Missouri senior LB Luke Lambert 6'3" 235 is healthy this spring after having missed the latter half of the 2009 season with an injury. He said that he's "not quite" fully recovered, saying that he's "real close" to getting back up to "the speed of the game". He's physically healthy, but feels that he hasn't fully regained his form on the field.
Lambert's play this spring has been very physical. He acknowledged that he's "trying" to be more physical, then laughed and said, "Sometimes, I'm getting the worst of it."
It's been my observation this spring that the Tigers' defense has really been swarming to the ball, frequently getting several guys to the ball. Luke addressed this phenomenon. "That's something that Coach Stec stresses a lot. The whole spring, we've been doing real good at that. Especially the young guys, coming in here and doing that. It's looking real good from my perspective."
Lambert's due to graduate in December, and talked about how it feels to be heading into his final season at Missouri. "It's exciting! I've been here long enough. I know the ropes here."
He talked about the emphasis on tackling this spring, in all the defensive drills. "We just want to make sure we get people tackled. We don't want to be trying to big-hit people, and not getting them down. Coach is telling us to wrap up around the legs. Stop them where they're at. Maybe drive them back."
He also said that the second guy in "always" goes for the ball.
Luke talked about the talent level around him heading into his fourth season at Missouri. "It's exciting! This is probably the most talent I've seen since I've been here, and that's with all due respect to Sean, and Brock, and Van, and Redmond, and all those older guys. This is exciting! You've got the young guys coming in that are just phenomenal, I think. They're picking up on the fundamentals real quick. It goes to the coaches, because they're getting real good recruits coming in here. It's just exciting, to see Mizzou football like this!"
I asked Luke which guys were standing out. He replied, "It's a lot of guys, safeties, D-line, linebackers. It's not just any individual person. A lot of the young guys are stepping up and playing."
I pointed out to Luke that the group due to arrive in June has been identified by the coaching staff as the best group of recruits they've brought in here at Missouri. He replied, "You mean since they signed me?" He laughed out loud, then said, "That's a good thing, because every year, it just gets better."
Then, Lambert continued. "That's the best thing for this team, to get some competition going. Because that's how everybody gets better. If you don't like competition, then this isn't the place for you."