LAFAYETTE — Watch the practice routines of Javone Lawson during the week, and what emerges is a scripted preview of the performance you see from the Louisiana-Lafayette wide receiver on game day.
Offensive coordinator Jay Johnson provides testimony to Lawson’s attention to detail during workouts, which Johnson says has helped transform the Cajuns’ senior into one of the best receivers in the Sun Belt Conference.
“That’s probably the most impressive thing about Javone. It’s what you see out there on the practice field from him. He is probably the best practice player we have on this team,” Johnson said.
“He practices at such a high effort level — in the way he runs his routes, the way he looks the ball in — and that’s why he’s been so successful over there in the stadium.”
Statistically Lawson, a senior from New Orleans, began the season with 1,487 ULL reception yards. After four games this year, Lawson has caught 16 for 161, as part of an 11-player receivers’ rotation.
Since his selection to the preseason All-SBC team, Lawson said he doesn’t know for certain if defenses are playing him differently. But the topic hasn’t concerned him.
“Maybe they’re rolling the coverage a little bit, but that’s something for the coaches to work out,” Lawson said. “I just have to go out there and play my game.”
Last season, Lawson averaged slightly less than 100 yards per game, but those numbers have fallen this year to about 40 per contest.
Johnson said that’s probably because the Cajuns have reduced the number of snaps for each receiver, not to mention and the plays ULL calls when Lawson is in the game.
“We’ve had some opportunities to get him the ball, and we missed him earlier in the season, or maybe he didn’t connect with the quarterback,” Johnson said.
Last season, Lawson handled most of the receiving load. But this year’s attempt to roll receivers in and out isn’t a major concern.
“I just have to worry about our offense and what we’re trying to accomplish. The coaches are rotating guys and putting them in the places,” Lawson said. “We’re rotating often, and I feel it helps me and it helps my teammates.”
ULL’s passing game was perhaps disrupted when quarterback Blaine Gautier broke bones in his throwing hand against FIU. Terrance Broadway, a former Capitol star, figures to make his first start at 4 p.m. Saturday when the Cajuns host Tulane, and perhaps for the rest of the season.
Lawson said he doesn’t expect much difference from Broadway.
“Terrance is a real good player who can come in and do the same things Blaine does. As you saw (against FIU), Terrance is a great player,” Lawson said. “The receivers all worked hard this summer with Blaine and Terrance. We work for each other, so I don’t think losing Blaine can’t hurt me or the team in any way.”
Lawson, who played at Helen Cox on New Orleans’ west bank, said the Tulane game is important for him and the Cajuns.
“It’s a big game for me, because it’s my hometown (team),” Lawson said. “As far as Tulane, a couple of my teachers from high school wanted me to go over to Tulane and play for them.”
The last time Lawson performed in a game with New Orleans ties, it happened at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome. He caught passes totaling 193 yards in ULL’s victory over San Diego State in the New Orleans Bowl.
Tulane is 0-4 this year, but the Green Wave’s record doesn’t really matter, Lawson said.
“It’s the next game for us and that makes it the most important game,” said Lawson. “It’s at home and one of our goals is not losing a home game.”
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