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August 10, 2008

Two veterans moving to not-so-new positions

Brandon King and Sean Sester are right back where they started.

No, it has nothing to do with both players' recoveries from shoulder and back surgery, respectively, but rather their positions.

On Sunday, Purdue's first day of Training Camp 2008, King was a cornerback and Sester a right offensive tackle, positions each played earlier in their careers before starting last season elsewhere. In 2007, King was a safety and Sester a left tackle.

Coach Joe Tiller indicated both moves are long-term ones.

King, who missed the spring but knew then of plans to move him to corner, is excited about the move.

"That's what I like," he said. "Safety's fun, but at corner, you're in on a lot more action."

Sunday, King and junior [db]David Pender[/db] took first-team snaps at cornerback, while junior college newcomer Dwight Mclean got some opportunities in King's place as a starting safety, alongside Torri Williams.

"We're anxious to see how Mclean does at safety. We think he can play," Tiller said. "... We felt like we can always slide Brandon back to safety. But because of him missing the spring, we feel like if we don't get him some reps at corner now, we don't know if we could move him to corner later on."

Coaches said in the spring that King's physical demeanor would be a welcome sight at corner.

"I think that's definitely what I bring," King said, "especially in man-to-man coverage. I think that's something I can take advantage of. Even against bigger receivers ... they may be bigger than me, but I'm probably stronger than them."

While King expressed excitement over his return move, Sester just kind of shrugged a figurative shoulder.

"I can play both," Sester said. "We'll see what happens."

Sester started every game at right tackle in 2005 and '06 before switching sides last season.

Tiller suggested the move is set in stone.

"After watching him last year, (line coach Danny Hope) - and I agree with him - thought he's a better right tackle than he is a left tackle," Tiller said.

Tiller said that Zach Jones - now a left tackle after starting last season on the right side - played well enough at the end of last season to be trusted on the left side.

"When it was all said and done," Tiller said, "of the guys that returned, the guy who was playing the best was Jones, so we figured, 'What better time than now?' to switch him to the left side and put Sean back on the right side, where he started his first couple years."

Though Tiller said his team is overwhelmingly healthy after an injury-riddled spring, Sester will be brought along slowly during camp after he had a bulging disk in his back repaired in the spring. Sester said it wasn't but just a couple of weeks ago that he began feeling completely healthy.

He'll likely practice only once during two-a-day sessions.

"He's the only one with an asterisk next to his name," Tiller said. "... He's a veteran player and we want to be smart with how we manage him."


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