Lambert’s time to shine
Redshirt sophomore Greyson Lambert enters training camp as Virginia’s top quarterback after supplanting last year’s starter, David Watford, during spring practice. Lambert, who is 6-feet-5, drew raves for his improved leadership and decision-making to go along with an already powerful right arm. It’s time to deliver on that promise. Watford will compete to regain his job when practice begins, but Coach Mike London has made it clear this is Lambert’s job to lose. Can he be the stable signal caller this program has been in search of for years?
After years of hype in Virginia Beach, five star recruits Quin Blanding and Andrew Brown are both on campus and could contribute right away to a defense that is expected to be the strength of this year’s team. Blanding likely will spend August learning from senior Anthony Harris, and London indicated there’s a good chance he will start over senior Brandon Phelps (Damascus High) at safety. Brown suffered a turf toe injury in spring practice, but defensive coordinator Jon Tenuta expects him to have an instant impact at defensive tackle.
Trouble in the trenches
The Cavaliers bring back the ACC’s leading returning rusher in senior Kevin Parks (1,031 yards last season). But any offensive progress largely will depend on how quickly the offensive line comes together. Senior Jay Whitmire (T.C. Williams), the projected starting left tackle, likely will miss the start of the season due to back issues and the Cavaliers already had to replace Morgan Moses and Luke Bowanko, both in NFL training camps. Sophomores Sadiq Olanrewaju (left tackle), Eric Tetlow (center) and Eric Smith (right tackle) are talented but mostly untested. If veterans Conner Davis, Ross Burbank and Cody Wallace improve on past performances, it would go a long way toward solving Virginia’s issues.