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March 24, 2012

Defense takes scrimmage

Listen: Coach Danny Hope after practice

Senior quarterback Caleb TerBush would seem to be a great candidate to assess Purdue's new-look defense after the team's only Saturday scrimmage of the spring.

But he wouldn't divulge anything specific, saying he wasn't sure if he could.

The unit, though, apparently impressed. The defense won the scrimmage, though Coach Danny Hope said no official score was kept.

"We think we did pretty good. Coaches told us we did pretty good, and everybody was flying to the ball today," end Kawann Short said. "It felt like we had a little game today."

To start the morning practice, Hope said he flipped the script and had the defensive players working on ball security drills and the offensive players got some tackling work in.

The practice also included a "coming out" scrimmage, which set the offense into its end zone and challenged it to get into positive field position. That allowed the Boilermakers to use some two, tight-end sets and play physical up front, Hope said.

"It was a good day overall," Hope said. "We're still a little bit sloppy offensively. The ball is coming out some and is on the ground more than we'd like. But it's still early."

Among the players and units that stuck out to Hope during the scrimmage was the secondary, which has several players battling for starting spots alongside cornerbacks Ricardo Allen and Josh Johnson.

"We're having a lot of really exciting pass breakups where guys are laying out and batting the ball out at the last second," Hope said. "We have a pretty skilled secondary and a lot of big-play potential back there and it's showing up in spring practice."

Among the players who impressed on Saturday on offense, Hope mentioned center Rick Schmeig, running back Akeem Hunt and receiver Tommie Thomas. TerBush is the quarterback for the first unit, but he's splitting reps overall with Robert Marve.

"Both of our quarterbacks look very good," Hope said. "They're experienced. They're healthy. They've been in the program for awhile. We're way further ahead at that position than we have in the past.

"Caleb looks very good, looks like a quarterback who has played and won and has experience and that's new around here for me."

TerBush, who threw at least one TD pass in the scrimmage, said he thought Antavian Edison and Thomas played well on Saturday.

And he likes that younger offensive skill players against getting a chance to compete against Purdue's defense, speaking in generalities.

"We have a bunch of guys coming back on defense, have a lot of experience. That's just good to be able to go against experience alone," he said. "You're going against guys who have played all year. The younger guys who are playing on offense get to see that and work against people who are veterans who are experienced and it builds their experience so when it comes to the fall, they can jump in there and get a little head start."




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