He was just like any other 19 year old amidst the mass of humanity on a 700-acre farm in Manchester, Tenn.
OK, except for the flowing red locks and his 6-foot-6, 298-pound frame.
“Dude, there were a lot of great shows,” John Theus said.
The Georgia offensive lineman spent four days and three nights in mid-June at Bonnaroo Music and Arts Festival, making him an outlier among the Bulldogs starting offensive lineman.
“I didn’t know he was into that kind of music until he went to that festival,” senior offensive guard Dallas Lee said. “It was pretty surprising to all of us. I didn’t know what it was. I had to Google it when they were talking about they were going to Bonnaroo. … I still don’t really know what kind of music it was. I guess it was hippie music.”
Well, not exactly.
Theus wanted to see folk rock band Mumford & Sons, but it had to cancel after a group member had a medical emergency.
The music acts performing included such mainstream artists as Paul McCartney, Jack Johnson and Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers.
Theus said he was bummed that Mumford wasn’t there, but said he still got to hear an eclectic mix of acts including The Lumineers, ZZ Top, Of Monsters and Men and Kendrick Lamar.
Theus joined backup offensive lineman Greg Pyke, walk-on receiver Michael Erdman and former Georgia offensive lineman Preston Mobley at Bonnaroo, where they camped out overnight.
Center David Andrews, nicknamed the “Boss,” didn’t make the trip.
“Boss likes his Hank Williams, and that’s about it,” Theus said.
Said Lee: “Pretty much all the white guys except apparently for Theus are into country music.”
Actually, Theus said country is his favorite but he likes a wide range of music.
Georgia offensive line coach Will Friend could not care less if his players are into country’s Florida Georgia Line or rapper Flo’Rida as long as they can knock people back to help Georgia beat Florida or any other team on their schedule.
When Theus wasn’t going to Bonnaroo — or even a Beyonce concert last weekend — he worked out this summer while listed as second-team on the depth chart at right tackle.
That’s the position where he started every game as a freshman last season.
Redshirt sophomore Xzavier Ward has emerged as a challenger to the spot — at least on paper — but it was Theus who was back with the first-team early in preseason practices for the most part.
“I think Theus knows (Ward’s) there, there’s no doubt about it,” Georgia coach Mark Richt said. “I think Xzavier is coming along.”
Ward still shows signs of inconsistency, but is competing with Theus, who Richt said has come a long way from a year ago but still has a ways to go.
“That’s not my call when that happens,” Theus said of being listed behind Ward on the preseason depth chart. “It doesn’t affect me. I’m still going to work the way I work. I know what I’m capable of. I know what I can do. I know my work ethic and how I’m going to handle things. I know if I take care of business, coach will put me where I need to be.”
But where will that be? Theus worked some at left tackle in the spring, but said he had not gotten a snap there in the first two preseason practices. He said in the spring he would like to play left tackle “before it’s all said and done” at Georgia.
Richt said coaches are looking at possibilities all over the lineup.
“We’ve got numerous guys that can line up and start here,” Theus said. “That’s a great thing because it pushes us. There’s no, ‘I can take this play off because the guy behind me isn’t any good.’”
Theus is stronger after an offseason in the strength program, and said he feels much more comfortable zone blocking after “down blocking” at Bolles School in Jacksonville.
He’s fully focused on football now in the preseason grind of camp, but he might have another road trip to Tennessee in his future beyond games in Knoxville and Nashville this season.
Bonnaroo could beckon again.
“We might go again next year,” Theus said. “We’ll see.”