Breaking down why Georgia transfer Greyson Lambert is a scheme-specific fit
There’s no way anyone will confuse me with an unabashed supporter of University of Georgia head coach Mark Richt. Consider me somewhere in the middle of those who want to see him get an early start to his ministry career and the people who believe he can walk on hedges. (Zing! I’ll be here all day…or at least the rest of this article.)
As a real-life Atlantan — I actually prefer the term “ATLien” — and supporter of the Red & Black, I used to wonder how far Richt would go to actually get his program to the elite of the elite.
Despite annually piloting, for my money, the most talented roster in the Southeastern Conference, we’ve seen other coaches come into the fray and outshine this great program — most notably Les Miles, Urban Meyer and, of course, Nick Saban. (And Gary Pinkel, Gus Malzahn and that dude who used to coach Auburn — I can’t even remember his name — and…)
Many will say those aforementioned coaches have consistently blurred the lines between good and evil, but there’s no denying all three have consistently fielded championship-caliber teams.
For Richt, who has certainly displayed an attempt at running a model program — although UGA has seen its share of off-field transgressions — making on-field moves that may be in the best interest of the program have begun to come a lot more than he’s been given credit for.
While he was once criticised for having a buddy system with his coaching staff, which included hanging onto close friend Willie Martinez as defensive coordinator a couple of seasons too long, that sentiment has all but disappeared after the apparent ousting Martinez’s replacement Todd Grantham.
While many turned their noses up at just the thought, especially when it was rumored that the ‘Dawgs may have had interest in Notre Dame graduate transfer Everett Golson, Richt and co. have gone out and shaken up the apple cart by accepting former University of Virginia quarterback Greyson Lambert on a transfer.
I, for one, absolutely love it for a couple of reasons: Georgia doesn’t have a player at the position who is a slam-dunk candidate to start and it shows that Richt is ready to go against public perception for the greater good of on-field success.
Many fans opined that Richt wouldn’t want to bring in another signal-caller because it would send a bad message to the rest of the QBs who have been working hard.
This type of sentiment left me puzzled as the only message it should send is that at UGA you’re there to compete. And rarely would you hear such a sentiment expressed at notable programs like Louisiana State and Alabama.
But as I’m beginning to believe, this may be the last year you don’t include UGA when you mention those two programs.
Many supporters of the Red & Black should already be familiar with Lambert — especially those of you are heavily into recruiting — as he’s a south Georgia product by way of Wayne County High School where he was a composite 4-star prospect as one of the top pro-style QBs in the country.
At 6’5″, 235 pounds, Lambert has the look of a professional signal-caller, and he has the arm-talent of one, too. And while many have quickly written him off as depth, as they read he had amassed only 10 touchdowns versus 11 interceptions last season as a starter, I have very little doubt he will quickly insert his name in the QB competition.
Because, quite frankly, he’s now the most talented QB on the roster.
I make it my business to follow the careers of every Georgia high school QB no matter what program they end up at. I got a chance to check out a few of Lambert’s games during the season — most notably against Georgia Tech, Florida State and in a win against Louisville — and I was equally impressed with his makeup as I was watching him in high school.
Those of you trying to transfer Lambert’s statistical production over to Georgia are making a huge mistake for a couple of reasons: Virginia is nowhere near as talented as Georgia on the offensive side of the ball, and it was only his first season as a full-time starter.
Georgia’s offensive line, running back corps and receiving targets are all far and away better than anything on Virginia’s roster; he will improve just being around more talent.
Moreover, Lambert can spin it with the best of them and will add value to the vertical portion of offensive coordinator Brian Schottenheimer’s playbook. Virginia, being a sleek mix of a spread outfit with traditional concepts, has set him up for a smooth transition in the passing game. And while Virginia’s scheme, coordinated by former NFL OC Steve Fairchild, required him to take most of his snaps from a Shotgun alignment, he did plenty of under center work, too.
Lambert under center in a “Heavy” personnel package.
Here’s a great example of Lambert’s polish: He showed ideal spacing in his gather phase, transitioned quite nicely to the weight transfer portion of his dropback, stood tall in the pocket and delivered a strike on a deep-dip route. (This particular throw puts you on the radar of NFL scouts as it’s one that requires a ton of velocity and accuracy to complete.)
Incumbent Georgia QB Brice Ramsey can rev of the RPMs on his throws, too, but his accuracy is a work-in-progress in the short-to-intermediate game.
Schottenheimer has a vast section in his playbook for West Coast offense principles, and this completion into a tight window on a halfback angle pass should get him very excited; Lambert threw it with anticipation and a ton of velocity.
Here we see Lambert looking off his primary target in an attempt to ensure favorable coverage; the lookoff even faked out the cameraman. You have to love his quick release in combination with his ability to deliver the anticipatory throw.
What you won’t love is when he forgoes his sound mechanics, as that’s when he’s gotten himself in the most trouble.
Case in point; Lambert almost threw a pick-six after throwing off his back foot on a late outlet decision. Had he gone through his entire progression he may have seen the flanker showing on a shallow-crosser, but that’s what you normally get from inexperienced QBs.
But Lambert has an entire season of major college football under his belt and possesses a ton of tools for a scheme built around the best rushing attack in the country. While he’s not known for being fleet of foot, he has enough pocket-mobility to evade rushes and the toughness to stand his ground.
Lambert has faced myriad of fabricated-pressure schemes, line stunts and overall tough defenses — playing with inferior talent. He is now in the presence of a team which can provide him with top-notch offensive line play, possibly the best running back in the country, a slew of capable receiving targets and a defense that will minimize the mistakes he may make.
Let’s not overthink this, ‘Dawg Nation; this kid was pretty much handpicked by the staff despite having three QBs already on the roster.
His skill set and experience makes him a major player in this QB race. He may not begin the season as a starter, but you better believe as he ingratiates himself in the playbook, the starter will have a rather quick hook.
And his two years of eligibility sets it up perfect for the next great UGA QB, 5-star recruit Jacob Eason, to come in and redshirt behind him for a year.
Georgia really can’t go wrong with either Ramsey or Lambert; Richt has it under control.