness. The buildup to that contest appeared to be all about Alabama and Tua Tagovailoa and the win that will cement their “biggest ever” standing on the eve of school soccer’s 150th anniversary celebration. Lawrence spent his pre-CFP media day surrounded by a comparatively small gathering of reporters, fielding extra questions on Tua and the Tide than he did about himself and his Clemson Tigers teammates.
Then they dismantled Alabama 44-16 and Lawrence was instantly praised as the way forward for the game, splashed throughout each preseason journal and on the high of each early listing of Heisman Trophy favorites.
The four-part collection goes behind the scenes with all 4 CFP groups, main as much as and thru the semifinals and the nationwide championship sport. Watch on ESPN+
So, naturally, Lawrence’s media day expertise Saturday was utterly completely different from final yr’s, proper? You recognize, now that he is the face of school soccer, the defending nationwide champion, offensive MVP of that sport, nationwide freshman of the yr and recipient of an inventory of different awards and accolades, to not point out his excellent 25-Zero file as a starter — and did we point out his hair?!
“Trevor, what do you consider LSU quarterback Joe Burrow?”
“Trevor, are you amazed at how good LSU appears to be like on movie?”
“Trevor, discuss how a lot you respect Tua Tagovailoa as he leaves school for the NFL.”
As he walked off the sphere in Santa Clara, California, one yr in the past, Lawrence was proclaimed the largest star in school soccer, suddenly the long run and the face of the game. Within the 12 months since, he has gained 14 video games, together with an ACC championship and a gutsy CFP semifinal over Ohio State, and likewise thrown for greater than three,400 yards and 36 touchdowns whereas additionally dashing for 514 yards and one other eight TDs. He led Clemson to its first-ever preseason No. 1 rating, its fifth straight CFP look and to the brink of its third nationwide title in 4 years.
However he did not win the Heisman — Burrow did. Lawrence wasn’t even a finalist, ending seventh within the voting, with three first-place votes to Burrow’s 841. Clemson did not end the common season ranked first. LSU did. Clemson was the No. three seed. And by no fault of his personal, Lawrence’s ACC schedule did not maintain him within the highlight from Labor Day to Thanksgiving. LSU’s calendar of high-profile opponents did the alternative for Burrow.
It was an unimaginable season for Lawrence, simply not the yr many had predicted. As unfair because it could be, the price of excessive expectations typically means settling for second billing when one’s highlights do not fairly match the hype.
As Clemson QB Trevor Lawrence answered questions for about an hour on Saturday, his offensive line coach, Robbie Caldwell, noticed him and mentioned, “He is aware of what he has to do. This is not his first rodeo.” John David Mercer-USA TODAY Sports activities
So, there Lawrence was on Saturday morning, caught squarely in the course of “Groundhog Day,” even when he’s too younger to grasp the reference. He did not even have the most important media following among the many Clemson gamers. That belonged to working again Travis Etienne, the Jennings, Louisiana, native seen by many LSU followers because the one who obtained away.
To his credit score, Lawrence genuinely couldn’t have cared much less about all of it. ‘Twas merely a small inconvenience to endure so long as Monday night time repeats itself, too.
“Trevor, how impressed are you with Joe Burrow?”
“Trevor, is LSU one one of the best groups you’ve got ever seen?”
“Trevor, I do know it has been a yr, however is it nonetheless arduous so that you can consider how unhealthy y’all beat Alabama?”
“Yeah, take a look at him over there. He is obtained it caught on repeat, does not he?” noticed Clemson offensive line coach Robbie Caldwell, craning his neck to see by the gang on the ground of Xavier College of Louisiana’s Convocation Middle, by the opposite offensive gamers to the QB’s podium, surrounded by what was once more a comparatively small group of media members. “However he will reply all of them, irrespective of how good or unhealthy of a query it’s, and irrespective of how a lot he will get the identical ones over and over. Take a look at him. He simply desires to get to as we speak’s apply, does not he? However he is aware of what he has to do. This is not his first rodeo.”
“Heck,” interjected co-offensive coordinator Jeff Scott, just lately named the brand new head coach at USF, “this is not his first rodeo this month!”
“Yeah, I am prepared,” Lawrence confirmed a couple of minutes later, instantly smiling on the first point out of the ultimate on-field CFP apply, scheduled for that afternoon. He reminded that there had been two media days previous to the ACC championship, CFP semifinals and Monday night time’s title sport. “I am able to apply, however to get to the sport, actually. This is not like a bowl week expertise. It is extra condensed. So, we’re able to get on with our prep and get on on the market and play.”
For an hour, Lawrence fielded what boiled all the way down to a unclean dozen of questions, half about LSU and half about being again within the playoff.
He loves Burrow, however added, “I’ve solely actually talked to him as soon as, on the Manning Passing Academy.”
He loves Burrow’s story and “the highway he took to get right here.”
LSU’s protection is “method higher than the stats may say” with “all of that NFL expertise.”
Enjoying LSU in New Orleans is “positively extra highway sport than impartial web site.”
He’s anticipating a “fourth-quarter sport, all the way down to the wire.”
Clemson is sweet as a result of “we put together the proper method” and head coach Dabo Swinney “created a tradition of perception.”
If there had been a “tradition of perception” or “the highway he took to get right here” consuming sport, then everybody round Lawrence would have been handed out by the half-hour mark. However not Lawrence. He does not drink. Although as his Q&A session hit the homestretch, he regarded as if he may have used one.
He overtly sighed no less than 3 times. There have been additionally three extraordinarily awkward moments of silence, the participant and the media gazing each other, every ready on the opposite to give you a brand new matter of dialog. What was it that lastly ended every pregnant pause? A brand new reporter, having simply walked up, inevitably and unknowingly asking one thing from the jukebox of usual alternatives.
“Trevor, what’s it going to be like dealing with a quarterback as proficient as Joe Burrow?”
“Essentially the most-asked query has been how a lot our expertise helps us,” Lawrence mentioned. “It is type of a loaded query in some methods. I imply, yeah, it does. However in some methods once we get onto the sphere it does not actually matter.”
And Joe Burrow, how a lot you want Joe Burrow.
“Yeah, clearly,” he replied with a chuckle. “He is actually good. It is arduous to place into phrases what he is completed and the way particular he is been.”
Onerous because it could be, that did not cease individuals asking Lawrence to place it into phrases. And he did over and over, and by no means with no smile, proper up till the announcement lastly went out over the world public deal with system at 9:30 a.m. that media day for Clemson was over and the group was to report back to the bus to — lastly! — depart to eat, watch movie and hit the apply discipline.
Lawrence clapped his fingers, nodded his head in reduction and started to descend from his podium. As he did, a TV reporter ran up, breathlessly hauling a digital camera on his shoulder and pointing a microphone into the quarterback’s face.
“Trevor, yet one more query, actually fast?”
He stopped and rotated, flipping his hair to greet the reporter with a smile.
“Positive, however only one,” he responded. “They’re calling me.”
“Trevor Lawrence, what do you consider LSU quarterback Joe Burrow?”