Will Colbey Lamberth take a big step under the new staff?
Unlike other questions we have examined in recent articles, this one does come with a simple answer.
Were we to say “can he” instead of “will he” then sure, he could.
That is why the question is so intentionally phrased.
Can he? Yes. Will he? Who knows.
We thought that last year, under Greg Burns he would.
A system that fits his West Coast style frame, arm talent, and overall game.
A coach he seemingly wanted to play for.
However, that obviously never materialized.
Is that all Colbey’s fault? Absolutely not, plenty of blame and unforeseen issues played into his and the team’s struggles.
That being said, it doesn’t get easier for the senior gunslinger.
He has to adjust to a new staff, and new system, while dealing with the highs and lows of a senior year and being a division one commit (Eastern Kentucky).
Does he seem like a kid capable of all that? Most definitely.
He is no stranger to attention and pressure, having garnered interest at the quarterback position since he was fourteen and fifteen years old.
Potential versus results though, is wherein lies the rub.
Lamberth has all of the physical gifts. It is why he is committed to EKU.
They have never fully manifested themselves on the field is the issue.
This season, they will have too, and can in my estimation.
New Head Coach Jeff Tomlinson is highly aware of what he possesses at the QB spot and plans to cater to it.
He mentioned to me in an earlier interview how he has made adjustments in the past dependent on personnel. Whether that is leaning on a talented running back, a stout defense, or even more than once a QB’s exceptional arm talent.
Tomlinson has not only made adjustments but done so successfully on the offense side at both Creek Wood and Montgomery Central as we discussed.
Moreover, he seems to be well-liked by former and current players alike.
He is the definition of a player’s coach.
So let’s look at the facts.
Lamberth has good mobility and athletic prowess as well as a shotgun of an arm.
He has struggled, however, to quickly grasp a system, and handle large workloads.
Therefore, I would expect coach Tomlinson to take the install process slow, and lean on Lamberth’s clear D1 talent.
I want to be clear, Lamberth does not have a low or even average football IQ. When you sit with him, watch him in practice, or give him a whiteboard, he excels.
He simply has yet to show the ability to adjust to the speed of in-game situations time and again.
Another fact is, that he has rarely been put in an optimal situation.
As a Freshman, he and his parents agreed his best chance was to attend Nashville Christian.
He then as a sophomore, made the decision to come back to Dickson County.
One, to play for Greg Burns, and two because clearly he was not getting optimal playing time and developing at Nashville Christian.
Unfortunately, due to no fault of his, he was declared ineligible for the entirety of that season.
Lamberth entered his junior season with all the potential and hope he could ask for.
The Cougars had a star RB/WR in Clinton Shrader, acquired an eligible transfer RB in Don Dunning, and of course, Lamberth had then had an entire season of practice as well as an offseason to learn the system.
Reality sets in quick though.
Shrader would soon suffer an injury that sidelined him for the rest of the year. The O-Line we quickly determined could not properly protect Lamberth. Then to top it off, because of those two things, the pressure put on Lamberth was immense.
Now again, can he handle it? No doubt in my mind he can. However, that much weight on a sixteen or seventeen-year-old kid, who had not played in a full-speed game situation in over a year, without his best weapon and rarely any protection, is a recipe for failure no matter who you are.
The positives; Lamberth has all that natural ability. Has an understanding now of where and how he needs to grow. Still has weapons like Cade Pilkington who has grown a lot on the gridiron in his own right.
Not to mention, a QB-friendly system, a players coach, and a work ethic unrivaled by many.
Again, can Lamberth take a big step? Absolutely. Do I expect him to? Yes, I do. However, will he? Well, that remains to be seen, and honestly, sits squarely on the shoulders of himself, and his head coach.