MORGANTOWN, W.Va. - Josh Lambert has been at West Virginia for just over a year now and has never looked back at his decision to leave the flatlands of Texas for the mountains so far away.
Not that it would do him any good to look back, at least literally.
"In Texas you can basically look in the distance and see where you're going to end up,'' Lambert said of the largely level landscape that includes the Dallas suburb of Garland, where he grew up. "You come here and you can't see around the corner.''
But while the never-ceasing hills and mountains of West Virginia might make things more bunched up and crowded, that's not the case with the kicking competition Lambert is encountering these days. No matter how far he looks and in almost any direction, there just isn't any competition. The redshirt freshman had the job sewn up by default.
When West Virginia's preseason camp began just over a week ago, Lambert was the only kicker on the roster. Dana Holgorsen had the option of bringing 105 players to camp and filled 102 of those spots. But apparently he felt so good about Lambert as his kicker that he didn't even bother to provide him with any competition.
If that was a confidence boost or even a curiosity to the young kicker, however, he's not saying.
"I didn't know what the reason was for me being the only [kicker],'' Lambert said Friday. "But my job's the same whether it's just me, or me and 10 other kids.''
Still, didn't it have to make him feel just a tad bit good about himself?
"Yes,'' Lambert said. "But I still haven't accomplished anything here. It's still about going out there and doing what I'm supposed to do.''
Indeed, while Holgorsen and special teams coach Joe DeForest might seem to have confidence in the 6-foot-1, 199-pound Lambert, the fact of the matter is he remains a giant question mark to most. West Virginia hasn't had to look for a place-kicker in four years while Tyler Bitancurt handled the job. Yes, they brought in Corey Smith for the last two seasons, but he never displaced Bitancurt.
Now, though, the slate is clean. There's not a kicker on the roster who has ever scored a college point or even attempted to do so. But that the weight of the responsibilities now rests squarely and solely with Lambert doesn't seem to bother him at all.