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Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Kiante Rolls With the Punches

Noticed a bunch of Kiante Tripp rumors out on the message boards today, so I checked in with Mark Richt during the SEC's weekly teleconference on Tripp's status. It sounds like Tripp didn't necessarily take his latest move very well, but his status with the team seems pretty solid at this point:

"It's been tough on him," Richt said. "It's not easy going from one position to another, especially when it's as drastic as -- it's one thing to go from being a right tackle to a left tackle. It's another thing to go from left tackle to tight end. It's just a whole other world. I think he actually enjoyed the tight end move, and then we got real drastically thin at line after Vincent Vance got hurt, and we felt the best chance he could help us was back on the offensive line, and that's where he's been meeting. I'm not saying he won't end up at tight end again before the whole thing's over, but I think the move from line to tight end was easier than when he had to go back. I think that was wearing on him a little bit, but I watch him practice, and he's working hard for us. He knows that it's about the team right now."

Here's the rest of Richt's comments from today's teleconference for those of you interested:

On the difficulty of balancing the emotions of the team before a big game: "There's no doubt about that. You've just got to keep an eye on it. Keep an eye on your coaches, on your players, their reaction to the coaches. I don't worry too much about it on a Tuesday. Tuesdays are going to be a day where you're just going to get after it, and it's going to be a tough day whether you're tight or not. But as you get closer to the game, you've just got to gauge where everybody's mind-set is. You'd like when the guys get emotional about a game, you don't want the emotions to stifle them from playing well. But emotions of any kind can create energy. You've just got to try to channel that in the right way."

On the hype that surrounds a game like this:
"I think you try to embrace it really. Most guys when they come to Georgia are anticipating games like this, anticipating opportunities like this. Here it is, so let's get excited about it, let's have some fun with it, let's not let it paralyze us."

On why this game is so important: "It's just an SEC clash that is very meaningful to both teams that thenation is going to be interested in. It's the kind of game that playershope to play in as they dream of where they might go to college andthat kind of stuff. I'm not saying that anybody circled the team beforethe season started, but as we get to this game, everybody knows there'sa lot riding on it, and what's riding on it are the things guys dreamabout -- winning championships."

On playing against LSU's two-quarterback system: "There is a difference between the two, and you've got to be ready for that. If you look at their tendencies and what they do with each guy in the game, it's not unbelievably drastic, but it's different enough where you better get the right mind-set, and you'd definitely make a different call when Lee is in there or Hatch is in there. When I had (David) Greene and (D.J.) Shockley, we might have emphasized a little more QB run with Shockley, but it wasn't as drastic as some. Some teams just have a pure runner, period and a pure passer, period. I do think both these guys can do both, so it's not an unbelievable difference, but enough that we need to be aware who's in there."

On why he doesn't use a two-quarterback system at Georgia now: "We felt like with Shockley, he was a guy that could be a difference maker in any ballgame. Not to say Joe (Cox) couldn't be, but D.J. was just a guy that we thought played well, practiced well and deserved the opportunity to play. I wouldn't say we're too different with Joe, but for whatever reason we didn't get into that cycle of doing it. Greene seemed to handle it very well. I can't really give a great answer as to why we're not doing it now because Joe is very capable, too. It's just that I think Joe's style and Matt's style are so similar that there's not that much of a contrast, where there was a little bit of a contrast between what D.J. and David could do, and we thought that could create some problems."

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