February 15, 2013
Hudson on D: 'Very fundamental, sound, aggressive'
Greg Hudson has high expectations.
Sure, that goes for Saturdays in the fall, when he wants the Boilers to play at their top level. But other times, too, particularly on those days of preparation leading up to game day.
"If you do something right when nobody is looking, it will pay off eventually when somebody is looking," said Hudson, Purdue's first-year defensive coordinator under coach Darrell Hazell. "Just being on time, dressing right, lining up right, going to class, never having your name on a list, helping somebody out with a flat tire in the middle of nowhere, just things like that.
"But I also want them to know that there's a price to be paid when you don't (do that). A man does what he's supposed to do, when he's supposed to do it and how he's supposed to do it. And when he doesn't, he takes his consequences like a man. To me that says a lot."
The Boilermakers can be expected to held to such a high standard, likely starting with 6 a.m. practices on Monday. Hudson, who came to Purdue after three seasons as the linebackers coach at Florida State and is a former coordinator at East Carolina and Minnesota, wants his unit to be in top physical shape.
That involves doing those little things - the extra workouts here or there during the offseason - often when few are watching.
"To me, conditioning supercedes everything. I can't coach you if you can't breathe," Hudson said. "At Purdue, we need to be in position to win every game in the fourth quarter. Even if there's a game that the experts have you an underdog by a certain amount or whatever, at some point in that fourth quarter, if there's a point to take the lead or win the game, that's where we need to be. Then, you'll start flipping the scoreboard.
"But how can you do that in the fourth quarter? Well, who cares what defense I call, we better be in shape. You can't tackle when you're tired and you can't think when you're tired. So conditioning supercedes everything. We will stand with our hands on our hips and not on our knees on Saturdays."
Hudson bases his defense in a 4-3 front, with zone in the secondary, mixing in "sneaky man" coverages when the offense is least likely to anticipate the change. He describes it as "very fundamental, very sound but a very aggressive package."
"It's very multiple," Hudson said, noting the defense could occasionally have three-linemen fronts. "The discipline of the coach is being able to stop the multiples; I'm not afraid to say no, and I'm going to error on the side of making sure the four beasts up front have no concern or gray area of what they're supposed to do. If they can handle things, we'll do it; if they can't, we won't do it.
"The other thing you have to defend and be cautious of is the secondary. If they screw up, it's a touchdown. And I'm very guarded of that. But I'm also aggressive in my style of play more so than in my style of call, but I do love to have fun when it's time to have fun on down-and-distance situations. I have no problem bringing the house. I think creativity on third down helps you, and I think it also keeps the players involved in that you're giving them enough little toys to play with that they can enjoy it."
That might be the reward, but there will certainly be prior commitment. Aside from asking for his players to get in top physical conditioning during the offseason, he's expecting physical practices during it, too.
In what will likely be a change from recent history, players can expect to tackle on Tuesdays and Wednesdays during the week leading into games.
"It's an occupational hazard that needs to be done," Hudson said of his anticipated full-pads, full-contact in-season practices.
It's like a guy who works construction. If he works construction and takes a bunch of days off and then all of the sudden has to work really hard hulling bricks and wood and hammering nails, the guy is sore the next day. We're going to eliminate the soreness early and we're going to rest after the bowl game."
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