08 10 2004 Notebook

ATHENS — Georgia's freshman linebackers already are getting plenty of attention because of need at that position, but the defensive backs probably aren't far behind.

"DBs are going to have an opportunity just by virtue of the fact that we're not very deep there," Coach Mark Richt said.

The Bulldogs signed four defensive backs in the fall but only got three of them into school -- Ramarcus Brown of East Point, Kelin Johnson of Daytona Beach, Fla., and Antonio Sims for Hiram. Brown is working at cornerback; Sims is at safety, and Johnson is working at both positions.

Johnson, the most physically impressive of the trio in the team's summer workouts, was recruited to play safety, where depth is particularly thin. He has played behind rover Greg Blue in the first two days of practice.

"If you're real serious about the situation, you have to take the job," he said. "It's all up to the coaches. All I can do is keep working hard. (But) I feel I can play if they put me in there."

Mary Persons graduate Tra Battle is currently working as the team's third safety and will be the starter in the nickel package, Richt said.

"He's playing really well," Richt said.

KICKING LEADER: There is no kicking depth chart yet, but it sounds like walk-on Brandon Coutu is the early leader. "In my opinion, Coutu has been very, very consistent and accurate,"

Richt said. "They are all making them, but his are a little more down the middle."

STILL WAITING: True freshman offensive lineman Chester Adams missed his second straight day of practice as he waits for medical clearance.

He is expected to return Wednesday, said Richt, who declined to discuss specifics of Adams' ailment.

He did say that Ron Courson, the team's director of sports medicine, has given him no indication there is a serious problem.

"We do a lot of things for completeness' sake around here," Richt said. "That's Ron's favorite word."

ANOTHER SUSPENSION: Reserve defensive back Mike Gilliam has been suspended from the first game for a violation of team rules. He joins Odell Thurman (three games), Jeremy Thomas (two games) and Gordon Ely-Kelso (one game) on the suspended list.

THE IDOLS: Former Central star Tony Gilbert and fellow ex-Bulldog linebackers Boss Bailey and Will Witherspoon haven't worn the a Georgia jersey for a while now, but they're certainly not forgotten. Defensive coordinator Brian VanGorder, who is also a former linebacker and the team's linebackers coach, still uses them as an example for the team's current linebackers.

Senior Arnold Harrison said he looks up to Gilbert, Bailey and Witherspoon and tell his teammates "in the intermissions of Coach VanGorder talking about them."

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