Raley back after being out for more than a year

ATHENS – A few seasons ago Georgia seemed full of talent at wide receiver. Now, on the other hand, the jury is still out on how this season's receivers will react to the void left by last year's top receivers.

One players trying to fill the void is Mario Raley. In 2002, when Raley was a freshman on the team, he appeared to be a promising receiver that could fill in when Fred Gibson, Reggie Brown and Michael Johnson needed a break. After a few seasons, however, Raley enters 2005 with little significant playing time even though, along with teammate Bryan McClendon, have been at Georgia the longest of any of the players at his position.

One reason for the lack of playing time, however, is that Raley has been out of action for the last season and a half with injuries. That makes his return even more difficult. His first real action in that time came this spring.

"Spring was rough, but it was that way because I've been out for an entire year and a half," said the Charlotte native.

"I think now that I am healthy again, that will give the coaches the confidence to put me out there on the field to see what I can do. Now I have to go out there and show what I can do," Raley added.

If the depth chart at receiver is any indication, Raley will get plenty of chances to do just that. Although not a starter, Raley is one of several receivers coming into 2005 fighting for significant playing time. He will likely play on special teams, but the team could use him a lot in multiple receiver sets, or if Sean Bailey or McClendon – the two starters at receiver – don't perform up to what's needed of them Raley could wind up starting.

Raley said although Brown and Gibson, the team's two outstanding receivers from last year, are gone nothing has changed with the receivers. He is confident that the group will step up and deliver.

"We did everything back then (when Gibson and Brown were playing for Georgia) that we do now, so I don't think there's any pressure on us. Bryan (McClendon) and I have been here the longest, so I feel like our role is to come in here and step up. The only think we have to do is go out there and make plays and play ball like playmakers are supposed to – I don't feel like there is any pressure," Raley said.

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