ATHENS — Alabama figures to be the toughest defense Greyson Lambert has faced, especially its front seven. How Lambert handles the inevitable pressure from that defense could decide the game.
When it comes to the pressure of the game itself, however, Lambert has plenty of experience to lean on. For one thing he’s already played well in a major home game at Georgia: Two weeks ago. Yes, South Carolina isn’t a good defense or team, but Lambert knew there was pressure on him to perform, and his emotion during the game showed he knew it was big.
Lambert can also lean on his experience last season at Virginia.
In his first month as the starter, Lambert played No. 7 UCLA and Louisville at home, then at BYU. Then in November he took the Cavaliers into Georgia Tech and Florida State, and at Virginia Tech in the final game of the season.
His performances were indeed spotty. He threw two pick-sixes against UCLA. He also threw two interceptions in the loss at Georgia Tech.
But Lambert did well at Florida State, passing for 220 yards and three touchdowns, with just one interception. (He was sacked four times.)
The highest-ranked pass defense that Lambert faced last year was Louisville, which finished the season ranked 17th nationally by giving up 6.3 yards per pass attempt. Lambert had 162 passing yards, one touchdown and one interception in a win over Louisville and its defensive coordinator, Todd Grantham.
Georgia coach Mark Richt, who didn’t let Lambert meet with the media this week, shrugged off a question about his quarterback playing on a bigger stage.
“He had good focus (this week). Staying on top of it in the meetings,” Richt said. “He’s very attentive and always taking good notes. You see it go from the meeting room to the practice field as far as knowing what to do and making the right calls. Certainly not perfect, but you could tell he’s locked in, and you appreciate that. But you know those other guys are pretty locked in too. But (Lambert) understands how to prepare.”