ATHENS - Six years ago, when John Theus was a freshman in high school, he was promoted late in the season from junior varsity to the varsity. As the season ended, he served as the backup right tackle behind future Georgia (and now Virginia Tech) lineman Brent Benedict.
That had been the last time Theus had not started in a game - until Saturday at Clemson, when the man who started every game as a freshman was benched.
"Honestly I never felt (more) fresh," Theus said. "I woke up Sunday morning and I felt great. Because the night before was the least amount of reps I'd gotten in a game in six years."
Yes, Theus was taking it all in stride. He hardly came out of any game last year, taking a seat only at the end of blowouts. This year he lost his starting spot, at least for the opener, to newly-eligible junior Kolton Houston.
"You can't let it frustrate you, honestly," Theus said. "You've just gotta take it as it is, and try to be ready to go in when you're called, and try to get as many reps as you can."
As for this week, Theus appeared to be getting first-team snaps at practice, but Theus said he hasn't been told anything and thought it was "up in the air."
Theus is preparing to play, and has spoken with North Carolina right tackle Jon Heck, who just played South Carolina last week. Theus and Heck were teammates in high school, and Theus described him as a close friend.
"He gave me what he saw on film, what he thought on some guys, just what he thought about it," Theus said.
Most of that insight was on South Carolina end Chaz Sutton, who figures to line up on the right side of Georgia's line. Last year Theus didn't see much of star Jadeveon Clowney. In fact, Theus said he remembered Clowney lining up on him just once in last year's game.
"And the ball went the other way so I didn't even touch him," Theus said.
As it turned out, Theus wasn't even the most consequential member of his family in the Clemson game. His older brother Nathan Theus is Georgia's long snapper, and his high snap cost Georgia its only field goal attempt in the 38-35 loss at Clemson.
The younger Theus understandably had his brother's back.
"He'll be the first to tell you that was a high snap," John Theus said. "Now, in brotherly defense it wasn't the highest snap in the world. But that doesn't matter, it's on to the next week now. What happened, happened. You can say a lot of things happened in that game. But there's no doubt in my mind, I know Nathan, that'll never happen again. He's been pretty much perfect on every time I've been on a team with him."