Week in and week out Larry Tripplett would get grief from defensive line coach Bill Kollar whenever the defensive linemen were working on recovering fumbles or pulling in tipped passes for interceptions in practice.
"We get on him all the time because he has trouble scooping the ball off the ground and catching balls," said the no nonsense Kollar. "We always work on scooping fumbles and last year he missed a couple so he would work extra on it and get out to practice early to work on that."
Hard work pays off as Tripplett's hands were soft at the right time when Terrence McGee's diving pass breakup came right to him last Sunday.
"They ran like a sprint out and they were running away from us and Terrence batted it away," said Tripplett of the play. "That ball just stayed in the air and I just tried to make a play on it."
Tripplett retreated from the line of scrimmage in the direction of the pass, and the ball came right to him. The defensive tackle was able to pull it in for his first career interception.
The first person he looked for after getting the turnover?
"He always gets on me for dropping them in practice and stuff like that so when I got it I was just so happy," said Tripplett.
The defensive lineman ran to the sidelines with the ball held high over his head like a trophy.
"He handed it to me," said Kollar chuckling. "He told me, 'When I get one I'm going to bring it right to you.'" And he did. It was pretty funny really."
Tripplett's interception led to a field goal for Buffalo, but it was far from all that he did last Sunday. The defensive tackle also forced a fumble on Washington's previous possession, which Buffalo's offense turned into another three points.
"I was trying to hit the quarterback," said Tripplett. "I saw him coming. We had a blitz on at that time and I was kind of peeling back and Kyle (Williams) did a great job of flushing him back to me and I was just trying to get a hit on the quarterback."
The Bills coaching staff contends that the hit by Kyle Williams and Tripplett on Washington quarterback Jason Campbell occurred behind the line of scrimmage and should be a shared sack for the two defensive tackles.
Whether that is properly changed in the official statistics or not, Tripplett likely had his best performance in a Bills uniform Sunday finishing the game with seven tackles including two for loss, a forced fumble an interception and a pass breakup.
"There's no doubt, since he's been here that was definitely the best game he's played," said Kollar.
"The plays he made, he had some penetration plays. The interception was just a tremendous play," said head coach Dick Jauron. "He made a number of really outstanding plays."
Tripplett's interception was a textbook example of why Buffalo's defensive coaches harp on their players to always run to the football no matter how far away they are from it.
"That's exactly why you pursue the ball," said Kollar. "It's the same way if a guy catches the ball and its hit and knocked out. If you're running to the ball you're there to recover it."
"We try to be disciplined," said Tripplett. "Our defense is based on being where you're supposed to be."
And on Sunday Tripplett was in the right place at the right time more than once.