When Jay Rome selected Georgia as his college of choice last year, fans just knew the 2011 season was going to be something special. And while the season did end up being special, it didn’t have anything to do with Jay Rome.
Rome was forced to accept a redshirt season his first year with the Bulldogs and he wasn’t exactly happy about it.
“I thought I was going to get to come in and have an opportunity to play this year… Being a competitor, I always would like to be on the field, I’m not going to sit here and tell you that I’m glad I redshirted. I wish I could play. But I think my redshirting is what’s best for the team at this point…it was pretty upsetting to me at first.” (Gentry Estes, Dawgs247, 1/12/12)
Not to split hairs, but note that Rome said he felt his redshirting was “best for the team”, not necessarily best for him.
The fact that Rome arrived on campus with Orson Charles, Arthur Lynch (a player who also had to take an unexpected redshirt during the 2010 season), and Aron White all ahead of him did make depth at the tight end position a touch crowded.
There was no way to guarantee that Rome would see the field as much as he might have liked and, even if he did, there was little reason to believe that he would be the primary, secondary, or even tertiary target for Aaron Murray. That said, the coaches likely felt it was best to put a year of distance between Rome and Lynch in anticipation of the departures of both White (graduated) and Charles (NFL)
Lynch, who had zero catches last season, figures to be the guy in 2012.
Still, some might question why Rome didn’t get more of a chance at playing, despite the logjam at his position. After all, it wasn’t like Georgia was teeming with consistently great receiving talent last season as Marlon Brown and Rantavious Wooten (injury) were virtually non-existent, and Tavarres King was stronger late in the season than he was early.
Heck, even Orson Charles suffered through some low-production games—how much of that can be contributed to an inconsistent running game and poor protection is debateble—so why not give Rome a shot?
That’s a question only the coaching staff can answer but, for my two cents, Bobo wasn’t as interested in warm bodies on the field as he was in execution of the plays he called. And, since Georgia isn’t known for tossing out four and five receiver sets, or even many two tight end sets, Rome would still have been relegated to sitting behind Charles and White—waiting for his opportunity to get in the game.
However, with the depth chart at tight end now 1/2 as imposing as it used to be, 2012 figures to see a highly-motivated Jay Rome wrecking shop on the field and getting his opportunity to show exactly what all the fuss was about when he signed in 2011.