Notebook 08 20 2004

ATHENS — Freshman Andy Bailey continued the week of his life Friday and took what may be his final step toward winning Georgia's starting place-kicking job.

"We put them under pressure, and he hit every single one," said assistant coach David Johnson, who coordinates the Bulldogs' field goal team. "He's really helped himself today."

"Andy Bailey is in the lead," Coach Mark Richt said. "Right now, I can't say who the starter will be. We may have an answer (today), we may say we need to spend a little more time."

Bailey hit every field goal he attempted during a kicking scrimmage at Sanford Stadium, making him perfect in the last two days while facing a live rush.

"This week has been tremendous," said Bailey, who is on scholarship. "It helped me out a lot showing the coaches what I can do. I feel a lot more comfortable now about winning the job.

"I don't know if I've won it yet, but I've had a great week."

Last week at this time, walk-on freshman Brandon Coutu was the leader for the job, but he hasn't kept up with Bailey's perfect pace. He missed one field goal Friday. Still, he said, he thinks he remains in the running for the starting job.

"I don't think I had the greatest week I've had all year," he said.

"(But) I don't know if it's coming to an end any time soon." Coutu said his leg is tired after weeks and weeks of kicking, and Richt said he's noticed Coutu's kicks have begun to tail off at the end, which they didn't do in the beginning of camp.

"Brandon is not kicking poorly by any means, but Andy has just been sharper," Richt said. "Early on it looked like Coutu might run away with it, but the momentum changed."

Coutu appears to be the frontrunner for the starting kickoff job.

"I've been working with No. 1s," he said. "We'll see how that goes."

"We have a ways to go there," Richt said. "I wasn't pleased with what I saw there (Friday)."

Dublin's Brian Mimbs is competing with Coutu for the kickoff job, as is walk-on Ben Wilson, who was added to the roster Thursday.

UNDER THE RADAR: With all the attention on Max Jean-Gilles' move to guard, the health of Josh Brock and the Bulldogs' tackle rotation, sophomore guard Nick Jones hasn't gotten much fanfare in the preseason.

But he hasn't escaped the notice of offensive line coach Neil Callaway.

"Nick Jones has had the best camp to this point," Callaway said.

Jones, 6-foot-3, 286 pounds, started the last five games of 2003 at center, but has been moved to guard to fill the void left there by injuries to Brock and Bartley Miller. Brock's chances of getting his starting job back disappeared when he was injured earlier this week, but it doesn't sound like it would have mattered anyway.

STILL SWOONING? Although junior defensive tackle Darrius Swain only makes it through an entire practice about once a week due to his weight problems, Richt predicts Swain will help the Bulldogs this year.

Swain was moved to offensive line during bowl practice and worked there throughout spring practice, but he was moved back this fall due to lack of depth on the defensive line.

"He's doing all right," Richt said. "At first he was like, ‘Oh, no.' But he's had a pretty good attitude."

Swain is working as a third-team tackle now but could give Georgia a few good snaps a game by plugging holes with his 366 pounds.

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