Sugar Bowl: Harris to start for Bailey

Kenneth Harris

ATLANTA – Starting in the Sugar Bowl will be nice, but, in the bigger picture, Georgia wide receiver Kenneth Harris is more worried about spring practice.

Monday's game, in which he will start for injured split end Sean Bailey, could propel Harris into spring workouts and an expanded role in 2006. This year, the 6-foot-3, 210-pound redshirt freshman caught 11 passes for 216 yards.

"There's no doubt about it, if he has a good week of practice and a good game, then this is a tremendous boost for him," wide receivers coach John Eason said.

Kenneth Harris is one of the team's most reliable pass catchers but never surpassed Bailey on the depth chart because Bailey runs better routes and is faster, Eason said. Harris' route-running has improved, but he still isn't expected to be the deep threat Bailey was simply because he's slower.

"I really don't consider myself a deep threat," Harris said. "I've just been playing my role. I guess in this game I might step up and try to do that. I want to take advantage of my opportunity."

Bailey will have surgery in January to repair a torn ACL and will miss spring practice. He said he plans to return in 2006 but didn't rule out the possibility of redshirting if his knee isn't healthy.

"It's good to know that I haven't redshirted yet so I have that year," he said.

Backup receiver T.J. Gartrell is doubtful for the Sugar Bowl due to a hip flexor injury. He did not practice Wednesday. Peach County's A.J. Bryant will back up Harris at split end.

"We thought by now T.J. would be practicing," Coach Mark Richt said.

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