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Wednesday August 15, 2007

It turns out that Kiante Tripp’s move to the offensive line isn’t the only positional shuffling going on. Ching has the details and a transcript of Richt’s press conference.

Tripp Update

I asked last night whether the move would be temporary in response to the injuries on the line, and it looks as if Tripp’s position change is more or less a permanent thing. That makes sense when you go back to the recruiting process. Tripp, as I mentioned yesterday, was rated the 9th-best offensive tackle in America in 2006 by Rivals.com. He was (is) an athletic and smart guy and also a basketball standout. The agility and leaping skills of a basketball player also made Tripp an attractive prospect at defensive end where he might be able to do some damage against less-agile offensive linemen.

As a result, he was recruited both as an offensive tackle and defensive end. Though rated higher as an offensive tackle, Tripp preferred defensive end, and Georgia promised him a chance at that position. True to their word, Tripp was a defensive end during his freshman season. An injured knee made redshirting a certainty, and he joined the competition at the defensive end this season as a redshirt freshman.

But, as Coach Richt said, Tripp "sees the opportunity" at offensive tackle and seems to have embraced it. "He was ready to move." Richt was upbeat. "It’s like getting a commitment from a top two or three tackle in the United States, so that’s pretty exciting for us." It was illustrative for Richt to contrast the position move with the case of Dale Dixson. You might have a grand plan where a player might fit in, but you can’t force a guy into a position that he just doesn’t want to play. Fortunately, Tripp was more receptive.

Richt made another, more subtle, comment about recruiting later. "I don’t know if I can talk too much about a recruiting class — I guess I could, I’m not mentioning names — but like I said, it’s like getting a signee at tackle right there." Is that a veiled comment about A.J. Harmon’s commitment to Clemson or Tyler Love’s commitment to Alabama? Georgia was in on both of those line prospects (and possibly is still recruiting Harmon as a defensive tackle).

Brandon Miller, Brandon Miller, Brandon Miller.

After a trumpeted move to middle linebacker, it seems as if Miller is back outside. Coach Richt praised Miller’s play at strongside (SAM) linebacker, but I have to be skeptical. Why? Miller was the starting SAM linebacker last season too. He lost the job midseason to Danny Verdun-Wheeler. That’s no knock on Verdun-Wheeler, but it does help to paint the picture of Miller’s prospects as an outside linebacker. Then you consider that Miller has spent the spring and summer to this point working in the middle (at a position where Coach Richt called him "the key to the defense"), and you have to wonder where the improvement has come from to make the SAM linebacker outlook that much better. Richt stated that Miller is "just comfortable there (at SAM)," but that doesn’t necessarily mean that he’ll be productive.

Jarius Wynn

Wynn, according to Rodney Garner, was "probably the most highly recruited" of Georgia’s three signees from Georgia Military. He was considered a possible impact player at a questionable defensive end position. There was a question about Wynn possibly moving inside to defensive tackle. Garner used the Phrase of the Week, "cross-training", to explain that Wynn was indeed working some inside, but he gave no indication that it was a permanent move. Garner went on to explain the similarities between the end and tackle (5 and 3) positions where Wynn was cross-training.

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