Tripp moves to offensive tackle

ATHENS – Georgia finally relented to its diminishing numbers on the offensive line Tuesday, moving redshirt freshman defensive end Kiante Tripp to offensive tackle.

The move is expected to be permanent, Coach Mark Richt said.

"He really looks good out there," Richt said. "He absolutely has a ton to learn, but his body type and his athleticism is tailor made for the position. It's really going to help Georgia and, it's going to help him too."

At 6-foot-4, 272 pounds, Tripp has the ideal frame for an offensive tackle but will need to add weight.

"It changes the whole complexion of our offensive line," Richt said. "That's like getting a commitment from a top two or three tackle in the United States."

Offensive line coach Stacy Searels had been playfully recruiting Tripp throughout the fall, Richt said, and that came up Monday afternoon when Tripp and Richt were chatting during practice.

"He said, ‘Coach Searels was kind of playing around with me being a tackle, and I said, ‘Well what would you think about that?'" Richt said. "If we had pushed him to do it, he might have resented that, but right now I think he feels real good about the move."

Tripp's move may have a trickle down effect for senior Chester Adams, who played guard last year but had been moved to tackle. If Tripp and true freshman Clint Boling develop well enough at tackle, Adams could move back to guard before the season, Richt said.

"That's what we'd like to do," Richt said.

Trinton Sturdivant will start at left tackle. Tripp and Boling both are playing right tackle.

"If I have to play guard, I have to do it," Adams said. "Clint is doing a good job at tackle so if I have to move to guard, that's what we'll do."

Despite his weight and inexperience, it's possible Tripp could be ready to play by the season opener Sept. 1 against Oklahoma State, Richt said.

"I'm not going to say he's going to win the starting job but just from what I saw today, I think he can hold up," Richt said. "It's just amazing to see him move and even make a mistake and be able to change direction and still run a guy by the quarterback."

Tripp was not available for comment and will be off limits to the media for now, Richt said.

Georgia's defensive line coaches were reluctant to give up Tripp, said defensive line coach Rodney Garner.

"It's always hard to lose one that you think can really play," Garner said.

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