Since 2012, two things have been true about the Virginia Cavaliers football program: they have failed to make the postseason and they have had a preposterous amount of turnover at the quarterback position. With the news that Greyson Lambert will be transferring as a graduate transfer for next fall, it seems that streak will stay alive in 2015 for the Cavs.
Lambert, a redshirt junior with two years of eligibility remaining, started nine games for Virginia last season and was one of four team captains. He completed 59 percent of his passes in 2014 for 1,632 yards with 10 touchdowns and 11 interceptions while rushing for two scores as well. The 6-foot-5, 220-pound pocket passer was touted as the answer to Virginia’s search for stability at the quarterback position prior to last season, but he struggled to maintain his grip on the job during the course of the year, and was even benched in the season opener against the UCLA Bruins.
Matt Johns pushed Lambert for playing time throughout last season, finishing the year completing 55 percent of his passes for 1,109 yards with eight touchdowns and five interceptions. During the spring, Johns showed better progress than Lambert did and came out of the practice sessions as the No. 1 quarterback in a battle for the top spot that head coach Mike London said “wasn’t close.”
Now, Lambert leaves Virginia as the seventh quarterback since 2012 and third straight incumbent starter to leave the program. 2012 starter Michael Rocco, 2013 starter David Watford, Ross Methney, Phillip Sims, Michael Strauss, and earlier this week Corwin Cutler have all left UVa for new opportunities. The inconsistent and often ineffective Cavalier offense can likely be traced back pretty directly to this tumultuous situation at quarterback.
London and his staff have to hope that Johns can step up and be a steadying force for the offense in 2015. Virginia has been able to recruit some excellent talent in recent years to other positions on the team, but the lack of leadership and production from under center has sunk the team year in and year out. With Lambert’s departure, the team is running short on options behind Johns, so they must count on still-unproven quarterback to lead the way.
If Johns proves to be yet another bust in this conga-line of quarterback succession at Virginia, look for London and company to be out of a job this December.