That’s what happened when Georgia didn’t play Houston on September 15. The world was still standing still after the terrorist attacks of September the 11th, and no one in college football played a game that weekend.
That weekend, Mark Richt later admitted, was the weekend D.J. Shockley was likely to make his college debut in Silver Britches. At that point Georgia was 1-1, and Richt wanted to see what would happen with Shockley in the game. But missing the non-conference game against the Cougars forced Richt to reconsider playing Shockley.
That the Bulldogs had an off week the week after the cancelled Houston game seemed to delay Shockley’s debut as well. Georgia went 21 days without playing a game before knocking off Arkansas 34-23 in Athens.
The next week was the “Hobnail Boot” win in Tennessee. Richt wasn’t about to change his quarterbacks with his team in the middle of a very competitive SEC East race. The week after Georgia’s win over the Vols everyone in the SEC East had at least one loss… Georgia controlled its own destiny.
That meant Shockley was going to stay put on the bench for the rest of the season for sure. If he had not played in the opener, and the Houston game had been postponed, there was no reason to play him in 2001 at all. Shockley went on to play regular snaps from 2002-04.
But in his final season, the one that only took place because he redshirted in 2001, Shockley took Georgia to the SEC title.
Redshirting D.J. Shockley was one of the most important moments in the Mark Richt era - even if it came in a very strange way.