Virginia Tech did not enter the 2015 season with the definite intention of redshirting Dwayne Lawson.
“Not really, no,” Frank Beamer said. “He’s got a couple of packages going. We talked about him playing some even in the Ohio State game, but we were concerned it might be a little too much too soon.”
That doesn’t mean that Lawson will definitely play in 2015. However, it’s certainly more likely than it was before Michael Brewer’s injury against the Buckeyes.
Lawson was a 4-star, top 200 quarterback recruit from the state of Florida who signed with the Hokies in February after decommiting from Miami. He is the highest ranked quarterback Tech has signed since Tyrod Taylor way back in 2007.
Blessed with a big arm and good athleticism, Lawson isn’t your typical true freshman. In fact, he turned 20 years old in July. Nevertheless, he’s still raw as a football player. He showed flashes in Tech’s first scrimmage of August, but struggled when the yellow jersey was taken off in the second scrimmage.
When deciding whether or not to play Lawson, the coaching staff has to project how much he’ll develop as a passer in the next three weeks. Though it’s ideal to win non-conference matchups with Furman, Purdue and East Carolina, Tech’s real schedule begins on October 3 when Pitt comes to town for the first ACC game.
Beamer didn’t say whether or not Lawson will play this week against Furman.
“Well, let’s practice this week. But he’s a talented guy, I’ll say that. A smart guy.”
“Brenden will step in at quarterback, and Chris Durkin will back up,” the head man said. “Lawson will get more reps. We’ll kind of see where this thing goes.”
While it’s very likely that Motley will start this Saturday against Furman, that last sentence indicates that the job is at least somewhat open.
“All of them in their own way have some tremendous pluses,” Beamer said. “You just don’t have a lot of reps [for all three guys]. That’s going to be the challenge for our staff in a short week.”
Tech did not practice on Tuesday, as they were recuperating from the Ohio State game. They’ll have just three days of practice to rep all three quarterbacks. They’ll have to make a decision somewhat soon, because you can’t go a full season repping three quarterbacks with the #1 offense.
“This is a tremendously important week,” Beamer said, stating the obvious.
Preparing as if you’re going to play is a lot different from preparing as if you’re going to be the backup. Just ask Mark Leal, who wasn’t prepared when he stepped on the field in the Sun Bowl to replace Logan Thomas.
It’s likely that none of the three quarterbacks are particularly advanced from a passing perspective. Michael Brewer is currently #23 in the country in passing efficiency, and most of the 22 guys ahead of him played low level competition in the opening week. Expecting Motley, Durkin or Lawson to execute at a very high level in the passing game right out of the gate would be unfair.
For this season to go the way the Hokies want it to go, we’ll need to see tremendous improvement in the passing game from Tech’s new starter, whoever he may be. All three guys are mobile, so therefore it’s most likely that the Hokies will go with whichever player gives them the best chance to move the ball through the air.
“It will be an interesting week to see how he (Lawson) handles things,” Beamer said. “And it will be interesting to see how Motley and Durkin handle things. They are in a different situation now than they’ve ever been in.”