With the return of college football comes the return of the STL Roundtable, where every Tuesday morning, your STL staff gets together and answers random questions that keep us up at night. Sure, this would probably be better as a podcast, but this will have to do for now. (Sidebar: would y'all listen to a podcast?)
Today's questions is hosted by Tiki. He asks, will Greyson Lambert make it through the season as the starter? If not, who ends up taking snaps?
Brian Leung: It's obviously impossible to predict the future and to see how Lambert performs when there real pads on real opponents. Unfortunately, I haven't made it down to any of training camp, and the Spring Game wasn't broadcast anywhere. So that leaves me with (a) recruiting stats, (b) the 2013 Spring Game, and (c) on and off plays from last season. Not a lot to go off of, but based on what I've seen and read, I have to think yes -- Lambert will make it through the Virginia Tech game (and the BCS Playoffs!) as Virginia's starter.
I suspect that the biggest arguments against would be that Lambert...did not look great during the few snaps he received last year, and if Watford was allegedly as bad as Watford was (a syllogism, I understand), how bad must Lambert have been to still not get the nod, right? But I have a pretty hard time giving too much weight to this given the Hoos' underperforming O Line of last year. I'm frankly not sure it mattered who was taking snaps between Watford and Lambert. And the few snaps that Lambert did take, did anyone expect much of it? How hard must it be to jump in and out of a game like that?
The case for: First, Lambert is a pretty big dude, at 6'5" and 235 pounds. That's three inches and 25 pounds over Watford, and 25 pounds over Matt Johns. That's Tim Tebow size right there. Second, remember his brilliance from the 2013 Spring Game? A couple TD passes and a heck of an arm? I can't wait to see the return of that. Third, he was voted team captain this year as a redshirt sophomore. What a way to set yourself up for a dynasty.
I know the reasons for are a little fluffy, but until we see him in real action, I'm not sure what else to base this off of.
Brian Schwartz: I agree, I feel pretty confident saying that, barring injury, Lambert will start 12 games this (regular!) season.
About a third of that is because I think Greyson will succeed - basically for the fluffy reasons Leung laid out. The offensive system should suit him better than the last couple QBs to attempt it, he has been working hard in the offseason, and has the tools to play quarterback in the ACC.
But, admittedly most of my answer is because of the situation he is in. Sadly, the team isn't built to contend this year, so the staff can and should have plenty of patience with him if (and when) he slumps. The team's troubled history of QB rotations will probably buy him some extra time as well. And there just isn't a super-viable alternative waiting in the wings. Watford had the 2013 season, and it...didn't go well - there's no need to bench Lambert to "see what Watford could do." If Lambert was a disaster, Matt Johns would replace him, but Johns doesn't seem to be a level to step in right away this year unless he had to.
So yeah, I think Lambert somehow makes it through.
Paul Wiley: If Lambert is not the starter at the end of the year, I would put good money on Mike London having already been fired. There is simply no point to supplanting the established starter with an unproven sophomore, only to supplant the sophomore with the original starter. If things take that turn (barring injury, of course), then this program will not have progressed. The positive benchmarks that we've heard London needs to hit won't be met with another QB shuffle, essentially ruining the maturation of two separate QBs.
TikiUVA: The thing is, if Lambert is successful, there's a very good chance that the Hoos exceed expectations. So, conversely, if the Hoos are still terrible, then it's likely that Lambert is struggling. For a sophomore QB with a bad OL, that wouldn't be surprising. But I've got no faith in this coaching staff to stick with him through some troubles. If Lambert isn't successful, I can absolutely see Johns, Watford and maybe even Turtle getting some reps. Marshall too maybe, but for some reason he seems to be the odd man out.
If we're successful this year, then it'll be on Lambert's shoulders. If we're not, then I'd bet Lambert doesn't make it through the season as the starter.
Matt Trogdon: I agree with the consensus here. Lambert should start all 12 games. If not, it's a sign that something has gone badly awry. As far as a back-up, I would lean towards Matt Johns. Fairchild has complimented him in the past and I think there would be style-continuity with Lambert. I think Watford's ship has sailed.
Caroline Darney:Lambert, Lambert, Lambert. I was one of the folks from last year that frequently thought, "I saw that kid kick ass in the spring game...he really can't be worse than what's going on! Get him in the game!" So, I have relatively high (mediocre) expectations for Lambert. I think his biggest issue will be jitters/big stage performance, but if he can get some time in the pocket (OL, I'm looking at you), I think you'll see some impressive stuff.
I believe he will start all of the games, but I also think Johns should be the number one backup. Get someone some game time experience that can contribute down the line.
Also, the name Greyson Lambert is A+ all name team.
TikiUVA: I'm with Caroline on the name thing. Greyson Lambert is a QB's name.
Got a question you want the STL staff to tackle? Let us know! Email Brian Schwartz your burning questions, and we'll see what we can do!