Who will replace Ely-Kelso?

ATHENS – So far, Brian Mimbs' only contribution to Georgia's football team has been a niftily executed onside kick that helped beat Virginia Tech in the Peach Bowl.

Not a bad memory to take from college, but Mimbs, a graduate of Dublin High School, wants to add to it this year. The junior walk-on is competing with true freshman Drew Butler this fall for the starting punting job.

Butler brings more name recognition to the competition because he's a scholarship player and the son of former Georgia kicking great Kevin Butler, but Mimbs has an edge in experience he hopes to exploit. For three years, including a redshirt season in 2004, Mimbs has worked to get his consistency to a collegiate level.

"They've always been on me about that," he said. "That's just something I've always had to work on, and I feel like I've gotten a little bit better."

Mimbs -- a two-time, first-team All-Middle Georgia selection -- was "pretty decent" in Georgia's first kicking scrimmage of the season, held Saturday at Sanford Stadium, but he doesn't have any indication of who's the leader for the punt job, he said.

"We're both punting the ball pretty good," he said. "They'll tell us when they're ready."

Mimbs didn't punt any last year, but he averaged 43.3 yards on three kicks in the spring game. Butler was the ranked the No. 9 high school punter in the nation last year by Scout.com. He averaged 40 yards per punt as a junior at Peachtree Ridge High School

It might take until the week before Georgia's opener on Sept. 1 to separate Mimbs and Butler, Coach Mark Richt said.

"Right now I think they're pretty even," he said. "I think both are capable. We've just got to keep going."

The Bulldogs next kicking scrimmage is Wednesday morning. The competition may be decided by "operation time", Richt said, meaning the amount of time it takes the kicker to get the ball kicked from the time he catches it.

Place-kicker Brandon Coutu has punted in practice and could handle the duty, but he hopes he's only needed as an emergency backup, he said.

"I think at this level, it's tough to do both things," he said. "It's one thing in high school, but at this level to be great at two things is really difficult. I'd like to focus on one, but whatever helps the team."

Mimbs "really has stepped up this camp" but Butler also is punting well, Coutu said.

"It's amazing," said assistant coach David Johnson, who coordinates the punt team. "They really are close."

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