ATHENS, Ga.—Georgia’s Greyson Lambert is distinguished by several characteristics; namely, he is simply the team’s starting quarterback—a decision which was based solely on his performance during fall camp, beating out competition which had each been part of the program for at least two years. In addition, physically, he is tall—in fact, at 6-foot-5, he’s the tallest Bulldog quarterback ever to see playing time.
Speaking to the media this week after a near-flawless passing performance against Louisiana at Monroe (ULM), and prior to Georgia’s next game at Vanderbilt, Lambert also exhibited, perhaps above all, he is a team player.
When asked what the offense could improve upon from its outing last Saturday, Lambert pointed to Georgia’s first offensive possession of the second half after the Warhawks, who had trailed 35-0 late in the second quarter, scored consecutive touchdowns to cut their deficit to 21 points. On a drive that was “largely my fault,” according to Lambert, the Bulldogs moved the ball just 12 yards in five plays before being forced to punt.
As far as what Lambert was pleased with regarding the offense, there was no mention of his 8-of-12 passing performance for 141 yards, two touchdowns and no interceptions, but rather the teammates that surrounded him, and the quarterback who backs him up.
“The offensive line opened up holes, and protected me and Brice,” replied Lambert, mentioning No. 2 quarterback Brice Ramsey, who played for one offensive series. “The receivers made plays when their number was called. … Our stable of running backs are amazing—all of them—all four, five, six, seven, or eight of them,” he humorously overstated, indicating Georgia’s tremendous depth at the position.
Lambert was asked if he had any desire to pass much more—really open the Bulldogs’ passing game up—than the mere dozen passes he attempted last week. The graduate from Virginia, who attempted an average of more than 35 passes during a four-game stretch last season for the Cavaliers, answered, “As long as we get a win, I don’t care how we do it.”
Although being somewhat limited in the number of passes he threw against ULM, from an efficiency standout, Lambert excelled. Notably, of the 52 Bulldog quarterbacks who started at least one game since the program implemented a modernized, drop-back quarterback passing attack in 1945, Lambert’s 220.37 passing efficiency rating is the fourth-best resulting in a first start at Georgia.
The top 10 passer ratings by a UGA quarterback in their first start (completions-attempts-yards-TDs-interceptions), followed by Georgia’s game result:
- 260.25- Quincy Carter, ’98 Kent St. (12-16-235-3-0), Won 56-3
- 236.57- D.J. Shockley, ’05 Boise St. (16-24-289-5-0), Won 48-13
- 233.08- David Dukes, ’84 Vandy (9-13-175-2-0), Won 62-35
- 220.37- Greyson Lambert, ’15 ULM (8-12-141-2-0), Won 51-14
- 204.97- Buck Belue, ’79 Ole Miss (8-12-119-2-0), Won 24-21
- 185.77- Dicky Clark, ’74 Oregon St. (5-7-56-1-0), Won 48-35
- 177.72- David Greene, ’01 Arkansas St. (21-29-285-2-0), Won 45-17
- 170.53- Cory Phillips, ’00 Kentucky (20-38-400-4-1), Won 34-30
- 170.27- Zeke Bratkowski, ’51 G. Washington (4-6-74-0-0), Won 33-0
- 152.14- Mike Bobo, ’95 S. Carolina (15-28-250-2-0), Won 42-23
Still, Lambert realizes it’s going to be rather difficult to be as efficient at Vanderbilt.
The Commodores’ second-year head coach, Derek Mason, is in his first season as also the team’s defensive coordinator. As of the middle of this week, Lambert mentioned he had studied “five or six” of Vanderbilt’s games from a year ago, along with their season opener last week—a 14-12 loss to Western Kentucky—and the quarterback revealed the Commodores apply pressure to the passer on first and second down about 15 percent more than they did in 2014.
Also defensively, Vanderbilt returns all 11 starters from a year ago, and an experienced secondary which remarkably returns six defensive backs who started at least four games last season. The Commodores might have lost their first game, but their defense shined against a Western Kentucky offense which ranked fourth in the country in 2014 in total offense (534.6 yards per game). The Hilltoppers, which returned most of their offensive fire power from last season, were limited last week to 247 total yards, forced to punt 10 times, and just 2 of 11 converting on third down.
Faced with stiffer competition than a week ago, and on the road, Lambert said the offense would perhaps “try silent cadences” at Vanderbilt, but it was going to have the same mindset as it did against ULM. “We’re just worried about Georgia, and playing our game,” he added.
Finally, Lambert was asked what he did best as Georgia’s starting quarterback and, again, and not surprisingly, he spoke more of the talent around him.
“When you got guys [on offense] like we have, my goal is just getting them in the best play possible, and get the ball in their hands,” Lambert said. “…just helping the team win in any way possible.”
Lambert is not only efficient on the field, but evidently eloquent with his words off of it. The day after the quarterback was interviewed, head coach Mark Richt mentioned he had heard Lambert’s exchange with the media, admiring his “team-player” mindset.
“I thought he was right on with the responsibility he has at quarterback: to help the team get into the end zone,” Richt said of Lambert. “And, not really worry about how we get it done… Let’s just get it done.”
No matter how, or how efficient, Richt and his new starting quarterback, the modest Lambert, will look to “just get it done” for the second time in as many tries this Saturday in Nashville.