Bearcats, Bulldogs connection strong

Published 2:57 pm Tuesday, June 15, 2010

When the University of Georgia Bulldogs football team takes the field this fall to do battle with their Southeastern Conference opponents, they will have a definite Bainbridge High School Bearcats flavor.

Senior and former Bearcats linebacker Darryl Gamble will be starting at outside linebacker, switching over from inside linebacker where he started last season.

New Bulldogs defensive coordinator Todd Grantham, who was on the Dallas Cowboys coaching staff, said the switch from inside to outside linebacker was a natural one for Gamble. He started 11 games at inside linebacker last season and had 47 tackles.

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Gamble’s move was a necessity because the Bulldogs had only three other scholarship players—Justin Houston, Cornelius Washington and Chase Vasser—at outside linebacker in the spring.

Junior Nick Williams, a former Bearcats quarterback and defensive back, will be starting at strong safety after seeing duty at safety and linebacker last season.

Williams, who has switched back and forth from safety to linebackers three times, is ready to settle in at strong safety.

Former Bearcats starting center Ben Reynolds, a redshirt freshman, is currently listed as third on the Bulldogs depth chart at center.

Another former Southwest Georgia performer, junior Bacarri Rambo, who played for the Seminole County High School Indians in Donalsonville, will start with Williams in the secondary. He will be the free safety.

There is a good history of former Bearcats going on to play for the Bulldogs.

Fred Barber, who was inducted into the Georgia Bulldogs Hall of Fame a few years ago, was the starting fullback on Coach Spencer “Onion” Davis’ 1960 Bearcats team that won the Region 1AA championship and posted a perfect 10-0 regular season record.

Coach Davis shared the Hall of Fame induction ceremony with Barber in Athens.

As a senior in 1993, Kirby Smart, defensive coordinator for the 2009 national champion University of Alabama Crimson Tide and winner of the Frank Broyles Award as the top assistant coach in the country, helped lead his father’s, Coach Sonny Smart’s, Bearcats to the Region 1AAAA championship, a 10-7 victory over the perennial powerful Valdosta High School Wildcats in Valdosta and a berth in the state Class AAAA semifinals.

Kirby went on to Georgia where he started in the Bulldogs defensive secondary and earned All-Southeastern Conference (SEC) honors as a defensive back with the Bulldogs.

A true student athlete, Kirby also made the All-SEC academic team.

The Bearcats to Bulldogs connection is a strong one and it continues with Gamble, Williams and Reynolds, three quality young men and football players.