Sophomore quarterback Greyson Lambert looks poised to make the first start of his college football career on August 30, when Virginia hosts UCLA at Scott Stadium.
And Lambert admits that prior to this stage in his development as a quarterback, "starter" was a role he wasn't ready for.
"It was definitely something I had to grow into, especially mentally," Lambert told reporters last week at UVa's media day. "Knowledge of the game was a big deal for me, and it's been night and day since stepping on Grounds at UVa and now. The knowledge of the game for me has definitely increased. And that was a big deal for me when it came to stepping on the field and playing."
"Greyson is a very talented quarterback. He can make every throw; he's a big, strong guy," said UVa offensive coordinator Steve Fairchild. "But when we got him in last spring and into last August, he was in no way, shape, or form ready to play the college game. He came from such a basic offense in high school, he was just learning coverages and how to call a play."
Lambert enrolled early at UVa coming out of Wayne County High School in Georgia in January 2012. After participating in spring practice that year, Lambert spent the 2012 season on the sideline while redshirting.
Serving as David Watford's backup last season, Watford threw for 340 yards, with one touchdown and a pair of interceptions, but completed just 44 percent of his passes in seven games off the UVa bench.
Then came this past spring, when UVa head coach Mike London announced the quarterback job had been reopened, following Watford's struggles in 2013. That's when the Cavaliers say things started coming together for Lambert.
"You could see last January, when they came back to school, in his mind he was going to be the starting quarterback, and it was going to be a no-brainer," Fairchild recalled. "And so I guess, if you go out and watch him now, he's a lot more consistent. You'll see him making more plays, throwing the football. You'll see him command the offense."
"Yeah, he had some success last season, when he did get in," said senior tight end Zach Swanson. "But spring ball was when he really, I feel like, took over and took control. And like you said, was given the keys to the car, and he took it."
Lambert was officially listed as the Cavaliers' starter entering camp on the post-spring depth chart released in early May. He took all of the snaps with the first-team offense during open practices last week.
"Prior camps and prior seasons, I might have put too much personal pressure on myself, to try to be perfect every play," Lambert said. "I would say that my mindset since then has just been, just trying to be able to take everything one play at a time, one day at a time. As soon as the play's over, it's over, and we're moving on to the next one."