Bulldogs Blog

Coutu happy with kicking team's readiness

He hopes it's not bad luck to admit it, but Brandon Coutu believes Georgia's place-kicking team is game-ready with the season less than two weeks away.

Although he's breaking in his third holder, Brian Mimbs, in as many years, Coutu said his comfort level with Mimbs and snapper Jeff Henson is high.

"I don't want to jinx myself, but I think we're as far along as we've ever been at this point," Coutu said. "It seems like every year I have a new holder, but I definitely feel good. We've got the snapper back and he's done a great job, Jeff, and I think Mimbs has done a good job."

Unlike last season's holder, punter Gordon Ely-Kelso -- who was brand-new to the job at this point last year -- Mimbs has already served as a holder in the regular season. He held last season when Georgia's coaches were experimenting with Ely-Kelso at place-kicker while Coutu was out with an injured hamstring.

"It was nice that he got a few holds last year when Gordon kicked, so it's nice to see him get in there," Coutu said. "It gives me a little confidence in him knowing he's done it before."

Redshirt quandary

This is the point of the preseason where the coach's decisions are near on whether to redshirt true freshmen -- and the decision is almost certain in some cases.

Coach Mark Richt said last week that linebacker Rennie Curran will most likely play this season, as will offensive tackle Trinton Sturdivant. He discussed where some of the other freshmen stand after Monday's practice.

Richt expects both former Shaw High tight end Bruce Figgins and cornerback Vance Cuff to play this season, while tight end Aron White and linebacker Charles White are on the bubble.

Among those who appear headed for a redshirt are receivers Israel Troupe and Walter Hill.

"I wouldn't say redshirt, but I would say ... they're not in the two-deep right now," Richt said. "Things could change, but right now they're not."

Tailback Caleb King has missed most of the last week with a hamstring injury and didn't practice again on Monday. Richt said the injury prevents coaches from seeing enough of the star recruit to determine if he's ready to play.

"It's tough to know," Richt said. "His race isn't against running ability and athleticism and all that, his race is against knowledge, just learning what to do, getting comfortable with the role that we would be giving him. You need repetitions to get good at it, and he just hasn't been able to get 'em right now."

Injury update

Offensive lineman Scott Haverkamp returned from a sprained ankle last week, but went back on the shelf again Monday when he reinjured the ankle.

Richt doesn't think the injury was especially serious, but it could keep the junior college transfer out for the next several days.

"We probably won't do anything with him until after Thursday's scrimmage and maybe even wait till Monday, just depending on how he does," Richt said.

Clint Boling slid into Haverkamp's spot at right guard, where he'll compete with fellow true freshman Justin Anderson until Haverkamp's return.

In more positive news, cornerback Bryan Evans returned to full practice Monday after missing two weeks with a hamstring injury.

Evans joked about making the mistake of trying to cover lightning-quick receiver Mikey Henderson in his first live snap, but he went the distance on Monday, including all 1-on-1 and 7-on-7 drills.

He said he's close to being back at full speed.

"I'm not gonna say I opened it up -- I'm still tentative," Evans said. "But other than that it was a pretty good day."

Redshirt freshman offensive lineman Kiante Tripp returned to full practice Monday after spending Saturday in a green no-contact jersey thanks to a sprained ankle suffered in last Friday's scrimmage. Defensive lineman Jarius Wynn continues to be slowed by a groin injury and Antavious Coates is struggling with sore knees. Coates practiced in green on Monday.

Figgins got some work in Monday's practice after struggling with a leg injury in recent days.

"He looks decent," Richt said. "I don't think he's full speed yet, but Bruce, I'd say there's a high-percentage chance Bruce will play (this season)."

Also wearing green Monday were offensive tackle Josh Davis (shoulder), offensive lineman Chris Little (wrist), cornerback Thomas Flowers (shoulder), offensive lineman Tanner Strickland (foot sprain), tight end Tripp Chandler (ribs) and safety John Knox (heat).

Hot stuff

Georgia's coaches faced quite a quandary when deciding which of its four practice fields to work on Monday.

Would it be the two natural grass surfaces that have hardened in recent weeks thanks to the combination of heat and little rain? Or would it be the two FieldTurf surfaces, whose artificial composition would raise the already sky-high temperatures on the field.

Richt elected for the players to work out on the FieldTurf Monday, where the heat index reached a piping 109 degrees.

"The grass is not getting as much water as you'd like. The grass fields are getting harder because of the lack of rain, so we decided to go on the FieldTurf -- and it's hotter," Richt said. "We chose a little safer surface, we thought, and a little warmer temperature."

Quick hits

Richt said the decision on the team's kickoff man has yet to be made. Coutu and walk-ons Bo Stansell and Ben Wilson are competing for the job, but Richt called their performances "a little bit erratic" thus far. ... Richt said he left a phone message for former Georgia quarterback D.J. Shockley, but had not spoken with him since the former Georgia quarterback suffered a season-ending knee injury on Friday. Shockley was in contention to be the Atlanta Falcons' backup quarterback, but suffered ACL and MCL injuries while making a cut on a scramble during Friday's preseason game against Buffalo. ... The Princeton Review provides a good excuse for Georgia's handful of alcohol-related arrests in the last year. In the magazine's "Best of 366 Colleges" edition which goes on sale today, Georgia ranks fifth in the nation among top party schools. The magazine bases its findings on surveys of 120,000 college students conducted in the 2006-07 school year. Georgia trails West Virginia, Ole Miss, Texas and Florida in the party school rankings.

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