Tennessee native at home with Dawgs

ATHENS – There is only one player from the state of Tennessee on Georgia's roster. And as it turns out he's from Athens, Tennessee.

When Georgia recruited Andy Bailey they knew they would have one season to get him ready to take over for Billy Bennett. Bennett, the all-time leading scorer in Southeastern Conference history, is short, dark headed, and has curly hair.

Bailey is the opposite. He's tall with straight dirty blonde hair.

Beyond that, the two also hail from hometowns with the same name: Athens. Bennett, a Classic City native, walked on with the team in 2000 and won the kicking job one game into the season. Bailey, whose town is responsible for Mayfield milk, won the starting kicking job at the end of fall camp.

The major difference between the two now is that Bennett has hit a pressure packed kick, and Bailey has not.

"We really haven't gotten him into a situation where he's had some adversity really," said Georgia head coach Mark Richt. "He's missed a couple long kicks but they haven't really made a difference in the game. I'm sure one day we'll be in a situation where he'll miss a kick that could have been the difference in a game and we'll see how he reacts. Or maybe early in a game he misses a crucial kick and has another chance to kick it later on in the game, and we'll see how he does."

Bailey said he grew up watching college football, but did not have a team he cheered for. Instead, his favorite team was England's Manchester United Soccer Club.

"I wasn't a big college football fan in high school," said Bailey, "but I do recall Georgia winning. I remember watching the game where David Greene threw that pass to win in Neyland a couple of years ago."

Bailey, who was back home in Tennessee during Georgia's off week two weeks ago, said some of the locals gave him grief about the upcoming game. "They told me to think of them when Tennessee was kicking my butt," Bailey said. Bailey traveled to Knoxville that weekend to get new Nike kicking shoes. He debuted those shoes against LSU Saturday. Previously he kicked in Adidas' Copas soccer cleats. He painted over the three striped logo so as not to allow the logo to appear.

Bailey said he wore the 2003 Georgia-Tennessee game t-shirt back home. "I am sure they don't like it," he said.

Athens, located between Chattanooga and Knoxville on I-75, is a small town according to Bailey. But he took exception to being asked what the "livestock to people ratio in Athens, Tennessee is. "Come on now! I really don't know that ratio – it's not like you blink and you miss it," he said.


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