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QB Greyson Lambert given starting slot for Georgia

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Is Lambert the correct choice for Georgia QB? (1:57)

David Pollack, Joey Galloway and Paul Finebaum react to Greyson Lambert being named the starting quarterback for Georgia and if it is the correct call for the team. (1:57)

First-year Georgia coach Kirby Smart chose experience over youth in selecting a starting quarterback for Saturday's opener.

The No. 18 Bulldogs will start senior Greyson Lambert when they kick off the season against No. 22 North Carolina at Atlanta's Georgia Dome.

Georgia spokesman Claude Felton confirmed Thursday that Lambert had been given the starting job.

Lambert, a Virginia transfer, went 10-2 as a starter for the Bulldogs last season, throwing for 1,959 yards with 12 touchdowns and 2 interceptions.

Smart, a former Georgia defensive back, will make his head-coaching debut against the Tar Heels. He chose Lambert over freshman Jacob Eason and junior Brice Ramsey.

Eason, from Lake Stevens, Washington, is expected to play against North Carolina, sources told ESPN on Thursday. He was ranked the No. 1 pocket passer and No. 13 prospect overall in the ESPN 300 after throwing for 3,585 yards with 43 touchdowns and 6 interceptions as a high school senior.

The 6-foot-5, 235-pound Eason enrolled at Georgia in January and wowed fans with his arm strength in the Bulldogs' spring game, throwing for 244 yards with 1 touchdown on 19-for-24 passing. He and Lambert have taken most of the reps with the No. 1 offense in practice the past two weeks.

Lambert, who enrolled at Georgia as a graduate transfer last summer, was seen as the safer choice to start the opener. Although Georgia fans have criticized his arm strength and ability to throw the ball down the field, Lambert has a better understanding of the offense and made fewer mistakes in practice.

Smart's decision to start Lambert was first reported by the Atlanta Journal-Constitution on Thursday.

Regardless of which quarterback plays against the Tar Heels, the Bulldogs are expected to rely heavily on their running game. Junior Nick Chubb, who missed the final seven games of the 2015 season with a left knee injury, is expected to start against North Carolina. Junior Sony Michel, who broke his left arm in an ATV wreck July 4, hasn't participated in contact drills in preseason camp and is doubtful to play in the opener.

North Carolina's defense ranked 13th in the ACC in total defense (435.9 yards per game) and last in run defense (247.4 yards) last season. The Tar Heels gave up 645 rushing yards and 756 yards of offense in a 49-38 loss to Baylor in the Russell Athletic Bowl.

Information from The Associated Press contributed to this report.