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Auburn DL Carl Lawson's long-term status unknown

Michael Niziolek

mniziolek@ledger-enquirer.com

Louisville quarterback Lamar Jackson (8) runs against Auburn defensive lineman Carl Lawson (55) during the first half of an NCAA college football game, Saturday, Sept. 5, 2015, in Atlanta. (AP Photo/Mike Stewart)
Louisville quarterback Lamar Jackson (8) runs against Auburn defensive lineman Carl Lawson (55) during the first half of an NCAA college football game, Saturday, Sept. 5, 2015, in Atlanta. (AP Photo/Mike Stewart)

Auburn coach Gus Malzahn addressed his team’s struggles straight-on in his post-game press conference following a 45-21 loss to LSU.

He was less clear on the status of defensive lineman Carl Lawson.

The defense has struggled to fill the void left by the 6-foot-2, 257-pound sophomore. Maurice Swain started in Lawson’s place Saturday, but Auburn didn’t generate any kind of pass rush, and allowed 411 yards rushing.

Malzahn previously described Lawson as “day-to-day" with a hip injury. He was on crutches last weekend watching his team narrowly avoid an upset to Jacksonville State.

Lawson didn’t even travel with the team to Baton Rouge.

“It was late in the week,” Malzahn said, of the decision. “He wasn’t going to play, so he wasn’t going to travel. We will get back, and see.”

Asked if Lawson’s injury was worse than expected, Malzahn again declined to give any specifics.

“We are still taking it day by day, week by week,” Malzahn said. “When we get back next week, we will reassess and maybe I will have some more information for you.”

Lawson’s defensive teammates are also in the dark about his long term status.

“I’m not sure,” Auburn defensive back Jonathan Jones said. “I haven’t heard anything, definitely we want him back.”

Before injuring his hip against Louisville, Lawson showed how dominating he can be with four tackles, two for a loss, and sack in limited action. His presence was felt at the line on nearly every one of the Cardinals' snaps in the first quarter.

It was his first appearance since playing in 14 games as a true freshman.

He missed the entire 2014 season after undergoing knee surgery to repair a torn ACL in the offseason.

"We feel like we're a deep on the defensive line, so it's next guy up," linebacker Kris Frost said. "We have to do a better job of filling gaps. All of us collectively have to do a better job."

Michael Niziolek covers Auburn football for the Columbus Ledger-Enquirer. Email him at mniziolek@ledger-enquirer.com or follow him on Twitter, Facebook or Google+

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