Scott-Wesley learns there’s more to WR than speed
When Justin Scott-Wesley goes out for a pass, everyone has to do
things a little quicker.
Even Georgia’s quarterback.
”I have to speed up my footwork,” quarterback Aaron Murray
said, ”get the ball out a little earlier and then just throw it as
far as I can.”
No one doubt’s Scott-Wesley’s speed. That was evident in the No.
9 Bulldogs’ last game, when he got free behind the secondary,
hauled in one of those deep throws from Murray, and was gone on an
85-yard touchdown that sealed a crucial victory over South
But it’s Scott-Wesley’s development as an all-around receiver
that has Georgia (1-1) believing he’ll be a significant contributor
the rest of the way, especially after Malcolm Mitchell went down
with a season-ending knee injury.
The Bulldogs host North Texas (2-1) on Saturday, then face
another huge game against sixth-ranked LSU the following week.
”The parts of his game that have really developed this past
year have been his route running, changing directions, confidence
in catching the ball,” said fellow receiver Chris Conley.
”There’s more purpose in the way he does it. He knows why he does
things. He’s able to affect defenses. That’s made him so much more
effective as a receiver and one that can be relied on.”
When Scott-Wesley got to Georgia in 2011, he was known as much
for his track exploits – he was a state high school champion in
both the 100- and 200-meter dash – as he was for his football
He was redshirted his first season and played a sparingly a year
ago, though he began to show a glimpse of his potential in the
Capital One Bowl, where he had three catches for 67 yards in a
victory over Nebraska.
Along the way, Scott-Wesley got tired of hearing people call him
nothing more than a track guy trying to make it on the
”I knew I was raw at the wide receiver position, so I just came
out and worked hard,” he said. ”I hate being labeled. I hate
being called a one-trick pony. I really had the mindset in the
offseason that I was going to come out and show people I can catch,
that I can make different catches over the middle, that I can take
a hit and deliver a hit.”
Mitchell tore up his right knee in a season-opening loss to
Clemson, depriving Murray and the Bulldogs of their best deep
But Scott-Wesley quickly showed he could be the one to fill the
void. He had four catches for 55 yards against the Tigers, then got
his first career start the following week. He made three more
receptions for 116 yards in that one, including the long touchdown
that finished off South Carolina and led to a magnificent
description afterward – ”If they had thrown a grenade out there, I
would’ve been the only one to die,” he said, referring to how open
he was behind the blown coverage.
This week, Scott-Wesley fessed up to a bit of thievery in the
”My high school coach used to say that all the time. I thought
it was appropriate,” he said, breaking into a big grin. ”That’s
not a Justin Scott-Wesley original. I’ve got to give my coach
credit for that.”
But he’s the one putting in the time to get better as a
receiver, on and off the field.
The key, he said, is heeding the advice of Georgia’s receivers
coach, Tony Ball.
”Coach Ball tells me all the time that I can’t just rely on my
speed,” Scott-Wesley said. ”He tells me I’ve got to know when to
use my speed. I can’t come out and beat everybody with speed.
Sometimes I’ve got to add a little movement. That’s something I’ve
worked on. I’ve added a few moves to my repertoire.”
If that gives him more room to run, all the better for the
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