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CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. – Quarterback Greyson Lambert's tenure as the face of Virginia football didn't even last until halftime of the season-opener. He was replaced by Matt Johns, and Johns played the entire second half.
Virginia coach Mike London insists there's no quarterback controversy, but said who starts will be a game-day decision. The coach said both quarterbacks will play on Saturday when the Cavaliers (0-1) host Richmond (1-0) hoping to end a 10-game losing streak.
London also is employing a higher accountability standard this season for players that make mistakes.
In Virginia's opening 28-20 loss to No. 7 UCLA, an offensive lineman that jumped offsides was pulled from the game, and so was a wide receiver that lined up incorrectly, leading to a formation penalty.
The most noticeable hook, though, came for Lambert after an interception that was returned for a touchdown. It was UCLA's third defensive touchdown of the second quarter, and Lambert's last play.
"You evaluate players on what they do and how they do and how they execute what's being asked," London said Monday, adding that increased accountability is something his players wanted. "That's the basic premise on what we talk about in terms of who will play and how they'll play and when they'll play."
After finishing 4-8 in 2012 and 2-10 last season, there's not much room for more losing.
"Two and 10 wasn't good enough last year," London said. "Collectively, as a senior-led group, having the standards of accountability and responsibility of something is what they want, we want, I want."
Lambert completed his first eight attempts against the Bruins, and his ninth was tipped from behind by a lineman, fluttered into the air and was intercepted and returned for a TD by Ishmael Adams.
Later, he hit Kyle Dockins for a third-down conversion in UCLA territory, but Dockins fumbled the ball away, Randall Goforth scooped it up and sprinted 75 yards down the sideline for the touchdown.
Finally, just 1:35 later, Eric Kendricks intercepted Lambert on a terrible throw and brought it 37 yards for the touchdown, giving the Bruins three defensive scores in just over 12 minutes.
Lambert finished 16 for 23 for 112 yards. Johns was 13-22 for 154 yards with two touchdowns.
It's a more strict London than his team knew previously, but they have adjusted.
"I think it actually makes us better," senior cornerback Brandon Phelps said. "When we make a mistake, it's not ok. It needs to be corrected. It's only going to make us better. Being hard on us and making sure we do everything perfect is just going to make us a better team."
Running back Kevin Parks was among the team leaders that told London they support getting harsh.
"It's a new year and we know what we have to do to win games," he said.
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