I don’t hide this: I cheer for the Kentucky Wildcats. In a guest article I recently wrote for Wildcat Blue Nation, I mentioned some of my greatest football memories. Well, many of those memories include a man by the name of Ross Bogue. He played tight end and contributed to Kentucky being in 4 consecutive bowl games for the first time in school history. Ross graduated this year, but I had the opportunity to formally speak with him about his time at UK and here is what he said:
Tyler Montell: So I read you come from the Dirty Dirty, Hotlanta, Jawja. Your pops played ball at Georgia Tech, and your mother is a Florida alum. How did you end up at the University of Kentucky?
Ross Bogue: Tyler, you’ve obviously never been a 17 year old kid who has had to stare Rich Brooks straight in the face after he demands that you come play for the University of Kentucky. Most intimidating moment in my life thus far. No, in all seriousness, I came up for a visit to Lexington and fell in love with the place. A great coaching staff, playing in the most dominant conference in college football, and an awesome campus/student body to boot.
Tyler Montell: You played five years in Lexington. What would you say was the biggest difference in the program from the start of your career to the end of it?
Ross Bogue: The overall focus of the program has really taken a turn for the absolute best. 5 years ago the thought of reaching a bowl game was a very foreign thought around the program and now it’s expected. I’m excited to see what Joker can do with the team as a head coach in the coming years and I think fans should expect a lot of great things out of the Cats in 2010.
Tyler Montell: I remember hearing several accounts of your dance moves at a traditional Lexington Kentucky Derby Eve gala. Something about you sliding across the dance floor on your knees? Must have really done a number on those pants, huh.
Ross Bogue: No comment.
Tyler Montell: Ross, you seem like a pretty clean cut guy, with your J Crew watch and skinny ties. But what is this I read about your mustache contests in fall camp? Any truth to the rumors that Mike Hartline can’t grow facial hair?
Ross Bogue: This was my shtick. I was always big on building camaraderie in the locker room during camp. Fall camp is a brutal, break down your soul and build back up experience. If you can’t find ways to relax a little or take your mind off of the grueling Summer days of Lexington, you won’t make it. What better way to do so than grow a mustache? Hartline can actually grow a pretty mean Miami Vice style ‘stache. As for mine, I’ve seen thicker ‘staches on half the Pitcher’s in this years Little League World Series.Tyler Montell: Ok ok, so maybe all of my information wasn’t “correct.” I’ll give you that. But I do know you nabbed a touchdown against the Flo-Rida Gators your senior year. Walk me through that experience.
Ross Bogue: It was a surreal experience looking back on it present day. At the time if you remember correctly, we were down about 30 points when I caught that pass and wasn’t able to really enjoy it after the beating we took.
Tyler Montell: Any on field funny stories/ memories from your playing days?
Ross Bogue: It’s hard to pinpoint one great memory out of so many unbelievable ones in the 4 years I played. The one that sticks out the most though would have to be the big win over my home state, UGA. It wasn’t just the fact that it was such an incredible game on the field, but the fans reaction at that game made it the experience it was for us all. I watched grown men cry, students get knocked out by security guards as they attempted to storm Commonwealth, and players being given swigs of adult beverages right on the field. And, of course, watching those goal posts torn down is a sight I’ll never forget. Kentucky fans deserved a win like that and it felt good to give it to them.
Tyler Montell: How much interaction did you have with Coach Phillips? Any insights you can give us into his personality?
Ross Bogue: As Tight End’s we actually spent a lot of time with Joker since he’s also been the receiver’s coach for the several years. Joker was always concerned about everyone having a great knowledge for the game and an understanding of all 11 players’ roll on the field. He wanted to make sure we all had a great grasp of that offense so we could all work as a cohesive unit in the most difficult of situations on Saturday’s. He did a fantastic job of doing that as an OC. I also liked that he knew we were all 18-22 year old kids with the attention span that would last a little less than half an hour at a time. He was always great at supplementing those 2 and half hour meetings with breaks where one of us would have to get up and do an impression of another player or do some stand up comedy. Something to get our mind off of film for a minute. That was a huge hit during the Dicky Lyons era.
Tyler Montell: I asked Gregg Doyel this, but several gossip sites have reported that the hit TV show Entourage was written about your life, specifically the “Johnny Drama” character. Any comments? I have known you a long time, and I don’t really see that.
Ross Bogue: No, I don’t have a brother who was the star of Martin Scorsese’s, Gatsby. And no, I’ve never starred in a hit TV show by the name of Viking Quest. I do know a Kentucky beat writer for this exact blog that looks eerily similar to Macaulay Culkin though.
Tyler Montell: I know you lived with fellow Wildcats Tim Masthay and Will “The Hillbilly Rockstar” Fidler. What was that experience like?
Ross Bogue: Masthay was my freshman year roommate and I can honestly say he is one of the most genuine, humble, and hard working people I know. I lived with Fidler my junior and senior year and I can honestly say he is exactly what you aforementioned: A Hillbilly Rockstar.
Tyler Montell: You live in Chicagoland, right? I saw the play, ‘Chicago.’ Is the play very much like the city?
Ross Bogue: After reading the synopsis of ‘Chicago’ on IMDB, the answer to your second question is an unequivocal, no. However, I did just move up to Chicago in April and it’s been a great summer so far in the Windy City. That being said, I can’t wait to make it back this fall for some home games to cheer on Joseph Phillips and Team Operation Win. See you at Commonwealth!