Clemson quarterback Trevor Lawrence will not be able to play next week against Notre Dame, coach Dabo Swinney said Saturday.
Lawrence was tested for COVID-19 on Wednesday and the school announced on Thursday he tested positive, meaning he must isolate for a minimum of 10 days per ACC medical advisory group protocols.
As part of the return-to-play protocols, Lawrence has to pass a series of cardiac exams, and Swinney said going through all the protocols would not allow him to be back in time for next Saturday.
With Lawrence out on Saturday, freshman quarterback D.J. Uiagalelei went 30-of-41 for 342 yards with two touchdowns in No. 1 Clemson’s 34-28 victory over visiting Boston College. He will get the start again against the fourth-ranked Fighting Irish.
“He’s doing great,” Swinney said of Lawrence. “[He] Zoomed the team last night, [and I] talked to him this morning, feels like he can play today. He’s doing well, but obviously there’s protocol. He will be out in time to play [against Notre Dame], but you have the cardiac part of it.
“You have to ramp back up, even if he feels great, he could probably go play, he’s not allowed to do that simply because of the protocols. They’re put in place to make sure he could return to play safely. You have 10 days, and then you have the cardiac part, so he won’t be able to get through that in time to play next week.”
Swinney said Lawrence is scheduled to finish his isolation either Thursday or Friday, and when he does that, he will be able to return to the team. The plan is for him to travel to South Bend, Indiana, where he can try to help his teammates from the sideline.
“He’ll be in every meeting, we can Zoom him into practice, so he can stay engaged and make his comments and things like that to support those guys, and participate in traveling with us as well,” Swinney said. “Obviously can’t play, but he can still make a contribution with his presence, his encouragement and his eyes, but he can be in every meeting, he can be in every practice. … He’ll do everything he can via Zoom and as soon as they let him come back over here, he’ll start the cardiac piece. There’s just protocols for a reason; we want to make sure when you do come back you do it the safest possible way.”
Offensive coordinator Tony Elliott said the offensive plan did not change without Lawrence in the win over Boston College, and it won’t change next week against Notre Dame.
“The standard doesn’t change,” Elliott said. “Nobody’s going to feel sorry for us. We’ve all got to be ready. It will be the same situation. Now [Uiagalelei has] got some experience, not going to ask him to go out there and do anything other than just be yourself, manage the plan and make the plays that are there.”
Uiagalelei said his approach won’t change, either, even though he knows a week in advance that he’ll be starting against Notre Dame.
“Same mindset as this week. I’ll start watching some film tomorrow of Notre Dame,” Uiagalelei said. “I don’t know too much about them other than they’re a really great team, so just trying to get my mind right, get on my keys and know the game plan inside and out. It was cool to start my first game in college today. It was sort of crazy waking up and thinking, ‘Hey, I’m going to start today.’ But having a game under my belt going into Notre Dame is definitely going to help.”
ESPN’s David M. Hale contributed to this report.