Center Max Godby hasn't been running with the first-team offense for long.
But he learned one thing quickly: If he wants to make sure his quarterback is protected, he'd better keep an eye on Alvin "Bud" Dupree.
The junior, who split time as a hybrid defensive end and linebacker the past two seasons, is at end full-time now, and he's a handful.
"When the tackle comes in and the end loops around, he's able to come around with a punishing force," Godby said. "Bud comes straight at you with a full head of steam. His acceleration hits at about step two, step three.
"Bud Dupree is a really big human being."
The 6-foot-4, 252-pound Dupree also is looking to make a big impact with new running mate Za'Darius Smith, a former junior-college standout who had 47 tackles, including 6.5 quarterback sacks and 11 tackles for loss at East Mississippi Community College last season.
"Those two, those are a tandem of monsters rushing the quarterback," safety Glenn Faulkner said of UK's ends.
Dupree could be a big-time problem for opposing offenses.
"He's got a lot of juice off the edge," said UK's offensive coordinator, Neal Brown. "He's a quick-twitch guy, obviously, (having played) linebacker. He's going to be as good — maybe minus (South Carolina's Jadeveon) Clowney and a couple of other guys — his initial burst off the edge is going to be as good as anybody we see."
It's been a great test in fall camp for UK's young offensive line to go against Dupree, who finished in the top 10 in the Southeastern Conference last season in total tackles (91), quarterback sacks (6.5) and tackles for loss (12.5).
"Is it frustrating some? Yeah, because he gets us," Brown said.
In fact, Dupree has offered a tutorial of sorts.
"He's so fast, so against him your margin of error is so slim," offensive line coach John Schlarman said. "All the little things have to be executed in order to block him. It really hones in on that at a high tempo. If they go up against him every day, it usually refines their skills a little bit."
A player like Jordan Swindle has improved significantly going up against one of the SEC's best defensive linemen, Brown said.
"He's lined up 90 percent of the time and Bud's been in front of him," Brown said. "His weaknesses have been exploited and he's had to either get better or he takes a beating every day."
New defensive line coach Jimmy Brumbaugh wasn't sure what to expect from Dupree, who has played so many positions and filled so many gaping defensive holes in his two seasons at Kentucky. He wasn't sure how quickly the former two-way star from Irwinton, Ga., would be able to settle into his new role.
But Brumbaugh, a former All-SEC defensive lineman from Auburn, called Dupree "a pleasant surprise.
"Bud comes to work every single day like a professional player," Brumbaugh said recently. "I take my hat off to him, because every single day he's out there trying to learn, trying to get better, and he likes being physical."Coming Saturday:
The main man: There isn't just one, and that could benefit Kentucky all season. Senior tackles Donte Rumph and Mister Cobble have 31 starts and 138 tackles between them. On each end are two All-SEC-caliber ends in juniors Bud Dupree and junior-college transfer Za'Darius Smith.
The supporting cast: Unlike most positions on this football team, the defensive line seems to not only have impressive starters, but also a stable of backups who have drawn praise from their coaches for being sound. At the tackle spots, Mike Douglas and Tristian Johnson have each started games in the past. Other names like Thomas Chapman and Christian Coleman have been in the regular rotation. At the end spots, TraVaughn Paschal has been getting regular reps with Smith injured for part of camp, as have Alvin Davis and Farrington Huguenin.
Outlook: There are big question marks and short depth charts at almost every other spot on the Kentucky defense, so the line will have to carry a big load as the other positions get up to speed. "I always tell my guys they've gotta be part of the solution, not the problem," position coach Jimmy Brumbaugh said. "It all starts up front, no matter what. Whether you have an older secondary or a younger secondary, it's always on the front, because that's where it all starts." There are veteran leaders there who seem to have bought into the new coaches' system and seem poised to have a strong season.