ATHENS — Greyson Lambert is Georgia’s quarterback now, but he hasn’t forgotten his friends at Virginia. He went back and re-watched his old team nearly beat Notre Dame, plans to watch it play Friday night against Boise State, and is in “constant communication” with quarterback Matt Johns.
The two remain good friends, despite the quarterback competition they went through. Johns, off to a good start himself this year, congratulated Lambert for not only breaking the NCAA completion record, but another stat he knew Lambert would like.
“He just said: ‘You finally got that 300-yard game,'” said Lambert, whose high at Virginia was 261. “We always are talking with each other, and he was happy for me, and I’m definitely always happy for him.”
People in Virginia are still keeping an eye on Lambert too. Last Saturday, as his historic game was unfolding, the reaction among Virginia and ACC watchers could be summed up thusly: Where was this last year?
“It’s not like these types of performances weren’t in me last year. It’s just a lot has to happen,” Lambert said. “Like coach (Mark) Richt’s been saying, for the O-line to do their job the way they did it and kind of dominate the line of scrimmage. And for there not to be just a drop. A lot of stuff has to happen. It’s not like I did something spectacular. The whole offense did something spectacular that game, that doesn’t just really always happen. It was a full offensive effort to get that stat.”
So is Lambert just a different quarterback than he was at Virginia? Did Richt and offensive coordinator/quarterbacks coach Brian Schottenheimer do a massive makeover since his arrival on July 13? Not really, from what it sounds like.
Regarding his mechanics, Lambert said there were only “little tweaks here and there” since his Virginia days. Mostly, he had to work on taking snaps under center, since Virginia was so shotgun-oriented. So Lambert has put in a lot of work refining his drops, footwork and ball-handling that comes with taking snaps under center.
Schottenheimer also worked with him on getting more legs into his throws. Lambert described it as “a little more bounce with my hitches.”
Otherwise, he’s the same quarterback he was last year. So any improvement is just the natural progression that might come with being a second-year starter.
The big knock on his last season at Virginia was interceptions, 11 of them, but he has zero in three games at Georgia. (Though when that was cited on Tuesday, Lambert pointed out that he should have one, but a Vanderbilt safety dropped the ball.) Still, zero interceptions is what the stats say.
“I guess it just comes from experience and trust what I see,” Lambert said. “Being able to have that experience from last year has definitely helped me with situational football, knowing in this situation we’re at the 25-yard line, if it’s not there don’t try to force anything, at least get three points. You always wanna end in a kick, whether it be a punt, a field goal of an extra point.”
Lambert spoke on the same day that two other SEC programs, Auburn and South Carolina, benched their starting quarterbacks. Lambert could sympathize.
“It’s happened to me,” Lambert said, chuckling. “I’ve been through it. Every day is a grind to hold that spot. and you’re fighting for your job every day no matter what kind of game you have. It all can change in a heartbeat. So like I said, you’ve just gotta take every day one day at a time.”