Since 1995 - Insightful commentary on the Georgia Bulldogs

Post Sacred Bulldogs

Monday March 6, 2006

Every so often a Georgia player will earn permanent and eternal untouchable status from me with one play or one game. Short of showing up in the next bin Laden home video, these guys could do nothing else their entire careers or lives that would remove them from my pantheon of Sacred Bulldogs.

Usually this status comes with a big play against Georgia Tech, but other events have also triggered it. Michael Johnson’s ownership of Auburn put him right up there.

I bring this up because UGASports.com has an interview today with Mario Raley discussing his expectations for his senior season. “As a leader and a senior in my fifth year, I feel like my role is to step up and lead the guys and show them the ins and outs and dos and don’ts,” Raley said.

It’s great that Raley has that outlook, but he has already stepped up in my eyes. As UGASports.com’s Brad Harrison wisely notes, “(Raley’s) biggest catch (of 2005) came against Georgia Tech, an eight-yarder that kept a Georgia drive going late in the game.” Exactly right, Brad. In a tie game late in the 4th quarter, facing third down just on the outside of field goal range, Raley caught a pass heading towards the sideline and turned it upfield for the first down. It was his only catch of the game, and it was only for eight yards, but it was the first in a trio – or dare I say trinity – of events that led to another win over Georgia Tech. Soon after Raley’s catch left the Bulldogs comfortably in field goal range, DJ Shockley found Bryan McClendon for the go-ahead score. A few minutes later, Tim Jennings stepped in front of a Reggie Ball Western Union Special to seal the win. Thomas Flowers set up the final drive with another big return, but it was Raley’s catch that kept it alive.

I hope Mario Raley does continue to improve and find an increased role as a senior. He’s not going to transform into Hines Ward, but hopefully his catch at Tech will give him the taste for making the key catch when Georgia needs a reception. If any catch this season even approaches what his reception at Tech meant to me, he’ll be an instant hero. You can do much worse as a Bulldog than to be remembered for your contribution, no matter how small, in a win over Tech.

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