ATHENS — It was a spirited post-game interview environment for the Georgia Bulldogs, especially for a couple of wide receivers who made the two longest offensive plays of the day in a 45-0 win over Austin Peay.
That’d be Mecole Hardman and Demetris Robertson. Hardman overheard Robertson being asked if he was the fastest player on the team and, if not, who was.
“I think I’m up there,” Robertson replied. “All the receivers here are super fast.”
“You’re not fast,” Hardman chimed in. “You’re not even fast!”
Robertson just laughed and high-fived his really fast teammate.
Robertson was fast enough Saturday to take a handoff from Justin Fields on a counter play around right end, split two diving defenders and then fly untouched the rest of the way for a 72-yard touchdown. The score came on Robertson’s only touch of the game at the 10:29 mark of the third quarter.
It was a career-long score for Robertson, whose longest at Cal was 34 yards. It was Georgia’s longest touchdown run since Sony Michel went 75 yards against Oklahoma in the Rose Bowl.
“I don’t think it could have gone any better than that,” said Robertson, a sophomore from Savannah. “It was great just to play.”
Not to be outdone, nine minutes later, Hardman jetted to a 59-yard touchdown on an over-the-middle pass from Jake Fromm. He, too, accelerated away from Austin Peay’s defenders.
It was two plays in one quarter that illustrate how different Georgia looks at wide receiver this season. The Bulldogs have speed to burn. And clearly they’re going to use it.
“I think we’re going to be balanced,” Robertson said. “Coach [Jim] Chaney does a great job of mixing the run game and the passing game. We just have a lot of weapons we can use for either the run or passing game.”
Again, that was well-illustrated Saturday. Robertson was Georgia’s leading rusher with his one run, and running back D’Andre Swift was the Bulldogs’ leading receiver with four catches for 33 yards.
Nobody was happier to see Robertson “go house” as the Bulldogs like to say, than coach Kirby Smart.
“For his first touch to be a touchdown was incredible,” Smart said. “It’s awesome for a kid that’s been all over the country. And he’ll tell you he should have came here the first time. He’s here now and that was his first touch, so I’m happy for him.”
Robertson concurred. He didn’t provide any details of the nature of his successful hardship waiver, but he said Georgia was basically the only place he wanted to go. After he left Cal, he released a video in which he chose the Bulldogs over Alabama, Texas and West Virginia.
“Georgia was pretty much my thought all along,” Robertson said of the decision to come to Georgia. “It wasn’t about anything that happened at Cal really. It was about coming home and being a part of the Georgia family.”
Robertson said “everyone” from his family was able to attend Saturday’s game. He said it was “not very often” that they made it out to see him play in Berkeley.
Robertson signed with Cal over the Bulldogs coming out of Savannah Christian Academy as a high school senior in 2016. He had 50 catches for 767 yards and 7 touchdowns as a freshman for the Golden Bears but was sidelined with what turned out to be a sports hernia injury after just two games.
And just like that, Robertson was able to fulfill what he said was a life-long goal to play for the Bulldogs in Sanford Stadium.
“Man, it was awesome,” he said. “It was so surreal being out there during warmups, wearing the red and black. It was awesome.”
Smart thought so, too, but he said Robertson still has a lot to improve on to become a regular part of the Bulldogs’ rotation.
“He’s not in the condition he should be in,” Smart said. “He’ll tell you that. He ran out of gas on that run. In the SEC, that might not have been a touchdown. So we want to encourage him to keep getting in shape so he can turn that into a touchdown against an SEC opponent.”
Robertson said he realizes he hasn’t arrived and he still has a lot of work to do. He remains hopeful that Saturday’s performance was but a brief glimpse of what he can do for this team.
And he wouldn’t mind getting the ball through the air from Jake Fromm or Justin Fields pretty soon.
“I’m ready to catch a pass now,” the 6-foot, 190-pound athlete said. “We have two great quarterbacks here — three quarterbacks, actually, with Matt (Downing) — so I’m very, very excited.”
There are a lot of other very excited people, too, those quarterbacks among them.