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Catching up with… Terrail Lambert

Sep 16, 2009, 11:00 AM EDT

Few Notre Dame fans will forget the unbelievable comeback victory the Irish snatched away from the Michigan State Spartans in 2006. (If you want a reminder, check out this link.) While the offensive heroics were supplied by Brady Quinn, Rhema McKnight, John Carlson and Jeff Samardzija, the key defensive plays were supplied by cornerback Terrail Lambert, whose touchdown and interception return put the Irish ahead in the final two minutes, and whose acrobatic interception with 40 seconds left in the game put the nail in the Spartan’s coffin.

Terrail turned in a stellar career at Notre Dame, and is hoping to continue his football career in the NFL this season, waiting by the phone and staying in shape after being one of the last cuts by the San Francisco 49ers. Terrail was kind enough to trade messages and emails with me until we could find a time to talk late last night. He had plenty of insight on the Irish, playing Michigan State, and what the guys need to do to rebound from last week’s tough loss.

On getting past a difficult loss:

It’s one of the things that you learn when you develop into a mature football player, and it’s just a part of the process of becoming a college football player. And I can say that when we found ourselves in that position, we’d say, ‘Okay, let’s identify what we did wrong or what got us in those situations and how can we avoid them,’ and two, ‘What’s at stake with this next game?’

Every game that we approach we always did our best to approach each game as a one game entity. That game, that week, is our national championship game. That’s the mindset we tried to develop, and that’s one of the building blocks that they’re developing right now. It’s still a relatively young team. And looking at it from a positive standpoint, it’s a great opportunity to show the maturity of the team, and I think they’ll follow through with it.

On the transition between Willingham and Weis:

It was really about learning to deal with a whole other personality type. Coach Weis is perceived to have a so called “New Jersey” attitude and mentality, and he brought a lot of that to the team and saw it rub off on a lot of the team, myself included. It was somewhat of a new philosophy that you just bought into it. It took a while for it to happen, but you know — I can definitely say that, especially looking in hindsight, looking at the program, it’s something that’s definitely happening. All the guys are buying in.

On his infamous cousin Lorenzo Booker, and his influence on choosing Notre Dame:

He was definitely one of the guys I really listened to in terms of being able to possess the capacity to make the decision that I had to make for myself. It’s a big step, it’s another chapter in a young man’s life, and he gave me real sound advice in that regard.

One of the things he told me was that you’re making the decision and it’s the one time in your life that you want to be as selfish as you possibly can. Because when you’re there for those 4 or 5 years at that institution of learning playing college ball, it’s going to be you there, not anybody else in your family or your circle of friends or peers. At the very least, if you end up not liking it, you can hang your hat on knowing that you made your own decision.

I chose Notre Dame just because I always saw myself as a kid from the hood who got good grades and could play ball, and I wanted to be a part of something special. And I got that at Notre Dame.

On his epic Michigan State game:

Believe it or not, I wouldn’t call it the highlight of my career, but more like my coming of age. I had come off a subpar game the previous week in the Michigan game giving up two touchdowns, but that week and the week following Michigan State, I remember going back to my room and learning the lesson that the most important thing on defense is the next play.

Just accepting the fact that when they throw the ball your way, someone is going to come down with it, and they’re going to strike up the band one way or the other, so it might as well be you with the ball.

On what the Michigan State rivalry means to ND:

The first thing you know when you’re playing Michigan State is that they’re coming in with the mindset that they’re the underdogs and they’re the second class citizens and they’re trying to prove something. That’s their mentality, their identity, and they love to do that through their play on the field, and use that attitude of a blue-collar tough guy. And they are, I’ll give them that respect.

It’s a game you need to prepare your mind for. They’re coming in with that attitude. There’s going to be a lot of trash talking, maybe even a couple cheap shots, and it’s going to get nasty, bottom line.

On the change to life in the NFL and his goals for after the NFL:

The biggest thing I noticed in the NFL is that the game is simpler in the standpoint that everybody is doing the same thing, but it all boils down to the execution. Execution is just so much more important at that level. The game is so cerebral. The physical aspects are different, and the speed is faster, but it’s not as dramatic as people make it out to be.

After football, I’ll pursue a career in cinematography. Hopefully a life behind the camera. It’s a niche I developed, I took classes in it, and I got first hand experience behind the film cameras that people in the mainstream film industry actually use. I learned how to work with Final Cut Pro, use all sorts of industry software, and design three-dimensional sets using architectural software, as well as getting behind the camera, doing some grip work, and learning about lighting.

