August 8, 2014

Gregory feels 'great' at safety

Robert Gregory feels like a safety.

After spending the last two seasons at quarterback and running back, respectively, Gregory believes he has found a permanent spot in the secondary.

"It definitely feels great," Gregory said. "It's definitely home for me. (Taver Johnson) sells it for me. Your coach has to make you want it, and you have to want it yourself. I definitely want it."

Gregory came to Purdue as a quarterback, but was stuck in a logjam with eight other quarterbacks in 2012. His running prowess - he rushed for 919 yards and 15 touchdowns as a senior at Simeon High School - prompted a move to running back.

Gregory appeared poised to see time out of the backfield last season, earning reps with the No. 2 and No. 3 offense during training camp, before freshman Dalyn Dawkins emerged as the team's No. 3 back behind Akeem Hunt and Brandon Cottom.

The 6-foot-1, 216-pounder's physical style and affection for contact as a running back sparked a move to safety in spring practice.

Gregory, who has lined up with the No. 2 defense since training camp began, said he's getting better "day by day" and has come a long way since he was a self-proclaimed "fish out of water" at the beginning of spring.

"I'm a whole lot better than I was in the spring," Gregory said. "Backpedal wasn't that great. Feet weren't that great. I still have to clean up my footwork a little bit, but I'm getting there."

Gregory said his experience at quarterback helped him grasp the coverages and formations quickly. He also mentioned the veteran-laden secondary who helped speed up the learning process.

"Our secondary is pretty close," Gregory said. "During the spring and summer, we watched a lot of film together and got together and ran a lot of our sets. Coming into camp, it was all pretty simple.

Frankie knows the game a lot and a lot better than I do. Taylor Richards and I are pretty close, and any information he gives me I take it and run with it."

Gregory delivered arguably the biggest hit of spring practice, one that left senior tight end Dolapo Macarthy with a dislocated shoulder.

He may be the most excited player on the team to suit up in full pads Friday for the first time during training camp.

"I was waiting for that since Day One," Gregory said with a smile.

...More... To continue reading this article you must be a member. Sign Up Now!