April 8, 2013

Analysis: Practice No. 12


Two days after its full-contact scrimmage, Purdue backed off a bit, going with only shoulder pads and shorts on Monday. But the pace was still fast and at times the practice stayed physical. The following are observations:

Before the start of spring, offensive coordinator John Shoop said he, like fans, wanted a vertical passing game; and that could happen more effectively when a defense was caught off-guard, perhaps by play-action pass. We saw signs of that early Saturday, when Rob Henry hit Dolapo Macarthy over the top on only the second drive of the game.

Monday, the Boilermakers further practiced the long ball, with quarterbacks rolling out and throwing hitch-and-go patterns to uncovered receivers deep down field. Most were complete but some missed - Danny Etling once overthrew his intended target - but interesting to see Purdue working on it nonetheless.

Later, in a 7-on-7 drill, Etling threw up what looked like a prayer - think of good Brett Favre heaving off his back leg - that was hauled in by Shane Mikesky. It was great anticipation by Etling, who saw that Mikesky was going to come open before he had come open.

A play later, Purdue got another big play, but this one on the ground; Akeem Hunt is darn good when he gets the corner, and was on a sweep when he took the ball 50-yards for a "touchdown."

If Ryan Russell and Bruce Gaston line up often on the same side of the D-line, it might just have the potential to be a dominating 1-2 punch.

In a drill that seems to be pretty obviously set up to heavily favor the defense - all the line has to do is pin its ear back and bull rush the O-line to try to get to the "QB" - the duo frequently destroyed whomever Jim Bridge had on that side to block.

Bridge jumps all over his linemen they get beat, even in this drill, which again is designed to be difficult for the O. Perhaps, Bridge feels, if they can do it in this situation, they can do it on Saturdays.

A year ago - or was it two? - when Jules Williams joined the Boilermakers, the former rugby player had great athleticism but thought to be too raw as a football player to contribute.

Well, the walk-on might be carving himself a niche. Now, it's only the spring, but Williams was with the first team at times Monday, filling in at defensive end more frequently because of Greg Latta's injury. Williams, who appears to have good quickness around the line of scrimmage, is playing Purdue's "Jack" position, a hybrid DE/LB like what Robert Maci did a year ago.

We'll see if he sticks, but in springs past, we've seen guys like Logan Link and Landon Feichter come out of nowhere to see playing time in the fall.

Purdue's field goal kicking needs to be better.

Monday, Sam McCartney looked good, hitting from 22-, 25-, 29-, and 37-yards, the last one at the gun. He didn't miss. That wasn't the case for Paul Griggs, who hit only one of his three, making at 39- but missing at 35- and 37-yards.

Thomas Meadows, the kickoff specialist, made his only kick, a 40-yarder, and it came off a horrible snap but an excellent snatch and hold by Cody Webster.

Some other tidbits …

• While Kevin Pamphile was out the first half of practice - he has a class on Mondays - Joey Warburg filled in at left tackle. Previously, it had frequently been fellow redshirt freshman J.J. Prince who had gotten the first call from the 'pen.

• Shoop wanted to get the attention of his offense on the sidelines at one point.

"Watch the practice! Watch it!"

• Former Boilermaker and BTN analyst Rosevelt Colvin was on the sidelines to take in practice. Colvin had co-hosted the "Golden Pete Awards" the night before.

• Tight end Carlos Carvajal, who didn't play in the scrimmage for some reason Saturday, made a nifty catch on the sideline during an 11-on-11 Monday.

• The top two punt returners were Frankie Williams and Akeem Hunt. Ricardo Allen was still sidelined with an ankle injury.

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