Freshman defensive tackle Donte Rumph waited a long time to get to the University of Kentucky. A 2008 signee, Rumph enrolled at Fork Union (Va.) Military Academy and spent two years working to get eligible before finally qualifying just before the start of fall camp. Rumph is still shaking off some rust from the inactivity. He's appeared in five games and has made five tackles.Q: How would you say your first year has gone so far?
A: It's been a real good experience. I'm just trying to get better every day, every week and improve my craft and technique. Working on my conditioning has been the biggest thing.
Q: How is your conditioning coming along?
A: It's gotten a lot better. I weigh about 305 now; I was at 320 when I got here. I can really tell the difference when I'm out there playing. On the field, I have a long way to go, but I have improved a great deal since my first week of practice. I still have a lot of improvements to make and things to learn, and I'm just trying to pick up something new every day.
Q: What's been the biggest adjustment so far?
A: I had to adjust to a lot coming from military school. They took everything as disrespect. If you had an opinion about a play or something, you couldn't say anything because they'd view that as total disrespect, like you're trying to do their job.
Here, you're allowed to speak your mind if you feel a certain way. You can express how you feel and we'll work together as a team. It's more of a democracy. That's a big change. I'm still trying to get used to it.
Q: What's been the most enjoyable part of finally making it to UK?
A: I enjoy everything: the practices, the conditioning, the workouts, the whole process. I appreciate everybody and everything, the whole staff just for supporting me. When I was at Fork Union going through everything, they stood behind me and had faith in me.
Q: After sitting out for so long, do you feel like you'll be in a better position to help the team in 2011?
A: I'm just trying to get my feet wet, but I really think I'll be a better asset to the team next year. As far as off-season conditioning, spring practice, things like that, it will really help me. I'll be able to take things slower and work on my technique. It's a process. Once fall camp rolls around next year, everything will come together.