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National television: CBS (check your local listings); CBS will also offer a live web stream here.
By Loran Smith
CINCINNATI, Ohio - Paul Brown Stadium, the home of the Cincinnati Bengals, sits stately by the Ohio River, where six former Georgia football players are making a contribution to the central objective of a team that last sniffed a championship in 1988.
The Bengals are the brainchild of the legendary Paul Brown, whose genius went beyond coaching. The Bengals were originated by Brown in 1966 but have been a small market club without big-salaried players, which has led them to lowly finishes throughout their recent history. At Cleveland, Brown and the upstart All-America Football Conference rivaled the National Football League in the forties. Brown had won four AAFC titles when the Browns merged with the NFL in 1950. Brown, the classic innovator, proved that he could compete in any league. The Browns won the NFL title in 1950-54-55 after which their coach was let go by principal owner Art Modell. Brown went looking for a franchise and settled on Cincinnati as the place he would like to start a team. The NFL looked with favor on Brown and Cincinnati as a place to locate an NFL franchise.
In the early seventies, Cincinnati was a perennial playoff team. Later the Bengals won AFC titles in 1981 and 1988, but lost in the Super Bowl both times to the San Francisco 49ers.
Brown retired from coaching in 1975 and died in 1991, having turned the team over to his son, Mike, who has had difficulty fielding a contending team. That began to change when he hired Marvin Lewis to coach the team. These Bengals have a new mission, which they refer to as "DNO," which means "Destination New Orleans," site of the next Super Bowl.
"We certainly believe we can get there," Clint Boling, starting offensive guard who was a starter and a letterman for the Bulldogs in 2010. "We have to believe in ourselves and we do," he said at Paul Brown Stadium following a recent practice.
In addition to Boling, the Bengal roster includes former Georgia lettermen Dennis Roland (2002-05), Robert Geathers (2001-03), Orson Charles (2009-11), Geno Atkins, (2006-2009) and A.J. Green (2008-10). Green, the outstanding rookie of a year ago, is one of the most popular athletes in Cincinnati.
"We saw what he did at Georgia," Boling said of his former Bulldog teammate, "and we told people when the Bengals signed him that they would be seeing a great NFL receiver. Some people thought we didn't know what we were talking about, but A.J. showed them what he could do from that first day in training camp. Everybody is a big fan of his now."
Roland, who started his NFL career with the Cowboys and then spent two years with the Tampa Bay Bucs, came to Cincinnati in 2008 as a tackle but has often lined up at tight end.
"If David Pollack hadn't gotten hurt, we might have seven Bulldogs on our roster," Roland laughed. Roland and Geathers are the old timers of the Bulldog sixsome.
Following is a summary of the season for the six players through week 10. With a 4-5 record and having lost four games by 10 points or fewer, the Bengal-Dawgs still believe they have a shot at getting to the playoffs. They remember what took place last year with the New York Giants. The Giants were 9-7 in the regular season and won the Super Bowl.
Geno Atkins, DT: Started all nine games and leads the league in sacks by an interior defensive lineman with seven and that is tied for third overall among all players; Also tallied 28 tackles.
Clint Boling, OG: Started all nine games at guard this season.
Orson Charles, TE: A backup at tight end, he has seen action in all nine games this season with two starts and has five catches for 70 yards.
Robert Geathers, DE: Starter at LDE in all nine games with 19 tackles and 3 sacks.
Dennis Roland, T/G: Played in all nine games with two starts along the offensive line at tackle, guard and tight end.
A.J. Green: Started all nine games and ranks among NFL leaders with 58 receptions for 820 yards and nine touchdowns. Also, Green was named the AFC offensive player of the month for September.
(Photo Credit: Andy Ware, Cincinnati Bengals. L-R: Orson Charles, A.J. Green, Clint Boling, Geno Atkins, Robert Geathers, Dennis Roland).
The following was just posted on Georgiadogs.com to announce the upcoming Georgia Football pep rally set for this Thursday as the Dawgs prepare to head to Kentucky.
ATHENS, Ga. --- Members of the Georgia football team and head coach Mark Richt will headline a special "Tailgate with the Team" event Thursday, Oct. 18, at 8 p.m. at Legion Field on the UGA campus. Admission is free and open to all students, faculty, and staff. A very famous surprise guest will also be present.
The team members will meet and greet students and fans before heading to Lexington Friday for the Georgia vs. Kentucky game. Richt will speak, team members will sign autographs, and there will be an assortment of entertainment and giveaways.
There will be free t-shirts and Fox's Pizza Den will provide their "BIG ONE" -- 30 inch wide pizzas! All giveaways are first come, first served while supplies last.
Happy Gameday Eve, Bulldog Nation! Hopefully you're all excited about tomorrow's season opener vs. Buffalo as Georgia is finally about to tee it up Between the Hedges in 2012!
