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Thursday, February 19, 2009

Georgia's Two-Sport Star

Here's some trivia for you: Did you know that Georgia defensive tackle Geno Atkins was also a successful member of the Bulldogs' track and field team?

Don't feel bad if you didn't. Geno says that happens all the time. Still, Atkins has had a nice season as Georgia's shotput specialist this year, winning his first meet of the indoor season at Kentucky and finishing third a few weeks ago at Virginia Tech.

I caught up with Geno yesterday after football workouts, and we chatted for a bit about his other sport. Here's what he had to say...

Hale: Not much of a rest for you between seasons, I guess. How's your indoor season with the track and field team going so far?

Atkins: It's gone pretty good. In two weeks we're having the SEC championship, so hopefully I'm going to do some big things up in Kentucky. I haven't hit my PR from last year yet, but I want to say by next week I'll be able to do that. I won my first meet this year, so I was real excited about that at the Illinois Classic, so it's been going good so far.

DH: Most of the men and women you head to these meets with aren't future NFL stars, too. Do you get more attention from fans when you're out at track and field meets?

Some fans are shocked that I do it, but mostly they don't really know that I do shotput. They're kind of shocked when I say I do two sports, and then they want to know how I do it because it's so time consuming with football practice and doing track, too.

DH: So how do you do it?

GA: It's tough. Sometimes I have to do mat drills, weights and then go out there and practice. It's sort of a grind, but I know I'll push through it and get my work done with school and on the field.

DH: If you didn't have a bright NFL future ahead of you, do you think you might stick with shotput for a while?

GA: I don't think so. So far, I only practice twice a week, so I haven't had enough time to develop my technique with the shotput.

Q: How good do you think you'd be if you had dedicated all your time to shotput?

I think I'd be pretty good, probably throwing in the 60s. I think the proper technique is to spin, but I'm gliding back. If I actually learned how to spin, I think I'd be a lot better.

DH: So of your fellow football players, who else might be successful if they joined you on the track and field team?

GA: Jeff Owens talks that he can throw the shotput, but when I went against him in high school, I won. But Jeff can throw the shot, Carlton (Thomas) could probably do the 100, 200, something like that. Bryan Evans can run. Cordy Glenn could probably do the weight or the shot.

DH: Well how about the reverse of that -- have you talked to sprinter Torrin Lawrence about maybe coming out to return some kicks or something like that for the football team?

GA: I think it's a little bit different. I don't know if he'd be able to take all that abuse and hitting. I know he's fast, but I haven't talked to him about that yet.

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