Georgia football: Can Demetris Robertson become Mecole Hardman 2.0?
A lot of good things happened for Georgia wide receiver Demetris Robertson on Saturday, and they were all well worth the wait for him.
But let’s be honest. It has been a long, long wait for Robertson’s star to shine as a Georgia Bulldog for all of us. So now that he looks like the guy who’s going to step up in the Bulldogs’ receiving corps, it’s time to watch him really become a star.
Can that happen?
It meant a lot for Robertson to be out there Saturday in the season opener at Vanderbilt. It also meant a lot to contribute in a big way. He was excited and was burning off nervous energy from the first whistle.
“I came into this game and felt, ‘When am I going to get my first catch?’ and, ‘How will my first catch be?’ and also, ‘Will I get a touchdown?'” Robertson said after No. 3-ranked Georgia’s 30-6 win over the Commodores in Nashville. “It felt good to be out there.”
Robertson’s numbers don’t really tell the whole story of his impact on this offense. He had 3 catches for only 23 yards, and he ran the ball twice for another 29.
But he had a touchdown, a 3-yard grab from quarterback Jake Fromm on the Bulldogs’ first throw of the game. He also hauled in a long bomb from Fromm that was negated by a penalty.
“The deep ball, it was awesome. I just went inside the DB and cut across the safety’s face and Jake just led me there,” Robertson said of the play, which was called back by a holding penalty. “It happens. Next play, that’s what we talk about. There’s always going to be up and downs in a game, so it’s all about just going to the next play and how we perform on the next play.
“I just capitalizing on my opportunities right now and being selfless for my teammates.”
It has been a long time coming. For some, it dates nearly 4 years now, when the 5-star recruit from Savannah, Ga., spurned the Bulldogs and signed with California. He had 50 catches as a freshman and was one of the best newcomers in the Pac-12, earning freshman All-American honors. He was injured during his sophomore year (hernia) and wasn’t happy there, so he transferred back home to Georgia.
After sitting out the 2017 season, many expected big things from him last year in Athens, but nothing ever happened. Literally. He didn’t have a single catch, sitting behind guys like Mecole Hardman, Riley Ridley and Terry Godwin, who are now all in the NFL.
This year, Robertson is promising it will all be different. He’s ready to shine again.
“D-Rob was ready to go,” Georgia quarterback Jake Fromm said after Saturday’s game. “You’ve got a fast guy, good ball skills, a guy who’s ready to run around and make plays. So, we’re excited to use him. We’re ready to see what kind of plays he can make next week.”
It meant a lot to Robertson to catch that first pass for a score. Things were clicking pretty well early for the Bulldogs, who rolled up nearly 500 yards of offense. And that was with leaving plenty of big plays out there, which is typical in that first-game sloppiness.
“We got a little sloppy there,” he said. “We did some things that hurt us, so we need to get back to the drawing board. We’ll try to fix those things.”
Georgia's on the board! Fromm with a 3 yard TD to Demetris Robertson! pic.twitter.com/JrgS4Qg4Ke
— #FlashSZN (@ftbeard_17) August 31, 2019
Georgia rushed for 323 yards and threw for just 156. A total of 40 of their 63 plays were runs, which was fine because the offensive line was controlling the game so much. Still, the passing game will need to be a focal point at some point.
Smart wants to see more, too.
“We have to be able to expand and do more things, and throw the ball downfield, stretch the field and get some of the wideouts involved,” Smart said. “I think Jake can do that, (and) we have to be able to protect him to do that.”
He’s been happy with Robertson, who has that do-it-all mentality, much like Hardman did. He can catch and run, and also be a threat on special teams, which always matters to Smart, who never hesitates to use starters on his special teams groups.
“D-Rob’s been busting his tail,” Smart said. “He got an opportunity to make some plays, and I thought he was very comfortable. He was dominant on special teams as gunner holdup, which he gets no credit for. He and Matt Landers had a dominant of performance as you’ve ever seen out there.”