Along those lines we've introduced something new this season that will ideally make your gameday social media experience better when it comes to following the Dawgs! We invite you to join us in using game-specific hashtags on Twitter when tweeting about the Bulldogs. The hashtags will give you a way to continue showing your support on social media, while the new tags will let you see what everyone else is saying about that week's game and join in the conversation! The list of hashtags is here:
S. Carolina: #UGAvSC
Ole Miss: #UGAvOM
Georgia Southern: #UGAvGSU
Georgia Tech: #UGAvGT
Thanks so much in advance for your support and please let us know by tweeting @UGAHedgesBlog how it goes for you! Try it out today as you start getting excited for tomorrow's game! We'll have updates all day tomorrow on our official UGA account (@UGAAthletics).
As always, GO DAWGS!
Quick little nugget this morning to go with your morning coffee: three former Georgia football players have been singled out by the NFL, including on the league's "Top 10 players under the age of 25." Check out who made the list and read more here!
As Georgia letterman Brandon Boykin gears up for tonight's NFL draft, he chatted exclusively with Between The Hedges on his thoughts on the draft, his time at Georgia, and more.
BtH: Hey Brandon, thanks for talking to us so close to your big day. What've you been up to since last season?
Boykin: I've been training for the combine and draft in Pensacola basically since the season ended. Then there was the Senior Bowl, and since that I've come home to Atlanta and been working out for a couple teams and stuff.
BtH: No break, huh?
Boykin: Yeah, no days off.
BtH: How're you feeling heading into the Draft tomorrow?
Boykin: I'm really excited for it. I'm hoping to go in the first or second round, first day, and that's where a lot of people have me projected, but whenever I'm called I'll be thrilled.
BtH: Going to be a special moment?
Boykin: It's going to be the biggest moment of my life. Playing in the NFL has been my dream since I was a kid. I started playing football when I was 8 or 9, and getting to play in the NFL has always been my goal. And pretty soon I'll be hanging around waiting for my name to get called. It's exciting.
BtH: How do you feel your time and accomplishments at Georgia have prepared you for the next step?
Boykin: It's the thing that got me here. Without it, I wouldn't be in this situation, about to go in the Draft. Being able to play at Georgia and in the SEC prepared me for what I'm ready to face next, being a pro.
BtH: Not to look to far ahead or anything, but what do you see yourself doing in 10 or so years, or after your playing career is over?
Boykin: If I'm fortunate enough to still be playing that'd be awesome, but after that's over I want to get into sports broadcasting. Using the relationships and contacts I make over my career, that's what I want to end up doing.
BtH: I'm sure we'd all love to hear you calling some Bulldog games.
Boykin: That'd be awesome. I'd love to get to do that.
BtH: Thanks again for sitting down to chat. Anything you'd like to say to all the Georgia fans?
Boykin: Just thanks for all the support over the years, I wouldn't be where I am without Georgia.
BtH: Good luck heading into tomorrow. We're all pretty confident you'll make us proud.
The draft begins today. Check Georgiadogs.com's draft board for coverage here.
With spring practice set to begin for the Georgia football team next Tuesday (a week from tomorrow) and the annual G-Day spring game set for April 14, which will be here before we know it, head coach Mark Richt sat down to touch base with the media before he heads out of town for his own "spring break" of sorts.
Richt started by talking about the team's somewhat different approach to strength and conditioning for the upcoming season, which includes two new hires in that department. Read about that here.
With Sherman Armstrong, the team is looking to "bolster the speed element," Richt said, as Armstrong has extensive experience working with all types of athletes on speed, strength and quickness. Meanwhile, John Thomas - who comes to Georgia after 20 seasons on the staff at Penn State - will specialize in high intensity training. Richt was pleased with the fact that the team will now be able to offer a diverse approach when it comes to strength and conditioning because the plans can be different for each player. "One size does not fit all" when it comes to strength and conditioning, Richt said.
The head coach also talked about the fact that spring practice is a great time to get back to the fundamentals and work on the little things. He is excited to get to see who is already showing they're ready to play football in the Southeastern Conference, and "which guys are mature enough to get into the ballgame."
Finally, exciting news out of the press conference was the announcement that Richt as well as Todd Grantham have signed contract extensions and will be with the Bulldogs for many years to come. Read more about that good news here.
Full video of the press conference is here.
Can't believe spring ball is already almost here! Go Dawgs!
First of all, HAPPY BIRTHDAY to Georgia head swimming coach Jack Bauerle AND former Bulldogs quarterback Matthew Stafford.
But aside from their birthday, the two share another connection. Matthew's father, John, was a graduate assistant coach for the Georgia swimming team in the 1970s when Bauerle was a student-athlete. Bauerle is getting his teams ready for next week's SEC Championships in Knoxville, while Stafford, the Detroit Lions' quarterback, recently was chosen as the Comeback Player of the Year by The Associated Press and the Quarterback of the Year by the NFL Alumni Foundation. Limited to just three games due to injuries in 2010, Stafford started all 16 games in 2011 and led the Lions to a playoff berth. He was 421-of-663 for 5,038 yards and 41 touchdowns in the regular season, then went 28-of-43 for 380 yards and three touchdowns in the playoffs. Stafford became just the fourth quarterback in NFL history to throw for more than 5,000 yards and just the seventh to throw more than 40 touchdowns in a season. He beat out Green Bay's Aaron Rodgers and New England's Tom Brady for the NFL Alumni Foundation Quarterback of the Year honor.
HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO TWO 'DAMN GOOD DAWGS!'