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What's wrong with Clemson's Trevor Lawrence? 'Zero. Nothing!' says Dabo Swinney

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Clemson quarterback Trevor Lawrence (16) talks to head coach Dabo Swinney during the Tigers' 49-21 rout of Georgia Tech on Sept. 22, 2018, in Atlanta. File/Jon Barash/AP

CLEMSON — Dabo Swinney normally portrays a sunny disposition to the public. He smiles. He cracks jokes. He spits out quirky aphorisms and unspools humorous tales. He does not get angry.

Wednesday evening was a different situation. His brow furrowed, Swinney unleashed a three-minute rant about quarterback Trevor Lawrence and a report that Lawrence had an MRI earlier in the season. Swinney was asked to confirm the report.

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Coach Dabo Swinney was unhappy about reports that Trevor Lawrence had an MRI earlier in the season. File/John Byrum/Sideline Carolina

"No, I'm not confirming any of that," he said. "And I don't want anybody texting me anymore. I had a media guy text me the other night. That's private information. That's private information. If I want anybody to know our medical stuff, I'll tell you. We'll put in on the injury report."

Lawrence was an expected Heisman Trophy contender going into the season, but has performed a bit below expectations in his sophomore campaign. Through five games, he has a 61.8 completion percentage to go along with 1,131 passing yards and five touchdowns against eight interceptions. He's also rushed 22 times for 100 yards and four touchdowns.

The sophomore struggled at times in the team's 21-20 win at North Carolina and finished 18 for 30 for 206 yards and one touchdown. He said it's refreshing that expectations have shifted a bit for the team.

"It's kind of nice now. Everyone says we suck. So we're kind of in the back seat," Lawrence said. "It's nice. We can just go to work and not worry about all the No. 1 expectations and all that."

on Tuesday, Swinney leaned into the recent national narrative surrounding his team, declaring the Tigers back on the "Rest of Y'all bus" after Clemson fell to No. 2 in the AP Top 25 poll, in favor of Alabama.

"I'm glad that we've got people that have an opinion on Clemson," he said Tuesday. "That's great. That means we matter. Our program matters. It's good that people are talking about Clemson, good or bad."

Swinney's tone changed less than 48 hours later. The subject of Lawrence's health — and internal team medical dealings — represented a breaking point.

"I tell y'all the truth," Swinney said, his normally deep voice getting higher. "I try to be transparent and honest. If there's something wrong with him I would let people know. There's nothing wrong with him. Zero. Nothing!"

Swinney did note that Lawrence suffered a bruise during the Texas A&M game on Sept. 2, and that players receive MRIs often, but did not directly confirm that Lawrence had an MRI.

He chalked up the situation to the lack of drama surrounding his team, and the need for media to manufacture some. 

"It drives me crazy," Swinney said. "There's no drama on our team, so we just want to create some. Oh, Trevor missed a throw, he must be hurt. No. He's human. He's. Human. Alright? So here's what I'm confirming: Trevor Lawrence is a great football player, and a great leader, and there ain't nothing wrong with him."

Tanner Muse update

Safety Tanner Muse suffered a strained hamstring against North Carolina and left the game early. Swinney downplayed the injury and noted that Muse has practiced this week. Swinney expects Muse to suit up Saturday against Florida State.

Follow Joshua Needelman on Twitter at @joshneedelman.

Joshua Needelman covers Clemson for The Post and Courier. He's a Long Island, N.Y., native and a University of Maryland alum. He's won national and state awards in sports and feature writing, and for reasons unclear he still roots for the New York Knicks.

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