Richt Celebrates Kiane Tripp's move

ATHENS - Moving Kiante Tripp from defensive end to offensive tackle is cause for celebration, Georgia coach Mark Richt said.

It's the equivalent, Richt said, of receiving a verbal commitment from one of the nation's top high school offensive linemen. His point is that Tripp has the body type and athleticability to be a superstar offensive tackle. But it looks like there may be another parallel in the comparison: Tripp may not be ready tocontribute to the Bulldogs until 2008.

Tripp is excited about the move and his chances to play, but it's a lot to ask for a player to learn offensive tackle, generally considered the second-toughest position to play behind quarterback, in fewer than 20 practices. It's the equivalent, Richt said, of receiving a verbal commitment from one of the nation's top high school offensive linemen. His point is that Tripp has the body type and athleticability to be a superstar offensive tackle. But it looks like there may be another parallel in the comparison: Tripp may not be ready tocontribute to the Bulldogs until 2008.

Tripp is excited about the move and his chances to play, but it's a lot to ask for a player to learn offensive tackle, generally considered the second-toughest position to play behind quarterback, in fewer than 20 practices. Defensive end Rod Battle has taken a few practice snaps against his former colleague since the switch. How close is Tripp to being game ready? "I don't think I want to say," Battle said.

The Bulldogs have decided they probably will leave Chester Adams at tackle this season, Richt said Thursday, meaning Tripp has been pushed to third team right tackle, a spot from which it will be tough to get on the field.

Still, Tripp is optimistic about his future on the offensive line, as is offensive line coach Stacy Searels, according to Tripp. Searels, who has refused to speak to the media this fall,had been planting the idea of a switch in Tripp's mind all fall.

"Every day Coach Searels would come up and say, ‘Hey man, I'll make you some money, I'll makeyou some money,'" said Tripp, who understood his coach to mean there was a better NFL future for him on the offensive line than the defensive line.

Offensive coordinator Mike Bobo already has told Tripp the tale of Chris Terry, who was moved from defensive line to offensive tackle two years into his college career and was selected with the 34th pick in the 1999 NFL Draft.

"He (made) money, so it's looking good for me right now," Tripp said.

The first hurdle for Tripp, who has switched from jersey No. 94 to No. 64, is weight gain.

"He has to get a lot bigger," Battle said, "but he's got great feet, so that's a plus. He'svery athletic."

Tripp weighs 270 pounds and wants to get to 290. He doesn't think that will be a problem, hesaid, especially after getting a tip from offensive guard Chris Davis during his first meeting with the offensive linemen.

"When I first got in there (he said), ‘Peanut butter and jelly man,'" Tripp said.

Davis ate as many as three peanut butter and jelly sandwiches a day to get to a size where hecould play guard. While he's packing on the pounds, Tripp will have to gorge his mind as well.

Learning the Bulldogs offense is no small task.

"I caught on pretty quick (the first day of practice)," he said. "The coaches were really impressed with how I caught on. I'm real good with plays, just picturing it in my mind. I've still got a lot to learn. I'm going to get in my book every night and study and do whatever Ican do help my team."

Battle was surprised Tripp made the move because Tripp used to not take to kindly to beingteased about moving, he said.

"Sometimes people would joke around with him about it and he got a little offended," Battle said.

Who knows? Maybe he'll surprise Battle again and be on the field Sept. 1 against Oklahoma State.

Defensive end Rod Battle has taken a few practice snaps against his former colleague since the switch. How close is Tripp to being game ready? It's the equivalent, Richt said, of receiving a verbal commitment from one of the nation's top high school offensive linemen. His point is that Tripp has the body type and athleticability to be a superstar offensive tackle. But it looks like there may be another parallel in the comparison: Tripp may not be ready tocontribute to the Bulldogs until 2008.

Tripp is excited about the move and his chances to play, but it's a lot to ask for a player to learn offensive tackle, generally considered the second-toughest position to play behind quarterback, in fewer than 20 practices. Defensive end Rod Battle has taken a few practice snaps against his former colleague since the switch. How close is Tripp to being game ready? "I don't think I want to say," Battle said.

