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August 4, 2012
Listen: Danny Hope on Day 1
High-energy, game-tempo speed, focus and little fatigue is how Purdue players and Coach Danny Hope described the first day of training camp on Saturday.
So, overall, a good day.
"It was a very good first day," said a hoarse Hope after the second practice of the day. "We were hoping to pick up where we left off at at the end of spring, and we were close to that, and that's good."
Running back Akeem Shavers actually deemed it a "great day," and said he wasn't surprised by the effort either.
"We've been out here working all summer, and I felt like it was going to carry over, and it did," Shavers said. "Everybody was more mature about it. Everybody knew their assignments. Everybody knew where to go. We only had a few mistakes and some of those were by freshmen or guys who haven't had a lot of experience, and that comes with time."
Fifth-year senior Crosby Wright said he was impressed with the team's energy level. He attributed much of that to the experience the Boilermakers have coming back - many of the players slotted to get a lot of playing time are returners who have already been through grueling camps. But Wright said the newcomers have had good attitudes, too, and have come ready to work.
That was the theme Saturday, at least.
"Everybody was really intense," Wright said. "Normally toward the end of your first couple practices, people tend to wear out, get hot, get fatigued, you don't have your stamina built up yet. I didn't really see any of that (Saturday). People were flying around from the second practice started to the very end. That's a good indicator of how you did overall."
But the other players who have knee issues, whether it's coming off surgery or still getting treatment, got at least some reps. That includes Rob Henry, Ryan Isaac and Brandon Cottom, who was practicing without a brace.
Coaches monitored just how many snaps certain players got to be safe.
"I'm pleased with our injured guys," Hope said. "We have 20 guys that are on the injury list. That doesn't mean there are 20 guys who are injured, but 20 guys who are getting treatment and rehab of some kind. Ten are guys coming off of knee surgery or still rehabbing knee surgery or just working on their knees. I thought they came back and did pretty good."
All of the freshmen participated, including quarterback Robert Gregory, and Hope said they've all been "certified and admitted."
Grades have yet to be finalized off recent summer final exams, so it's possible the team could lose other players to academics. Hope said there are a couple of players who are waiting on those test scores to qualify.
"We anticipate everyone will be eligible," Hope said. "But we still have a couple days to hold our breath."
"He came back in very good shape," Hope said of Beckford, who was suspended for the bowl game and wasn't on campus last spring. "He's bigger, stronger and faster than he's ever been. He bench pressed, I think, 480 pounds the other day and ran about 4.5 in the 40. So he's really improved physically. Obviously, he missed some reps in the spring. It's a simple defensive scheme from an installation standpoint, so Dwayne will pick it up fast and really gain some momentum."
In an early pursuit drill, Robert Maci appeared to be the starting defense's strongside linebacker, alongside Beckford and Will Lucas. Taylor Richards and Max Charlot were safeties, and Jalani Phillips was opposite Ryan Russell at end.
A group of six players got work at punt return, including freshmen Danny Anthrop and Ben Knauf.
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