July 30, 2010

Former Dawg receiver remembers glory days

There aren't many days that go by when former Bulldog receiver Corey Allen doesn't sit back and think about "The Catch" against Georgia Tech in the 1997 regular-season finale.

For those who are too young to recall, the Bulldogs found themselves down 24-21 with 48 seconds left to play when quarterback Mike Bobo engineered a four-play, 65-yard winning drive which he capped with an 8-yard touchdown pass to Allen with just eight seconds to play. The subsequent two-point conversation failed, but it did not matter as the Bulldogs held onto a 27-24 win.

"I get asked about it a lot, especially by the diehards, they remember it," Allen said during a recent interview with UGASports. "But at the same time we had a lot of success that year. We had a lot of good guys that still play, so like I said, it's always good to hear my name mentioned."

Allen said it was certainly a memorable year.

Not only did the victory enable the Bulldogs to cap a memorable campaign with a win over their arch-rivals, it also propelled them into the Outback Bowl against Wisconsin, which Georgia won 33-6 on Mike Bobo's record-setting performance.

Allen capped his college career with a touchdown catch in the game as Georgia finished with its first 10-win season since 1992.

During the recent Countdown to Kickoff, Allen found himself the target of numerous autograph seekers, each of whom was anxious to relive those memorable days.

"It's great. Not only is it good that they remember that we had an impact on the outcome of the game," Allen said. "I enjoy it, and it's great that people still remember the hard work that myself and other players put in while we were here."

Allen looks back on those days with fondness himself. Along with Bobo, Georgia's offensive coordinator, Allen's teammates that year included the likes of Matt Stinchcomb, Champ Bailey, Hines Ward, Robert Edwards and current college defensive coordinators Kirby Smart at Alabama and Will Muschamp at Texas.

"Anytime football season comes up I think about those days," Allen said. "Even the guys who I played with that are now coaching, guys like Kirby, Bobo, Muschamp, there are a lot of guys I played with that are still going strong in one way or the other. There are some guys I had a chance to play with that are still playing, that's the thing I remember when football season rolls around."

But as much as Allen likes looking back, he also enjoys the present, particularly as it pertains to the Bulldog whose position he once played - wide receiver A.J. Green.

"When I watch him play I wish I was as good as he is. That's a lot of talent. When I see him I see a guy who knows how to use his hands; there's not a lot of body catches. He's very fluid in his routes," Allen said. "A lot of people say he still needs to pick up some weight but receivers don't need to be big, you can be a good blocker just by knowing where to position yourself and he runs great routes. There's nothing he needs to change, he just needs to continue to get better."

As for the rest of the team, Allen sees no reason Georgia can't have a successful year.

The ex-receiver said he tends to agree with last week's projection by the SEC media that has the Bulldogs finishing second in the East to Florida, although he certainly didn't rule out his former team competing for the big prize, either.

"I don't see any reason why we can't compete. Sure, Aaron is a redshirt freshman, but he knows the offense, which with all the experience, I think can be a well-oiled machine," he said. "This team has a lot of talent. I don't see any reason why we would finish no worse than second in the East. We might have to have some things go our way to get to the championship game, but there's no reason to think we won't have success."

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