ATHENS - Brian Mimbs has overtaken Peachtree Ridge grad Drew Butler for Georgia's punting job. For how long remains to be seen.
Check back during Saturday's opener against Oklahoma State at Sanford Stadium because coach Mark Richt said Tuesday that both punters could be used against the Cowboys.
"Mimbs will punt the first punt," Richt said. "I can say that much. Butler will be on the ready. I say that not because we think Mimbs is shaky, but it's just been very close competition. When the competition is that close, you kind of begin competing in the ballgame and not so much in practice."
Mimbs, a junior walk-on, has become more consistent and reduced the time it takes to get off punts in the two weeks since Richt said Butler had the edge in the competition. Saving a redshirt season for Butler, a freshman and the son of former Georgia standout kicker Kevin Butler, is not a factor because he does not need work on his fundamentals.
"This is not over by any stretch of the imagination," Mimbs said. "I've still got to go out there and prove myself and still compete. It can go either way. There's no telling."
Mimbs isn't concerned about the pressure of having to perform with only one punt guaranteed.
He didn't play in the first 10 games last season before holding the final three. He kicked off twice against Georgia Tech and executed the successful onside kick against Virginia Tech in the bowl game.
"I know last year that I got put in for one play in a couple of games so I guess it's going to be the same situation," said Mimbs.
Freshmen on fast track
Six freshmen played last season for Georgia.
That number could be surpassed on Saturday.
"Up to seven freshmen will play in the game," Richt said.
Offensive linemen Trinton Sturdivant and Clint Boling, tight end Bruce Figgins and linebacker Rennie Curran, a Brookwood grad, appear to be certainties. Cornerback Vance Cuff, offensive guard Justin Anderson and Butler are possibilities.
"It's going to be fun watching some of these guys we've just never seen play before," Richt said.
Georgia's offensive front could, at one point Saturday, include freshman left tackle Sturdivant, redshirt freshman guard Chirs Davis, freshman right guard Clint Boling and freshman tight end Figgins at the same time.
"Does it concern me?" Richt said. "A little bit. I've liked the way they practice. They are very talented young men that work hard. They're a little bit undersized. Really, every one of them other than Figgins."
Richt said Georgia could play a combined 18 to 20 first-year freshmen and redshirt freshmen.
Offensive line plans include Vance
Georgia is planning to use at least seven offensive linemen Saturday, including junior college transfer Vince Vance at tackle.
Sturdivant is in line to be the first freshman offensive lineman to start a season opener since left tackle Mike Fellows in 1989. Ben Harden isn't slated to play Saturday. Anderson is a possibility.
Quarterback Matthew Stafford said the offensive line has gotten tougher mentally and physically.
"It's been going a lot better as of late," Stafford said. "If we can protect, I think we'll be pretty tough to beat."
Weston still holding down starting spot
Contrary to the depth chart released Tuesday, sophomore Kade Weston remains in the starting lineup at defensive tackle along with Jeff Owens, defensive line coach Rodney Garner said.
Geno Atkins, Corvey Irvin and Jarius Wynn complete what Garner expects will be a five-player rotation at the position.
"We'll roll those five guys and see how it comes out," Garner said.
"They're going to play early and they're going to play a lot. We'll see who's hot and who's not."
This and that
Receiver Kris Durham expects to return to practice today after missing his second straight workout because of headaches following a return from a concussion. The sophomore was expected to be in Georgia's seven-player receiver rotation but has only practiced twice since the first scrimmage. "I can't play if I don't practice and I know that," Durham said. ... With kickoffs pushed back to the 30-yard line this season, Richt said Georgia will receive if it wins the coin toss. "In talking to the coaches across our league, I think everyone of them said we're going to take the ball," Richt said. "Coach (Steve) Spurrier said 'I was right all along.'" ... Asher Allen has spent most of the preseason as the main kickoff returner, according to Thomas Brown who also is rotating in along with Knowshon Moreno. ... Collins Hill grad Brandon Coutu and Ben Wilson practiced kickoffs on Tuesday. Bo Stansell was in a non-contact jersey and did not kick.
SideBar: OKLAHOMA ST. AT GEORGIA
' When: Saturday, 6:45 p.m.
' Where: Athens
' TV/Radio: ESPN2/750-AM