Dogs' Lambert happy handing off the ball - and the ice cream
Lesson No. 1: Keep the offensive linemen happy.
Following the tradition established by former star quarterback Aaron Murray, Lambert took his linemen out for ice cream this week. He took care of the bill and didn't complain when the bottom line proved 300-pounders don't settle for one scoop.
''I don't want to list the price, but it was a lot of ice cream,'' Lambert said with a smile.
Lambert, the graduate transfer from Virginia, also knows not to complain if his passing numbers are small.
It was no surprise Georgia, which plays at Vanderbilt on Saturday, relied largely on its running game in its 51-14 opening win over Louisiana Monroe. That left modest passing totals for Lambert.
While star tailback Nick Chubb ran for 120 yards and two touchdowns, Lambert completed 8 of 12 passes for 141 yards and two touchdowns.
''As long as we get a win, I don't care how we do it,'' Lambert said.
It was a line the 6-foot-5 quarterback repeated often when talking with reporters on Tuesday.
It's no mystery that defenses are going to focus on the running game. Lambert's job is to keep defenses honest with accurate passes, avoid turnovers and get the ball to Chubb.
It's called managing the game. Lambert said ''game manager'' is ''a bad term.'' But he stressed he doesn't mind filling that role.
''When you have guys like we have, my goal is to get us in the best place possible and to get the ball in their hands,'' he said.
''As a quarterback honestly, I feel like we're supposed to manage the game. People do that in different ways. Sometimes we'll spread it out and sometimes we'll ground and pound. However we have to play to win the football game, I think that's kind of our job.''
Vanderbilt coach Derek Mason said ''everything stems from the run game'' in Georgia's offense.
''In the end, you got to be able to control the run game to have an opportunity to rush the passer,'' Mason said. ''Georgia's done a really good job over the years protecting their quarterbacks and making sure they stay balanced.''
Coach Mark Richt described Lambert's Georgia debut as ''very solid.''
Richt was happy Lambert threw two passes while scrambling ''where only we could get it.''
Richt listed ways Lambert delivered a winning performance. The coach said the junior made good checks at the line, handled the run game and was effective ''hiding his hands'' on ball fakes.
''So he did a good job of the little things,'' Richt said.
Eventually, Lambert will be asked to also handle bigger challenges. No matter how much ice cream Lambert buys for his blockers, the time will come when managing the game means making big throws against such teams as South Carolina and Alabama in the next few weeks.
''My guess is we'll be pretty balanced across the board throughout the year,'' Richt said. ''I don't think it will be super-heavy run, although we have a lot of faith in our ability to run the ball. But we know you've got to throw and catch if you're going to win the types of games we're going to try to win here.''
AP College Football website: www.collegefootball.ap.org
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AP Sports Writer Teresa M. Walker in Nashville, Tennessee contributed to this report.