ATHENS, Ga. – There’s no need to remind Georgia senior wide receiver Reggie Davis about his crucial dropped pass in last season’s loss to Tennessee.
Georgia trailed 38-31 and faced a third-and-9 at its 44 with 3:53 left in the game in Knoxville. Davis beat his man deep and Greyson Lambert lofted a perfectly thrown pass. Alas, Davis dropped it and Georgia was forced to punt in a game it lost by just a TD despite seeing star tailback Nick Chubb injured on the first play from scrimmage.
"It motivates me a lot," Davis said. "I still get those tweets and pictures. At first it's heartbreaking. But then you can't let your past carry you down too much. You've got to let the past be the past."
Davis says a lot of the reminders about his miscue come from Volunteers fans.
Davis went on to make another big mistake three weeks later against Florida. He muffed a punt and the Gators recovered in the end zone for the first score of the game.
He says the social-media trolling from fans has motivated him to eliminate such mistakes in the future.
"You read it, watch the play and think how could you have done it differently," Davis said. "Once you attack practice, you always keep that in the back of your mind. If you ever drop (a pass), you brush it off. But you also discipline yourself with pushups, (catching passes off) the Jugs machine or trying to re-run that play so you don't leave it out there."
The irony is that he had played a big game against the Vols up to the point where the dropped the pass. He had a 70-yard punt return for a TD and also scored on a 48-yard touchdown catch as part of a three-catch, 101-yard game; it was just the second 100-yard day of his career.
Davis admits the dropped pass contributed to the way he played for the rest of the season. Davis had just one catch in the final seven games of the season, and he later was replaced as the punt returner by Isaiah McKenzie.
One of those he credits with helping him get past his mistakes is new offensive coordinator Jim Chaney.
"Coach Chaney always tells us to play fast and that we're going to make mistakes," Davis said. "It's OK to make a mistake as long as you're playing fast. So, I just try to play fast and keep my mistakes to a minimum. I don't try to go out there to be perfect because it's just impossible."
Davis also says he was a procrastinator of sorts during his first three years and says that attitude contributed to his inconsistent play.
His changed mindset has caught the eye of new coach Kirby Smart.
"He's had a good camp," Smart said. "Reggie's an experienced receiver. He's got good burst. He's playing really hard. He's playing good on special teams.
"Reggie plays the game the right way and you appreciate that and the quarterbacks reward guys who play that way. He continues to do that well."
(You can follow Dan Mathews on Twitter @DanMathewsATL)
© 2016, Dan Mathews. All rights reserved.
© 2016, gridironnow.com. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.