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Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Tuesday Practice Notes (9/30)

Kiante Tripp, welcome to your third position of the season.

It's official: Tripp will be the backup tight end for the foreseeable future. Beyond that, a lot remains up in the air.

Richt said Tripp has looked good at tight end so far, and the sophomore seems to be taking to his new gig.

"I like the position. I'll catch a couple passes, get a couple touchdowns here and there," he said. "I'm already blocking, so that's no problem."

Richt said that, ideally, he would like Tripp to drop about 30 pounds to play tight end, but that would basically end any chance of a return to tackle -- something Richt isn't ready to promise.

Aron White will likely be the starter against Tennessee, although Bruce Figgins could still play.

"He wants to, and he's allowed to play one more game to meet the criteria for a medical redshirt," Richt said. "He's trying. He's trying to get ready to play Tennessee, and we're not counting him out. It's pretty honorable for him to do that, but it's strictly his decision. I talked to him face to face, and it's his goal to play the game."

Tripp Chandler will miss at least one game, but probably a good bit more.

Kiante Tripp was a star basketball player in high school, and he said those skills have helped him in his transition to tight end.

"I've been playing basketball since I was little, so catching the ball and stuff like that, that's like being on the basketball court," he said.

Tripp did see some playing time against Alabama. In fact, he was the lead blocker on Knowshon Moreno's goal-line touchdown run.

"Assignment-wise, it's pretty easy because tackle and tight end work so closely together that if the tackle knows what he's doing, he usually knows what tight end is doing," tight ends coach John Lilly said.

Lilly's assessment of Tripp's future: "Right now, we're looking at it as if it's permanent for the rest of this year, but you don't know from week to week."

Oh, and what does Kiante think he might do down the line?

"By the time I leave here I might know the defensive plays, offensive plays, what the receivers are supposed to do, what the quarterback is supposed to do," Tripp said. "I might do a little snapping, might punt a little bit. I might do kickoff, too."

Other notes from Tuesday's practice:

When tight end Tripp Chandler went down with a shoulder injury against Alabama, redshirt freshman Aron White didn't immediately realize the impact of the situation.

Actually, he first thought it was fullback Shaun Chapas who had been hurt, but it wasn't long before tight ends coach John Lilly patted White on the back and told him he would be the man for the rest of the game.

"Once I realized it was Tripp, my heart went out to him, but I knew I had to focus," said White, who is likely to get his first career start Oct. 11 against Tennessee.

Chandler will miss at least one game and backup Bruce Figgins could be out the rest of the season, leaving tight end duties to the 229-pound White.

"I'm definitely not as big," White said. "I feel like I'm a little more shifty, so maybe if I can get out there and catch the ball, maybe I can show somebody something."

White is actually a full 60 pounds lighter than his new backup former offensive lineman Kiante Tripp.

The new look of the tight end depth chart will make things interesting, White said, but he doubts the coaching staff will make any significant changes to the offense with him in the lineup.

"It changes things only having one tight end," White said, "so I think the coaches are going to have to switch things up a little bit just because we don't have the depth we're used to having. But I'm sure that our base offense is going to stay the same."

-- In the first two games of the season, the Bulldogs played two teams that employed the spread offense. That meant Sam linebackers Darryl Gamble and Akeem Dent needed to learn to play up the middle if they wanted to stay on the field, since Georgia was primarily using its nickel package on defense.

As it turned out, that early cross-training could prove crucial for the Bulldogs, who may be without starting middle linebacker Dannell Ellerbe for the next few weeks. Richt said if Ellerbe can't go in Georgia's next game, Gamble and Dent would handle the Mike duties, with Darius Dewberry picking up the slack at Sam.

"We (got) some of these Sams to learn how to play in the box, learn how to play Mike," Richt said, "and some of that practice is paying off that we've got some guys who know what to do."

-- Tony Wilson has spent the past five months trying to stay on the football field, but his quest could be over soon.

Wilson suffered an ankle injury during spring drills and although he has played in every game so far this season, the ankle hasn't healed. Richt said calcium had built up in the ankle and Wilson would likely require surgery.

"That would end his season if we go in and do that, and we're leaning toward doing that," Richt said.

Wilson has just one catch for two yards this season.

-- Wide receiver Mohamed Massaquoi was among the multitude of green non-contact jerseys on the practice field Tuesday. Richt said the senior wideout suffered a chest injury against Alabama, but said it wasn't anything serious.

"He had a chest injury that should settle down here by the end of the week, and he'll be able to practice by the end of the week," Richt said.

Freshman wide receiver Walter Hill may not see the field this season. He broke a bone in his hand in fall camp and has yet to play. Although the hand has healed, Richt said Hill now has a broken bone in his foot.

"I think he broke a bone in his foot, and I don't know how long that will last," Richt said.


Anonymous said...

How about Rod Battle...also, do you think Ellerbe will play?


David Hale said...

Battle is still in green. I think it's better than 50/50 though he'll be ready for Tenn. Probably a bit too early though to know for sure.

Ellerbe wants to play, Richt said, but if I were a betting man, I wouldn't put my money on it.

brett said...

Man I def thought Battle would play...are Ellerbe and Battle expected back before LSU? who else am I missing..?

Anonymous said...

As fragile as Walter Hill seems to be on the football field, has he considered a return to the basketball court, or spoken to Coach Felton about walking on this winter? Before switching to football, Hill was a UGA basketball commitment at one time.

Great job with the blog, btw.

David Hale said...

Brett --

Re: both those injuries -- it's just too soon to say. With the bye week, both could be in much better shape next week. Just hard to say at this point. Like you, I'm surprised Battle has taken this long to heal.

Other major injuries:

Chandler is OUT.
Durham is almost certainly OUT.
Moreno is likely but not definite.
Massaquoi looks like he's fine, but resting this week.
Figgins could play but that will be his last game.
Tavarres King is questionable.

brett said...

Ah, thanks for the quick reply and keeping me updated everyday. Well im hoping Massaquoi and Moreno will atleast play, I know TN is struggling but of course I think they will play us tough as usual. That sucks for Bruce, I went to school with him at Shaw, I saw him over the winter break before the Sugar Bowl at the mall and he was huge ha. Hopefully he can medical redshirt. This is a good bye week ha, hopefully we can get our players healed before LSU. Man oh man only if we had Owens, Sturdivant and Washington healthy..

Anonymous said...

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