McKenzie settling in as a Commodore

Published 12:02 am Wednesday, June 20, 2012

NASHVILLE — Former Trinity Episcopal star Tip McKenzie said it only took him two days to feel like a Southeastern Conference football player.

McKenzie stepped on the campus of Vanderbilt University a couple weeks ago, and he said by the second day of workouts he had realized what playing for the Commodores was going to take.

“I think it hit me the second day with all the running we had to do,” McKenzie said. “Workouts are pretty tough. They are different from high school and more intense.”

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McKenzie said he has had little trouble so far adjusting to living in Nashville.

“Everything is good,” he said. “It’s really not been a problem, but I’ve only been here two weeks.”

The former Saint said he is hoping to become a better athlete during summer workouts before he gets his chance to show what he can do with the football in his hands during camp.

“My main focus is strength and speed,” he said. “I’m trying to work on my skills and technique and getting bigger, stronger and faster.”

McKenzie, who played all over the field for Trinity, said he is working as a wide receiver early in his Vanderbilt career.

“(The wide receivers and quarterbacks) talk like three days out of the week going over concepts,” McKenzie said. “I’m learning outside and inside receiver.”

McKenzie said he has not had too much trouble learning the offense, but it is a lot to handle at times.

“There’s just more that can happen,” he said. “At Trinity we had the basic plays, but in college you have to read the defense and adjust.”

Workouts, class and learning the playbook have kept him busy in his first two weeks, but McKenzie said keeping up has not been difficult.

“You just have to manage your time,” he said. “Just make sure you’re on time for everything and don’t miss an appointment.”

McKenzie has yet to meet with his coaches to discuss what his role will be next season, he said. But he is looking forward to getting out on the field and showing what he can do.

“I am looking forward to seeing what the competition is like and adjusting to game speed,” he said. “I’m just trying to get the experience of the college level.”

McKenzie said Vanderbilt’s fall camp would start the last week of July.