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August 14, 2013Bud Dupree is where he wants to be.
He came to Kentucky as a defensive end, then switched to a linebacker spot early in his freshman season. He spent his sophomore year as a hybrid linebacker/defensive end.
Now's he just a pure defensive end.
"I think that's what he wanted to play all along, anyway," linebacker Avery Williamson said. "He wanted to be on the edge. He felt like he could make more plays like that. He was getting tired of being switched back and forth (between positions)."
Make no mistake, Dupree has been productive wherever he's been placed on the field. He made 14 tackles in three starts his freshman season, then recorded 91 tackles and 6.5 sacks as a starter last year.
Now, he's hoping to have a breakout season as a pass rusher.
While he had experience in high school on the line, he said it feels like an entirely new position at the college level.
"I didn't know anything about (defensive) end, really," Dupree said. "So I had to learn everything."
Right now, he's learning power rush moves. As a former linebacker, he's already got the other half of the repertoire down.
"I got the speed rush down pat," Dupree said.
Whatever it is he learns, he's learning from some of the best.
Coach Mark Stoops and defensive coordinator D.J. Eliot just sent two Florida State ends into the NFL Draft in the top 40 picks.
"It makes you feel good to hear a coach who put those guys in the NFL tell you 'good job,'" Dupree said.
And defensive line coach Jimmy Brumbaugh was an All-SEC player at Auburn.
He's seeing Dupree grow more and more comfortable with the "little intricacies about rushing the passer," Brumbaugh said.
Reading the depth of the quarterback. Knowing which moves to use in which situations. Reacting to how an offensive lineman is set up to protect the pocket.
How quickly has Dupree picked up on those intricacies?
"Amazingly fast," Brumbaugh said. "He's an instinctive football player. Things come natural to him."
"I think I picked it up pretty fast, faster than what everybody thought," Dupree said. "I take pride in just learning things quickly."
Even at a position that does not usually lend itself to a quick study.
"It's not natural and it's not fun being a defensive lineman," Brumbaugh said. "It's tough, gritty work."
Dupree has embraced that part of the job.
"I just like being the most dominant person in a one-on-one situation," Dupree said.
If he does that consistently, it will go a long way toward helping the line - considered the strength of the defense - alleviate pressure on a back seven with plenty of question marks surrounding it.
"We definitely need him on the edge to make plays and get a pass rush," Williamson said. "I feel like he's really going to be an asset to us."