Quarterback Aaron Murray has directed just one pass to the tight ends through two games -- he hit Rome with a 15-yard completion in the fourth quarter of Saturday night’s 41-20 win against Missouri -- but Lynch and Rome are confident more opportunities will come, just as they have for the prolific pass-catching tight ends who preceded them.
“I understand where that frustration would come from because we have high expectations here, especially for us at tight end where we’re trying to follow in the footsteps of the guys who came before,” Lynch said. “But I think it’s one of those things where in time it will come and hopefully when those opportunities arise, we don’t mess it up.”
Just because the tight ends have not been particularly active in the passing game does not mean they haven’t had a presence in the offense. Lynch points out that he and Rome both graded out well as blockers -- Lynch made one of the key blocks on Todd Gurley’s 44-yard run in the fourth quarter -- which is a point of pride for players at their position.
“I don’t think either of us had a missed assignment this past game, which is a big deal because the coaches can see that and know, ‘OK, they’re not going to mess up,’ ” Lynch said.
But Rome is the only tight end who can say he has a reception to this point. In fact, the redshirt freshman’s catch against Missouri was the first of his career -- a milestone for a player who came to Georgia last year as the nation’s top prospect at his position according to ESPN.
“I remember running the route and sticking and turning around and that’s all I remember once I saw they were throwing it to me,” Rome said. “After I caught it, I just kind of flipped it to the ref and tried to get lined up for the next play. Then after we drove down a little bit -- I think we got a field goal on that drive -- and after I came off the field, I kind of sat back and was like, ‘Wow, that was my first catch.’ It really didn’t even dawn on me while it was happening on the field.”
Tight end is by and large a selfless position, however, and Lynch said he is not dissatisfied with his role because he helped Georgia open the season 2-0 for the first time since 2008. Of course Lynch hopes to catch more passes in upcoming games, but he said that is not his main objective.
“Patience is a virtue,” Lynch said. “Really in the game, it wasn’t getting to me because I was playing. The only thing that was getting to me was when we weren’t winning the game. I knew we were going to come back and win the game and sure enough, we come back and go up by four points and don’t look back. Next thing you know it’s a 21-point ballgame and we’re sitting pretty with our first SEC win.
“That’s really all that matters in the end. If we’re 12-0 and people are still frustrated, I’ll take zero catches and a ring. That’s for sure.”
Theus’ road debut: The Missouri game marked freshman right tackle John Theus’ first start away from home -- and it featured its share of rocky moments.
Theus was flagged three times for false starts and he twice surrendered sacks to Missouri senior defensive end Brad Madison -- an NFL draft prospect -- who he had to block after missing most of the week’s practices after spraining his ankle in the opener against Buffalo.
“There’s a lot of stuff I need to work on, some stuff I need to grow up on -- the false starts, it was a learning experience for me. The sacks, it was a learning experience for me. Take those, look at the film and just try to get better each day,” Theus said after Monday’s practice.
Theus said he was confident throughout the week that he would be able to play against Missouri and that he thought he performed better in the second half. What made the early mistakes easier to swallow, he said, is that they didn’t cost Georgia the game.
“It’s definitely a big relief when you win the game,” Theus said. “If you don’t play your best game and you win the game, it kind of takes it off a little bit. It’d be a lot more sour if we lost the game.”
Injury update: Several starters, including Jarvis Jones, were listed on Monday’s injury report.
The All-America outside linebacker -- who on Monday was named SEC Defensive Player of the Week and Walter Camp National Player of the Week -- was limited in Monday’s practice because of a groin strain and shoulder contusion. Cornerbacks Malcolm Mitchell (ankle sprain/shoulder contusion) and Damian Swann (knee contusion) and receiver Michael Bennett (knee contusion) were also limited.