Marvin Gardens set

Updated: 6:15 p.m.

The NFL preseason schedule isn't kind to Georgetown College, but Bengals head coach Marvin Lewis has softened the blow with six nights of practices and scrimmages when his sixth training camp opens in 20 days at the Georgetown, Ky., school.

Since the Bengals and Packers are the last two teams to start their preseason with an Aug. 11 ESPN game, the first of the 19 practices takes place on Monday, July 28, instead of over the weekend.

But Stacey Varney and Eric Ward, co-directors of the Bengals training camp, like the schedule in the face of a sluggish economy that puts a big question mark next to attendance.

"The fans love the night practices. It's so much cooler and we think a lot of them will decide to come down for the whole day," said Varney, director of the college's conference center. "Plus, the night practices allow our sponsors to hold their events.

BENGALS 2008 TRAINING CAMP SCHEDULE
Date Practice Times Notes
Mon., July 28
OPENING DAY
Session 1:
9-11 a.m.
Session 2:
7-9 p.m.
Complex opens 8 a.m. and closes 30 minutes after practice ends

RE-OPENS 5:30 p.m. and closes 30 minutes after practice ends

Tue., July 29 Session 1:
3-5 p.m.
Complex opens 2 p.m. and closes 30 minutes after practice ends
Wed., July 30 Session 1:
9-11 a.m.
Session 2:
7-9 p.m.
Complex opens 8 a.m. and closes 30 minutes after practice ends

RE-OPENS 5:30 p.m. and closes 30 minutes after practice ends

Thu., July 31 Session 1:
3-5 p.m.
Complex opens 2 p.m. and closes 30 minutes after practice ends
Fri., Aug. 1 Session 1:
9-11 a.m.
Session 2:
6:30-8:30 p.m.
*Intrasquad Scrimmage
Complex opens 8 a.m. and closes 30 minutes after practice ends

RE-OPENS 4:30 p.m. and closes 30 minutes after scrimmage ends

Sat., Aug. 2 Black-Orange Mock Game:
1-2:30 p.m.
Complex opens 11 a.m. and closes 30 minutes after mock game ends
Sun., Aug. 3
COMPLEX CLOSED
Mon., Aug. 4 Session 1:
9-11 a.m.
Session 2:
7-9 p.m.
Complex opens 8 a.m. and closes 30 minutes after practice ends

RE-OPENS 5:30 p.m. and closes 30 minutes after practice ends

Tue., Aug. 5 Session 1:
3-5 p.m.
Complex opens 2 p.m. and closes 30 minutes after practice ends
Wed., Aug. 6 Session 1:
9-11 a.m.
Session 2:
7-9 p.m.
Complex opens 8 a.m. and closes 30 minutes after practice ends

RE-OPENS 5:30 p.m. and closes 30 minutes after practice ends

Thu., Aug. 7 Session 1:
4-5:30 p.m.
Complex opens 3 p.m. and closes 30 minutes after practice ends
Fri., Aug. 8 Session 1:
3-5 p.m.
Complex opens 2 p.m. and closes 30 minutes after practice ends
Sat., Aug. 9 Session 1:
3-5 p.m.
Complex opens 2 p.m. and closes 30 minutes after practice ends
Sun., Aug. 10
COMPLEX CLOSED
Mon., Aug. 11
COMPLEX CLOSED (preseason game at Green Bay)
Tue., Aug. 12
COMPLEX CLOSED
Wed., Aug. 13 Session 1:
7-9 p.m.
Complex opens 5:30 p.m. and closes 30 minutes after practice ends
Thu., Aug. 14 Session 1:
3-4:30 p.m.
Complex opens 2 p.m. and closes 30 minutes after practice ends
Fri., Aug. 15
COMPLEX CLOSED, LAST DAY OF CAMP
ALL PRACTICE DATES AND TIMES ARE TENTATIVE & SUBJECT TO CHANGE

PARKING: $15.00 per Car; $25 per School Bus, RVs & Small Passenger Vans; $50.00 per Large Bus. ADMISSION TO PRACTICE IS FREE

SPECIAL NOTE: No pets, No firearms * No Alcoholic Beverages allowed on the premises; No outside food or beverages allowed inside the stadium

The Bengals open July 28 with one of their six day-night double-headers with practices from 9-11 in the morning and 7-9 at night. The big sell, a Lewis invention, has always been the Friday, Aug. 1 intrasquad scrimmage in pads at 6:30 p.m. followed the next day by the 1 p.m. Black-Orange Mock Game without pads.

"Coach Lewis has always been receptive to our needs and has always accommodated us with those night practices and that first weekend with the scrimmage and Mock Game has been extremely popular. That was his idea," said Ward, Georgetown's athletic director. "I think players like to practice in front of fans, too. But the first responsibility is getting this place ready so that Coach Lewis can get whatever he needs to get done to get his team ready for the season. That's the first priority."

lewis_marvin.jpg

Lewis

Another reason the nights are popular is because those are the practices that Lewis usually sets aside for players to sign autographs anywhere from 20 to 30 minutes after the workout.

Ward doesn't see any changes on that front (or after the Mock Game), although the school isn't officially calling any post-practice events an autograph session.

"For the last few years there has been a little bit of a change in attitude and the players have been great about signing after each of the practices," Ward said. "But you can't guarantee one for everyone. When people call and ask about it, I tell them to try to come to one of the low days when a big crowd isn't expected."

Ward said the school is still looking for a sponsor for the popular fireworks night and hopes to have an announcement in a couple of days.

Another bow to the slumping economy has been sticking to the same parking rates, which is $15 per car.

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