April 12, 2014

Spring Game: Defense shows out

The time for Greyson Lambert appears to have arrived as UVa's quarterback.

The redshirt sophomore, while not named the starter, threw the only two touchdown passes on a tough day for Virginia's injury-depleted offense in the annual Spring Game.

He also had a great halftime, as it was announced that he would be one of the team's four captains as voted on by his teammates.

There's still evaluating to do, head coach Mike London said Saturday of the outcome of Lambert's battle for the quarterback job against incumbent David Watford and Matt Johns. But London also placed Lambert on his 13-team leadership council while Watford's name was conspicuously not included.

"We'll make that decision early. We'll make that decision soon," London said of the quarterback position, adding that he chooses the leadership council members based on their play on the field, their work in the classroom and community, and that Watford had fallen short of expectations.

Watford declined to reveal what he'd done to incur his coach's ire.

Lambert finished 18-for-31 for 220 yards with two interceptions and a sack in the game. His touchdown passes covered 22 yards to Andre Levrone, a pass that was underthrown, forcing Levrone to wrestle it away from a defensive back, and 16 yards to Kyle Dockins, who split two defenders at the goal line.

The drive was necessary for everyone, even the defense, linebacker Henry Coley (a team captain who had 12 tackles) said.

"You just don't want all three-and-outs, three-and-outs all the time. That's makes it easy," Coley added. "At the end of the day, we're all still a team, and if the offense is progressing, then we're progressing as a team and that's what we want."

The key to that, it would seem, is Lambert, who said he put too much pressure on himself last year trying not to fail instead of trying to succeed.

"Coming in this year, he had a lot more confidence," Levrone said of Lambert. "Even when the coaches would say something to him, he wouldn't lose his head. He'd be good. He knew what he had to do and what the mission was and he'd be ready to get back out there and accomplish it."

The Cavaliers split the team into Orange (offense) and Blue (defense) because of injuries, mostly on the offensive line, and the defense dominated. It registered four interceptions and nine sacks under the liberal rules that considered it a sack each time the quarterback was touched with the ball in his hands.

Watford finished 4-for-14 passing for 31 yards and two interceptions along with three sacks; Johns was 6-for-19 for 43 yards, also with three sacks.

Ian Frye kicked a pair of field goals, including a 48-yarder, while Alec Vozenilek missed a 54-yard attempt.

Tailback Kevin Parks, who rushed for more than 1,000 yards last season, top TE/WR Jake McGee, and five offensive linemen were among the laundry list of players who all sat out due to injuries.




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