ATHENS – Greyson Lambert, the starting quarterback for the wildly popular Georgia football team, is benefitting from having been on campus less than two months. He still has his privacy.
When Lambert is out, he’s not being recognized, despite being 6-foot-5.
“If they do, they don’t come up and say anything,” Lambert said.
But wouldn’t he rather that change, because that would mean he’s keeping the starting job and Georgia is winning?
“I would love to win ballgames, but I’d love for it to stay that way too,” Lambert said, smiling.
Lambert was speaking after Tuesday’s practice, early in his second week as Georgia’s starter. In a way, it’s still hard to fathom that Lambert was taking his last class at Virginia eight weeks ago, and that this time last year he was the Cavaliers’ starter.
In fact, Lambert spent a good chunk of the weekend communicating with Matt Johns, who replaced him as Virginia’s starting quarterback. The two compared notes on some games around the country, as well as their own.
Lambert’s went well, good enough to hold onto the job for now. Coach Mark Richt said Lambert “played very solid.” He liked how Lambert not only threw the ball (8-for-12 for 141 yards, two touchdowns) but also how he made run checks at the line, didn’t turn the ball over, and led the offense.
Or put another way, how Lambert managed the game. At first, he called that “a bad term.” But then Lambert sort of embraced it.
“As a quarterback, honestly, I feel like we’re supposed to manage the game,” he said. “However we do that, people do it in different ways. Sometimes we’ll spread it out, and sometimes we’ll grand and pound. So however we have to play to win the football game I think that’s our job.”
It was a bit reminiscent of last year, when then-Georgia starter Hutson Mason had to defend his game manager role. And like Mason, Lambert has to deal with the strong-armed Brice Ramsey as the tantalizing backup option.
Lambert has a good arm too, but didn’t have to show it last Saturday.
“Exactly,” Lambert said.
But how does he balance the desire to show people what he can do with the fact that one of the reasons he got the job was his decision-making and accuracy?
“I think all of that stuff will just come with the more games that we play,” Lambert said. “Depending on the defensive scheme and what they do, that’s how we base our gameplan, obviously. If they play this way then maybe they will allow for more balls to go over the top. And if they play this way then maybe a lot of the underneath stuff is open. So it all just depends on what we see and how the gameplan shapes up.
“Everybody wants to throw for 500 (yards) and five touchdowns, but as long as we’re getting the win that’s kind of my job.”
Vanderbilt (0-1), Saturday’s opponent, may be the worst team in the SEC, but its defense offers some measure of a test. Head coach Derek Mason had a reputation as a good defensive coordinator at Stanford, and it was the Commodores’ offense that cost them the game in the 14-12 loss to Western Kentucky.
One point of emphasis for Lambert will be his one sore point last week: Two consecutive batted balls, despite his height. One was understandable, as an oncoming rusher was bearing down. The other came when Lambert was trying to complete a crossing pattern to tight end Jeb Blazevich, but the pass was batted by a 6-foot-2 defensive end who was being blocked by right tackle Kolton Houston.
“I kinda threw it maybe a little side-armed, I don’t know. But I’ve gotta find a way to get it over that guy,” Lambert said.
All in all, however, these have been good days for Lambert. The struggles of the past year at Virginia seem far away, and he’s growing more comfortable at his new home, where he doesn’t feel the pressure to carry the load.
“I’ve thrown it, I think, 38 times, but usually when you’re throwing it that many times it’s for a lot of negative reasons,” Lambert said. “I’m totally fine with winning the ballgame however we can.”