March 17, 2009

Tripp adjusting well

The move back to defensive end from the offensive line hasn't been that big of a deal for Kiante Tripp.

After all, that's the position he signed to play with for the Bulldogs back in 2006. There is, however, one aspect he's still adjusting to.

"That comes from the back kick instead of going forward. Two hundred and ninety pounds going forward is a lot to be dealing with," Tripp laughed. "Right now that's the biggest difference for me. But man, once I get those plays down, it might be over for the offensive line."

Joking aside, Tripp does bring up an interesting point.

As a 290 pounder who has been timed at 4.7 seconds in the 40-yard dash, that combination could potentially pose an interesting dilemma for opposing offensive tackles to handle.

"Basically, that's what we have in mind," Tripp said. "There aren't too many 290-pound guys playing defensive end who can run pretty good, too. As soon as I get those plays, I think I'll be pretty good."

Tuesday, Tripp was running with the second unit at defensive end behind starters Justin Houston and Demarcus Dobbs.

Granted, that was likely due to injuries to several players at the spot, including starter Roderick Battle. Still, Tripp said he feels more comfortable than he has in over a year after his tumultuous 2008 campaign which saw him start the first three games at left tackle before a move to tight until his switch back to the offensive line where he played until his most recent move back to defensive end.

Tripp admits the constant changing of positions made it difficult to focus on doing one thing well.

"It is a burden off my shoulders but I know I've still got a lot of work to do," he said. "I've still got several plays to go back over and I've got to get back to that defensive mentality."

That's where Houston and Dobbs come in.

Tripp said the pair has been instrumental in helping him readjust to playing defensive end.

"I love those guys. They're trying their hardest to get me back into that D-end mentality. If I mess up they'll correct me," he said. "I'm well coached. I'll take my coaching tips from anybody. Anybody has something to say, I'll listen."

So far, Tripp said head coach Mark Richt has given him some of his best advice.

"It's all about hustling because that's what Coach Richt wants me to do," he said. "He's not so much worried about technique. He just wants me to hustle and get after it so that's what I try to do."

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