On picking Notre Dame and what makes it such a special place:

The passion is one of the things that makes Notre Dame so special. It’s the
fact that you can go across to other college campuses across the
nation, it’s been a trend for decades now where you really don’t want
to say it but you feel it as an athlete that you’re being alienated
away from the students because you’re a football player or a basketball
player, but that just wasn’t the case at Notre Dame.

Because the students… they identified with you, they sympathized with
you. If there’s a loss on Notre Dame’s campus, everybody’s having a bad
day. And if there’s a win on campus, regardless of sport, but
especially football, everybody’s going to have a good day. Teachers,
students, all the faculty members across the board, and I think that’s
because everybody identifies with each other.

A special thanks to Terrail for making time for Inside the Irish. Here’s wishing him good luck on getting back onto the field. 


  1. John - Sep 16, 2009 at 3:32 PM

    Terrail Lambert thanks for the great plays Mi Amigo!!! a film maker is a great gig take it from me! Learn Pro tools you will see it every where!

  2. robertg - Sep 17, 2009 at 3:09 AM

    we thank you for a great article and terrail lambert and to his notre dame teammates for that great comeback against msu at msu right after another loss on paper to michigan orchestrated by another crooked big 10 ref crew.
    we have every confidence in charlie and his staff and in every notre dame student athlete who also plays football at notre dame in 2009.
    like terrail lambert and his teammates on the 2006 team, there is simply no quit in notre dame’s 2009 team or in any other notre dame team and never will be.
    a lot of nfl teams are missing out on a truly great cb in terrail lambert. with his character and intelligence and talent and determination, we are certain that he will succeed in the nfl and in his life.
    GO IRISH!!!

  3. John - Sep 18, 2009 at 10:10 AM

    I am faily confident that we got beat fair and square in 2006, after all brady quinn spent most of that game on his back.