The Bulldogs have decided they probably will leave Chester Adams at tackle this season, Richt said Thursday, meaning Tripp has been pushed to third team right tackle, a spot from which it will be tough to get on the field.

Still, Tripp is optimistic about his future on the offensive line, as is offensive line coach Stacy Searels, according to Tripp. Searels, who has refused to speak to the media this fall,had been planting the idea of a switch in Tripp's mind all fall.

"Every day Coach Searels would come up and say, ‘Hey man, I'll make you some money, I'll makeyou some money,'" said Tripp, who understood his coach to mean there was a better NFL future for him on the offensive line than the defensive line.

Offensive coordinator Mike Bobo already has told Tripp the tale of Chris Terry, who was moved from defensive line to offensive tackle two years into his college career and was selected with the 34th pick in the 1999 NFL Draft.

"He (made) money, so it's looking good for me right now," Tripp said.

The first hurdle for Tripp, who has switched from jersey No. 94 to No. 64, is weight gain.

"He has to get a lot bigger," Battle said, "but he's got great feet, so that's a plus. He'svery athletic."

Tripp weighs 270 pounds and wants to get to 290. He doesn't think that will be a problem, hesaid, especially after getting a tip from offensive guard Chris Davis during his first meeting with the offensive linemen.

"When I first got in there (he said), ‘Peanut butter and jelly man,'" Tripp said.

Davis ate as many as three peanut butter and jelly sandwiches a day to get to a size where hecould play guard. While he's packing on the pounds, Tripp will have to gorge his mind as well.

Learning the Bulldogs offense is no small task.

"I caught on pretty quick (the first day of practice)," he said. "The coaches were really impressed with how I caught on. I'm real good with plays, just picturing it in my mind. I've still got a lot to learn. I'm going to get in my book every night and study and do whatever Ican do help my team."

Battle was surprised Tripp made the move because Tripp used to not take to kindly to beingteased about moving, he said.

"Sometimes people would joke around with him about it and he got a little offended," Battle said.

Who knows? Maybe he'll surprise Battle again and be on the field Sept. 1 against Oklahoma State.

"I don't think I want to say," Battle said.

The Bulldogs have decided they probably will leave Chester Adams at tackle this season, Richt said Thursday, meaning Tripp has been pushed to third team right tackle, a spot from which it will be tough to get on the field.

Still, Tripp is optimistic about his future on the offensive line, as is offensive line coach Stacy Searels, according to Tripp. Searels, who has refused to speak to the media this fall,had been planting the idea of a switch in Tripp's mind all fall.

"Every day Coach Searels would come up and say, ‘Hey man, I'll make you some money, I'll makeyou some money,'" said Tripp, who understood his coach to mean there was a better NFL future for him on the offensive line than the defensive line.

Offensive coordinator Mike Bobo already has told Tripp the tale of Chris Terry, who was moved from defensive line to offensive tackle two years into his college career and was selected with the 34th pick in the 1999 NFL Draft.

"He (made) money, so it's looking good for me right now," Tripp said.

The first hurdle for Tripp, who has switched from jersey No. 94 to No. 64, is weight gain.

"He has to get a lot bigger," Battle said, "but he's got great feet, so that's a plus. He'svery athletic."

Tripp weighs 270 pounds and wants to get to 290. He doesn't think that will be a problem, hesaid, especially after getting a tip from offensive guard Chris Davis during his first meeting with the offensive linemen.

"When I first got in there (he said), ‘Peanut butter and jelly man,'" Tripp said.

Davis ate as many as three peanut butter and jelly sandwiches a day to get to a size where hecould play guard. While he's packing on the pounds, Tripp will have to gorge his mind as well.

Learning the Bulldogs offense is no small task.

"I caught on pretty quick (the first day of practice)," he said. "The coaches were really impressed with how I caught on. I'm real good with plays, just picturing it in my mind. I've still got a lot to learn. I'm going to get in my book every night and study and do whatever Ican do help my team."

Battle was surprised Tripp made the move because Tripp used to not take to kindly to beingteased about moving, he said.

"Sometimes people would joke around with him about it and he got a little offended," Battle said.

Who knows? Maybe he'll surprise Battle again and be on the field Sept. 1 against Oklahoma State.

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