"We had plans to play him, and get him experience. Coming into this year we had Martrez as the starter, but we wanted Tripp to have some experience in case anything happened to Martrez," said tight ends coach David Johnson.
Chandler my have been surprised with playing last fall, but he was the only one.
"He may have been surprised, but it did not surprise me. I had him in camp while he was in high school, and I knew a little bit about him," Johnson said.
Chandler caught 45 passes for 958 yards and eight touchdowns on offense at Woodstock High School while recording 46 tackles, nine assists, two sacks, six tackles-for-loss, three forced fumbles, and two fumble recoveries as a defensive tackle. He also blocked two punts, one of which he returned for a touchdown.
"I don't even remember the player I was last year," Chandler said of the improvement he has made in the summer. He is noticeably bigger and now weights 253 pounds.
Chandler had a good spring for the Dawgs. He capped it off with a four-catch-for-87-yards performance in the team's annual G-Day game. Making plays during spring ball is one thing, replacing Leonard Pope is another. The youngster admitted regrets at losing Pope.
"Losing a player like Leonard is detrimental to a position," Chandler said of replacing the NFL rookie.
"If I do come in during that situation, I just want to be there to be there for my team, but right now I know my role as the backup," Chandler said.