  4. robertg - Sep 19, 2009 at 3:10 AM

    1. no, michigan defintely did not win fair and square in 2006 or in 2009 and the michigan and usc(2005) players and their coaches at those fixed games knew in advance that the fixes were on and played acordingly.
    2. in fact, big 10 commissioner delany has announced the suspension of michigan lb jonas mouton for punching nd’s eric olsen in the face during the 2009 game with zero explanations of the numerous other outcome changing reffing dishonesties during the 2009 game and zero explanation of why the refs who were looking right at the punch, as shown on the game film, did not throw mouton out of the game and penalize michigan right then for 15 yards.
    3. delany and bill carollo,the current big conference official did not announce this suspension because they have become honest all of a sudden, but because we let them know that their personal assets are on the line in the civil courts. is that enough to satisfy us? no way!!
    4. in fact, of the many examples of film of crooked reffing sent by charlie to carollo, only the punch was reproduced by serial nd basher eric hansen and his associates at the south bend tribune in yet another character assassination against charlie and his staff and on notre dame’s student athletes, along with the usual guarantee that they were going to get charlie and his staff fired.
    5. the hansenites have been well compensated for their nd and weis bashing articles by usc and notre dame’s other competitors on the recruiting trails.
    6. have the hansenites succeeded in driving away from notre dame some recruits who would otherwise have picked notre dame, along with persuading a number of notre dame student athletes to transfer after they had chosen notre dame? yes, they have and the payoffs that they have received from notre dame’s enemies are reflected in their material possessions and lifestyles.
    7. after all, the hansenites have consistently conned some of the public and some notre dame fans and alums into thinking that the hansenites actually speak on behalf of any significant numbers of notre dame alums and fans.
    8. the reason why you saw brady quinn getting sacked so much in the 2006 game was courtesy of an another crooked big 10 ref crew headed by dennis lipski who allowed the michigan defense to get into the notre dame backfield during the entire game by simply not calling any of the blatant false start penalties that the michigan players were committing during the entire game.
    9. lipski and his crooked crew also called numerous bogus offside penalties against notre dame throughout that game. his press conference after that game, charlie mentioned the he had sent numerous egregious examples of this crooked reffing on film to david parry, the big 10 conference official then theoretically in charge of football ref quality control at that time and parry essentially been told charlie to screw off.after all, in return for a share of the profits, parry and delany had been covering for crooked big 10 refs for years.
    11. lipski has a long history of crooked reffing, not only in the big 10 conference football games with long histories of complaints by joe paterno and the by the ohio state, michigan state, and purdue coaching staffs , but in other pro sports as well, including ice hockey and arena football.
    12.lipski and the refs who cooperate with him in the big 10 and in other sports all have very fancy houses and other material possesions which they did not earn or inherit honestly.
    13. if you look at the box score of the 2006 notre dame/usc box score, you will find another appearance by dennis lipski and another crooked pac 10 crew during notre dame’s 2006 season, during which game, lipski and his crew gave the usc players free reign to commit numerous vicious personal fouls against brady quinn and other notre dame student athletes, which sent quinn and his teammates limping into the sugar bowl and playing that game with severe injuries.
    14. where is david parry right now? in 12/2007, parry was appointed the 1st national coordinator of college football officiating at a newly formed company, college football officiating llc(they have a website of the same name) with a board of 15, consisting of delany and hansen, the former commissioner of the pac 10 commission and the guy, who together with his assistant jim muldoon, covered for the crookled refs at the 2005 notre dame/usc game and at the 2006 oklahoma/oregon game, a win which was stolen from the sooners by a crew of crooked pac 10 refs and tech reviewers.
    15. the dishonest officiating at the 2006 oklahoma/oregon game caused such a vicious public outcry and an open war between the pac 10 and big 12 conferences that hansen and muldoon publicly admitted that the dishonest officiating by their refs and tech reviewers had indeed altered the outcome of that game and promised to discipline every ref and tech reviewer involved.
    16. where is the head pac 10 ref at the 2006 oregon oklahoma game now? hensen and muldoon made dave cutaia the pac 10 conference official in chage of football reffing. to this day, coach stoops and oklahoma will not schedule any game at which pac 10 refs or tech reviewers are present.
    17. in choosing the new pac 10 commisioner, larry scott, hansen and muldoon and cutaia thought that they were getting a guy who was naieve about the evil twisted side of college athletics and that they could keep scott speaking on the banquet and pr circuit while they continued their extremely profitable crooked ref and rules enforcement con operations.
    18. well, scoot is turning out to be their worst nightmare, next to us.
    19. scott personnally attended the boise state/oregon game to poen the 2009 season. at the end of that game, oregon rb blount punched a boise state player in the face, when the pac 10 refs, oregon, muldoon, and cutaia did nothing, scott insisted that blount be suspended for the rest of his college career.
    20. we were naieve about these matters until we followed up on charlie’s 2006 press conference, learned the rules, hired nfl professionals who keep real time tabs on nfl refs, and bought them the equipment that they needed to break down the real game films, not just the tv feed in every college football and basketball game.
    21. since we have plenty of experience with con operations in the civil rico cases in the enron and mci worldcom and many other huge con operations, we also began to gather evidence on the cash flows and the indididuals involved in the crooked reffing and rules enforcement con operations.
    22. when we added in cash flows from the sports bookies to the other cash flows, the amounts became enormous, along with our understanding of why the crookes in college football and college sports are so terrified of charlie weis and his staff and of notre dame’s student athletes who simply refuse to get involved in cheating.
    23. games that notre dame lost and won with honest officiating?-the 2005 notre dame/michigan state game amd the 2006 notre dame/michigan state game.
    24. michigan state’s coaches and student athletes have consistently refused to get involved in the crooked reffing and cheating operations in the big 10 conference, even though their refusal to do so has cost michigan state many wins in their own conference.
    25. before the 2010 season, the current crooked reffing and rules enforcements systems will be gone forever and replaced with honest high tech systems transparent to the public, unlike enron and mci worldcom which are gone forever.
    26. at the notre dame/ michigan state game and at future 2009 notre dame and other college football games, we expect to see hard fought honestly officiated college football games.
    27. to the extent that we see any dishonesty by refs or tech reviewers, they and those who cover for them at the conference and ncaa levels will pay dearly in the civil courts.
    28. it took us a while to learn how the businesses or enron and mci worldcom operated and how the books were cooked.
    29. the people who did the enron and mci worldcom scams were very sophisticated and highly intelligent with many powerful political connections.
    30. the con artists in college football and college sports are not nearly as inteligent or sophisticated.
    31. however, they have been getting away with these scams for decades. most will settle out of court before we even have to file any civil complaints, as soon as we show them the evidence.
    32. others will want to fight to their economic deaths in the civil courts and we will oblige every one of them.
    GO IRISH!!!, but we expect a fine game from michigan state

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