New Roles for Virginia Tech’s Quarterbacks

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Dwayne Lawson
Dwayne Lawson

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.”

Beamer did note that Lawson’s role will change this week, as will the roles of Brenden Motley and Chris Durkin.

“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.”

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30 Responses You are logged in as Test

  1. The only real question is whether or
    not the coaches want to redshirt Lawson.
    But it appears the staff had a package
    prepared for him for OSU. It’s
    apparent that the decision to play the
    true freshman was made.
    So why not play all three on Saturday,
    And play all three as much as possible
    given the game situations vs. Purdue
    and ECU.
    I believe that they will all play over the
    next few weeks. Why not? A real
    opportunity has arisen to really see
    what we have. They are all certainly
    good enough to play vs. our next three
    opponents.

  2. Coach Beamer never has back up QB developed. Never wants to take a chance on conflict. He wants and loves backups everywhere else. If you tell the team and QB who is starter and that someone else may get some playing time, there is no conflict. He just doesn’t want that to be a distraction, but I truly believe that since QB is the most important player on field , you had better develop more than one with game experience. The trick is knowing when to put them in the game.

  3. IMHO all goes back to getting a better O line, so we won’t have these problems. Also IMO Motley will have to be the guy on a short week, then see who will step up for next Sat

  4. Motley may surprise everyone … tech coaches have done very little to develop him, including the still mysterious non-participation in practice last August (2014).

    Butch Jones didn’t think to much of Aaron Dobson either until he was forced to move him from 3rd string to starter … Motley has a similar skill set.

  5. Does anyone remember in 1998 when the starting quarterback went down? They took a defensive back, Nick Sorenson, and made him a quarterback. Of course we lost to Temple but beat a pretty good BC team on ESPN. If I remember correctly that is the only game Sorenson lost. The D and special teams played lights out. That’ll have to happen regardless who the QB is until Brewer returns (if/when — injuries always seem to take longer to heal than expected). When Edmonds broke his collarbone in the UNC game he never really recovered from that last season.

    1. I believe Nick drove us down field and hit Ricky Hall maybe in the chest with a pass in the end zone and he dropped it….Nick got blamed for the loss. Team Loss. I’m a huge Sorenson fan though

    2. 1998… the year we somehow lost three games that we led by 17 (Temple), 18 (Syracuse – I was there – ugh!), and 22 (UVA),

      Sorenson was a dropped pass in the endzone on third down, from beating Temple.

  6. Defenses are just going to stack the box and dare us to throw. I think we’re really going to have a tough time putting up points.

      1. Amen. Get some semblance of a play action threat. I think we will be Ok, for the next 3 weeks and even when Pitt comes to town, provided our D can get its issues straightened out. After that we will see.

    1. I’ll bet you a turkey leg that we don’t
      trouble scoring points. I see way more
      talent on this offense developing. Would
      like to see another WR step up with Cam, Isaiah and Bucky.

  7. We pulled the redshirt off of Tyrod in the LSU disaster and now he starts for the Bills. Put two backs in for Max Protect with Lawson and develop him as a short game passer in the next four games. The future is now. I saw enough of Motley Monday night. What would Babs say?

        1. …please, oh PLEASE let’s not shackle our new AD with the moniker “babs”!!!

          I know many on here have to have cutsey nicknames for everything and everyone, but let’s PLEASE not hang a woman’s nickname on our AD. His job is hard enough as is!

          Oh, and WHY would we consult the Athletic Director about who plays. or doesn’t play,on our football team?

  8. Motley has to be starter for next game, as others gain reps but critical we gave multiple QB packages for the offense. Suspect CSL will be getting his office cot back out again to sleep there this week.

    Believe Furman is one of the first tryouts for our new QBs.

  9. Sounds like we had no real concrete plan if Brewer ever got injured. Would think the short week would solidify Motley as the next guy up but this article says different.

    1. I’m sure he’ll start against Furman, but it wouldn’t surprise me to see the other guys play, too.

    2. If Brewer and Motley QB1 and 1a as pocket and read option, then Ford and Durkin were 2 and 2a, respectively. Lawson as the wild card. Ford left 3 months ago, but I wouldn’t expect that too much development could have occurred in that time- thats 15 practices at most?

      Ford passed 217 yds and 2 scores for Lackawanna on Saturday. He probably would grow up a lot faster than Lawson, given two Springs and a Fall- seeing what happened to Brewer after the last OSU game, he should have stuck around. He might play against VT if he transfers to Pitt next year.

      1. Maybe Ford didn’t want to end up injured. Dude wasn’t exactly putting on weight. And a statue QB with our OL is a recipe for disaster.

    3. Forth time since Bryan Randall in 2004 we’ve had a year w/ no real backup, it’s finally, finally caught up with us. Good luck to Motley although I’ve been skeptical about all “co-number ones” stuff, just Beamer encouraging competition I think. He did throw a couple passes near the end of the game which looked a little more fluid and natural, dare I hope?

  10. With only 3 days of practice, they almost have to start Motley. Best case is that he wows (which I sadly doubt) and keeps the job until brewer returns. Or more than likely he is slightly below avg which opens the door for a platoon with Lawson or the coaches go with Lawson outright

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