No Time Off for Chandler

ATHENS – It's become something of a tradition at Georgia for the team's superstars and the occasional established veteran to take it easy in spring practice.

Defensive end David Pollack did it his final spring in Athens, taking part in almost none of the contact drills. Running back Knowshon Moreno is doing it this year.

On Friday, during the Bulldogs' second scrimmage of spring practice, senior tight end Tripp Chandler played from the first snap to the last. There are no bitter feelings on Chandler's part, though.

"I'm not as good as those other guys who can do that like Knowshon," Chandler said candidly. "I've got more work to do. I feel like taking a practice off is wasting a practice. I know why they get to sit out. They've proved themselves."

Chandler has too to some degree. He survived a midseason case of the drops and caught 21 passes for 283 yards and two touchdowns last year. He is the undisputed starter at a thin position for the Bulldogs in 2008, but there's still plenty to be done in his mind, he said. (He has 23 catches for 320 yards and three touchdowns in his career.)

"You just work on the little things, make sure you keep your game fine-tuned, you go back and recognize things from the season before where you were having a little bit of trouble and you just focus on those things and make sure you get those things better while not letting other things start to slip."

Chandler has been working on defining his routes better, coming out of his breaks more cleanly and finishing his blocks. He's doing all this under a new tight ends coach for the first time in his life. Gone is David Johnson, who returned to his alma mater, West Virginia, and in Johnson's place is longtime Florida State assistant John Lilly.

"It's definitely nice to have a different perspective," Chandler said. "(Lilly) might see a different way to do things some times. Coach Johnson was a great coach and a very influential person in my life, and he always will be, but at the same time it's good to have Coach Lilly in here and get that different outlook on how tight end can be played."

Lilly has his hands full coaching a suddenly very thin position. Behind Chandler are sophomore Bruce Figgins and redshirt freshman Aron White, who still is trying to put on enough weight to be a true tight end.

"Aron is more of a route-running tight end or a runner but he's working hard, trying to get his blocks down and becoming that more balanced tight end that Georgia is used to," Chandler said. "We may not be there now, but we definitely are working to become a deeper unit."

No one is working harder than Chandler, despite his veteran status.

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