This time last year, Justin Scott-Wesley and Jay Rome were watching their team play in front of the tube.
The wide receiver and tight end were freshmen sitting out as redshirts and were forced to watch from the couch as their teammates played LSU in the Southeastern Conference championship game.
“We kind of threw a little party for ourselves, got some pizza and watched it on the big screen,” Rome said.
“We were into it, though,” Scott-Wesley said. “We didn’t even leave our seat.”
They sat and watched as Georgia blew a 10-7 halftime lead before getting outscored 35-0 in the second half.
Sitting there helplessly made the two young Bulldogs eager for an opportunity to have a say, and lucky for them, Georgia is returning to Atlanta for the second consecutive year
“You always want to go there and support and be there in person. It’s something that’ll make you hungry,” Scott-Wesley said. “Now that we’re at this point, it’s motivation. We’re here now, we’re in the moment and we can contribute”
While their stats may not jump off the page, they are making timely plays and most importantly, responding when their number gets called.
“We’ve been preparing every day with a championship effort, just going out and giving it our all because you know what’s on the line,” Scott-Wesley said.
“People are depending on you to do your job. You’ve got to come prepared and work like you want to win.”
With the receiving core thin from injuries, the targets are coming for the two redshirt freshmen. Regardless of whether they are starting or not, Scott-Wesley said they have to be prepared no matter how many plays they see.
“It’s all hands on deck. Every man is important and every play counts,” said Scott-Wesley, who scored his first touchdown last week against Georgia Tech. “If you’re in the game, you’ve got to play like you’re a starter even if you’re coming off the bench. It may be one snap, it may be 10 snaps, it may be 60 snaps.”
Rome has been making contributions, too, and scored his first touchdown last week, too.
Keeping their emotions in check is half the battle, and Scott-Wesley said there has been “a tremendous focus” in preparation this week for No. 2 Alabama.
“You can see it in the guys’ eyes and the way they motivate the teammates,” he said. “There’s nothing negative coming out. Even if a guy may miss an assignment or miss a block — there’s just positive things being said.”
Even though Scott-Wesley and Rome might not be called upon in the big moments, they plan on taking advantage of this chance and doing what they can for a winning effort.
“I feel like that we’re taking this opportunity to get better and make plays,” Rome said. “I feel like both of us are ready for what’s going to be thrown our way, and that if it comes our way, we’re going to make plays and do what we can with it.”