BATON ROUGE, La. — Entering his second season with the LSU football team, defensive lineman Rashard Lawrence’s list of goals reads like a mistranslation of the children’s song “Heads, Shoulders, Knees and Toes.”
Under the tutelage of veteran defensive line coaches Ed Orgeron and Pete Jenkins, Lawrence’s focus heading into his sophomore year is being more consistent with his hand play and footwork. Additionally, he wants to pick up where he left off last season and keep working on his field vision, especially pertaining to recognizing blocking schemes and offensive patterns.
And if all that goes according to plan, Lawrence should achieve his main, humble goal: making the LSU football team better.
“Whatever I can do as an individual to make this team better,” Lawrence said when asked what his plan is for 2017. “With coach Orgeron, we preach one team, one heartbeat. So whatever I can do. We all have our different roles. So put it all together and see what we can do with it this year.”
Right now, Lawrence is lining up as LSU’s backup right defensive end. Ahead of him on the depth chart is fifth-year senior Christian LaCouture. Interestingly enough, LaCouture hosted Lawrence on his official LSU visit back when Lawrence was a consensus 5-star recruit out of Neville High School in Monroe, La. Now, the pair is working together, driving each other to get better and fill in for departed starters Davon Godchaux and Lewis Neal.
And though some might view Lawrence’s rise as unnecessary competition, LaCouture gushed with pride when asked about his backup’s journey up the depth chart.
“I think the game has slowed down for him a lot,” LaCouture said. “He’s learning the blocking schemes, he’s reading them a lot better than he did last year. And just having a lot of time under coach Pete and learning what he expects from us day-in and day-out. I just think the game’s coming a lot easier to him. He’s doing a great job so far.”
Orgeron seems to agree with LaCouture’s assessment. After LSU’s second scrimmage of the spring on Saturday, Orgeron described Lawrence as the defensive player who’s “improved the most” and as someone who is having a great spring.
Compliments aside, Lawrence stayed on message. If he’s playing well, that means the team is better off. And that’s all he wants from himself, and from all of his position-mates.
“It’s all competition,” Lawrence said. “Me, Frank (Herron), Christian, Ed (Alexander), Greg (Gilmore), we’re all competing to make each other better. I’m trying to start and everything, but it’s all to make the team better.”