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August 5, 2012

Maci moves ahead at SLB; Day 2 report

Listen: Coach Danny Hope on Day 2


Danny Hope likes the pair of "inside" linebackers he has, the guys who mostly play between the tackles, in Dwayne Beckford and Will Lucas.

Purdue needs to develop depth there, but the first order of business in the linebacking corps is to find a starter on the strongside, someone who is able to line up over the tight end.

Early in training camp, it's been Robert Maci.

"I like what I see from him," Hope said of Maci, a defensive end who played some linebacker in high school. "Obviously, we're going to utilize him some as a rush end, so we ought to have more than one Sam linebacker. So that's going to be important to see who steps up as the No. 2 Sam linebacker, whether it's Nnamdi (Ezenwa) or whoever it may be.

"So somebody has to make their move. It's time."

Instead of playing several linebackers outside of the box, it's more likely Purdue will play nickel and dime defenses, using extra defensive backs, Hope said.

Redshirt freshman Armstead Williams is in the mix, too, at strongside linebacker. Newcomers Andy Garcia and Ruben Ibarra are more "inside" linebacker types, Hope said.

"I think all the new guys are doing well, but they're new guys and they have to learn the plays and figure it out," Hope said. "When I watch them in the drills, they look athletic and talented and then when you watch them in the team situations, you can tell they're still trying to figure the simple things out still. I like what they have from a potential standpoint, but those guys still have a lot to learn."

Speed racers
Hope said the team has about 20 players who run 4.5 and under 40-yard dashes.

A bulk of those speedsters are at offensive skill positions, including Akeem Shavers, Akeem Hunt and Raheem Mostert, but Hope said he also likes the speed in the secondary. Ricardo Allen said he's clocked a 4.28, one of the fastest times on the team.

"If you're not real fast, you can't make it back there right now," Hope said. "There's too much speed and competition."

Ramping it up
Players will practice in shells - shoulder pads and shorts - starting Monday. Though it's not full gear, Hope said the team still will be able to get more done than just going in shirts and shorts.

That'll include "thud" tempo with hitting but not bringing players to the ground in a full tackle and some real banging up front between the lines.

Hope said he's eager to see how the offensive linemen hold up against the defensive line, which is loaded with talent and experience.

Hope confirmed Sunday that Kevin Pamphile, Peters Drey, Rick Schmeig and Trevor Foy are lining up as the starting group on the O-line and said Justin Kitchens is being worked at both right and left tackle.

Another knee
Hope wasn't sure of the severity, but he's already had one player go down with a knee injury in 2012.

Reserve receiver Ishmael Aristide was injured on Day 1.

"We're waiting to see what the extent of it is, whether it's a bruise, a strain or a tear," Hope said. "We'll get him checked out and find out. I have some concerns about it."




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