ATHENS — Greyson Lambert’s focus was on Georgia even before he left Virginia.
Eager to master Georgia’s playbook as quickly as possible, Lambert said he bought a small whiteboard which he used to study the Bulldogs’ plays. He said he would hide it in his notebook during history class at Virginia this summer.
“Uh, don’t tell the professors,” Lambert said with a smile on Tuesday before his first Georgia practice.
“I did everything I could to learn as much as possible.”
The sneaky studying worked out.
Lambert completed his four-year degree and transferred to Georgia. Now a graduate student, he joined Brice Ramsey and Faton Bauta in Georgia’s quarterback race.
Coach Mark Richt said the three will share snaps with the first-team offense until he can narrow the competition to two.
“It could go all the way to the first game,” Richt said.
Lambert’s move to Georgia prompted Jacob Park, who was competing with Ramsey and Bauta in the spring, to transfer to Navarro Junior College in Texas.
The 6-foot-5, 220-pound Lambert started nine games at Virginia in 2014. He missed three games with an ankle injury and threw for 1,632 yards with 10 touchdowns and 11 interceptions. He lost his starting job to Matt Johns in the spring.
Now Lambert, who is from Jesup, Georgia, has a fresh start for what he hopes will be a better end to his college career.
“I feel very blessed and fortunate,” he said.
Tailback Nick Chubb and other Georgia players said they were impressed Lambert already knew the Bulldogs’ playbook when he moved to Athens last month.
“He looks good,” Chubb said. “He came in prepared and knowing the plays.”
Chubb was careful to avoid stating a preference in the quarterback race. Chubb, the Southeastern Conference freshman of the year after rushing for 1,547 yards and 14 touchdowns in 2014, is expected to be the focus of the offense, no matter who wins the quarterback job.
Just give the ball to Chubb.
“They all do a great job at that,” Chubb said with a smile.
Indeed, the starter may be the quarterback who Richt believes will avoid mistakes and give Chubb the best chance to keep the offense moving.
“That is the emphasis,” Ramsey said. “They want somebody who won’t turn the ball over.”
Ramsey was the backup to 2014 starter Hutson Mason and was regarded by most observers as the top candidate to win the job entering spring drills. Ramsey appeared in eight games last season and completed 24 of 39 passes for 333 yards with three touchdowns and two interceptions.
Lambert and Ramsey say Bauta is the best runner of the three. Bauta also has the least game experience.
Ramsey said he welcomed Lambert to the team.
“You look forward to something like that,” Ramsey said. “He’s just here to push us and we’re here to push him.”
If no clear starter emerges, Georgia could have a two-quarterback plan for the Sept. 5 opener against Louisiana-Monroe.
Richt said his only “true rotation” at quarterback lasted only one game — his debut as Georgia’s coach in 2001. That structured plan to rotate David Greene and Cory Phillips ended quickly with Greene winning the job.
Richt has played two quarterbacks at other times, including when D.J. Shockley played behind Greene in 2002-04. But Greene was the set starter and Shockley’s playing time varied.
“I think the greatest advantage to a two-quarterback system would be if you had two really dramatic differences in style as a player,” Richt said. “If a team has to prepare for this guy and it’s totally different than preparing for the other guy, I think that can cause issues for defenses.”
Otherwise, Richt prefers to have one quarterback win the job.
“It’s just hard getting the rhythm and staying in a rhythm as a quarterback,” he said. “I found that it’s better to have one guy doing it.”