Fifth-year senior LB Luke Lambert is one of the elder statesmen for the Missouri Tigers. With 50 total tackles, he's also one of Missouri's leading tacklers, and he's been otherwise fairly productive, with 7 tackles-for-loss, 1 interception, 3 QB hurries, a pass-break-up, and 3 fumble recoveries. Like everyone else associated with the Tigers, Lambert didn't expect to be sitting at 4-5, three-quarters of the way through the season. But, he has learned that now is not the time to dwell on games past. He's focused on the next game, against Texas, and trying to provide leadership for the rest of his teammates, in an effort to try to get back to .500 on the season.
Earlier this week, Lambert spoke with ShowMeMizzou.com, and he talked about the Baylor loss, and preparing for Texas.
"The second half, we couldn't keep the big plays from happening," said Lambert, who cited failures in communication, and lack of focus as culprits leading to the second-half defensive break downs. "That hurt us……………………………. We've got to do a better job of executing fundamentals. We've got to work on that in practice."
Lambert agreed that Baylor had some fast guy on offense.
"Yeah, they did! They had some track athletes out there," exclaimed Lambert.
Lambert denied that the loss of Braylon Webb in the second half was a major factor in Missouri's second-half defensive struggles, although he did admit that Webb has been playing really well.
Lambert laughed when I asked him if he saw the offensive holding that Baylor was getting away with.
"A little bit," replied Lambert, continuing to laugh. "I saw some of it, and I heard about it. Then, I saw it on film. But, it's not an excuse. If they don't call it, it's not holding. We've got to do a better job of getting off of blocks."
The conversation turned to Texas.
"Texas has done a great job," explained Lambert. "They've kind of molded together as a team during the season. They've finally kind of clicked on offense. They're doing a great job of moving the ball. They've got a bunch of athletes. They're do a great job of flipping people, here and there, and they try to catch you out of alignment, so we have to do a great job of lining up and playing with them. They're going to try to flip-flop you around, and try to get you out of position, try to seal you, and try to run right (through) there."
Lambert pointed out that he intends to make sure that the Missouri defense doesn't give up big plays this week.
"We're going to fix that this week," said Lambert. "We're going to do a great job this week of preparing for them."
Lambert's response had ventured into the subject of leadership. I asked him to expound on his role as a leader.
"I've got to tell everyone that the most important thing is the next game coming up," explained Lambert. "We can't worry about last week. Last week's not important anymore. We've got to look forward to this week. We're back home. We're going to have our fans coming in. We're going to have the support from everybody around us. We've got to make sure that the younger guys know that, and get the morale up. "
"We've got to finish strong," said Lambert, looking forward. "We've got to take one game at a time. We can't worry about next week. We're just focused on Texas."