Seymour stood out even on a team that featured future NFL players Stroud and Champ Bailey, and he worked as hard as any of them. "He was such a young guy coming out that we thought about redshirting him," Donnan says. "He was very mobile for a guy that big."
"He always showed unbelievable character," Garner says. "He wanted to be the best, and he showed that from Day One."
Truth be told, during the four years that Seymour played at Georgia, the Bulldogs underachieved. Their best year was Seymour's first, when they went 10--2, but his postseasons comprise two Outback Bowls, a Peach Bowl and an O'ahu Bowl. The Bulldogs won them all, but that was still not good enough to keep Donnan from getting fired after Seymour's senior season.
One of Richard's parents made every game, and they went together to every game but two, even though Deborah never has made peace with what football can do to the boys and men who play it.
"Every game, still, there's the nail-biting, and your heart hurts," she says. "Every game he plays, we always put it in God's hands. Last thing I always say to him is to play safe."
The Seymours never ceased to amaze Garner. On the road they were the first people he saw in the lobby of the Georgia hotel, and after home games, outside Sanford Stadium, it was their tent to which all the Georgia players flocked. Richard's father had not been lying about his cooking. The Seymours were so omnipresent that Evans never realized they were separated. "Demetric told me, 'All that time, I never knew. When y'all came here, you were a family,'" Deborah says. "These are the sacrifices you make for your children. You put all that other stuff aside."
With 24 seconds left in the third quarter and his team trailing 13--7, Golston goes to his hands and knees. He's not hurt, but he is determined to buy some time. "That was just, you know, technique," he'll explain later.
They are playing in a din that overwhelms even the startlingly strange repertoires of the competing marching bands. ( Tennessee's has a weakness for the more obscure pages of the Led Zeppelin catalogue, while Georgia's rouser is a variation on The Battle Hymn of the Republic, which first came here as the fight song of the Union army that burned down the state.) But for all its boisterous home field advantage, Georgia has spent most of the afternoon stuck in neutral.
The Bulldogs gave up enough big plays early to fall behind 19--7. But they rallied behind freshman tailback Danny Ware to cut the lead to 19--14, and their last drive takes them all the way from their own 13 to the Tennessee 19 with one second left. But David Greene's pass is batted down in the end zone, and an undefeated season vanishes into the ether. Almost to a man, scattered all over the field, the Bulldogs drop to their knees.
"Too much, too early," Golston says as his teammates drift away and out of the stadium. "We'd stop them on first and second down and then break down on third. There's nothing much we can do now except take care of Georgia. We can't be worrying about anyone else."