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December 10, 2012

Higgins talks bowl game plan; Monday notes





Purdue will have its entire game plan for Oklahoma State installed by Thursday, Friday at the latest.

Expect there to be some tweaks by the time the Boilermakers play the Cowboys Jan. 1 in the Heart of Dallas Bowl.

"Maybe a trick play every other play," interim head coach Patrick Higgins said, jokingly, about the team's offensive approach.

Higgins does admit that this bowl game would seem to provide the best opportunity to add some wrinkles, though, considering there is more time to prepare and work on such plays while also having what he called a lower "risk-reward" factor.

In the final three weeks of the regular season when Higgins was the team's play-caller in place of offensive coordinator Gary Nord, Purdue didn't do anything too crazy, but it did use some different formations to help disguise certain plays and open up the offense a bit.

"We'll try to do some things, but again, we're going to stay true to what got us where we are, that was based on execution and not turning the ball over," Higgins said. "The more wrinkles you add, the more you take away from what you do best. You may put in a wrinkle here or wrinkle there, but you're going to stay true to what you're able to do well because the more time you take away from practicing what you do well then that becomes what you don't do very well.

"Of course, we're always going to have a few surprises. Got to."

Working the schedule
Because of finals week, Purdue is changing its practice schedule throughout the week.

It wrapped at about 6:30 p.m. on Monday and will finish by 5 p.m. on Tuesday before going earlier in the day on Thursday and Friday.

Higgins said he's been pleased with the intensity and energy of the practices so far, and he likes the plan that is in place for the remaining bunch of practices before the team leaves for Dallas on Dec. 28.

"It's like you're running a marathon. You kind of start your training slow, then you get to your peak and then you taper off and it gets you ready," he said. "That's the same you have to do (for the game). You've got about 15 practices. So last week we started about 12 periods, and (Monday) we increased a little bit. This is about the highest we're going to go. We'll keep this intensity for a little while and then we'll cut back and get them ready and eager to play.

"We want them ready and eager to play. We don't want to lose the game out here (on the practice field). We want to get them where they're sharp, crisp and having fun and focused so when they get to the game, they're like, 'Man, I can't wait to hit somebody' instead of, 'man, we've been banging so hard in practice, I just want to get through this and go home.' "

Letting loose
Higgins was quite the funny man after Monday's practice.

He joked about the game plan, made light of the coaches' situation to get the players ready while also being on a "job hunt," preparing for Oklahoma State and Landon Feichter.

"We're talking about defensive guys?" said Higgins, who was the team's receivers coach and play-caller before Danny Hope was fired, when asked about starting safety Feichter. "OK, just checking. I guess as the interim head coach, I've got to answer those questions, too. Go ahead."

In terms of the getting ready for the Cowboys, Higgins was asked what challenges they present.

"Because I don't sleep? That's a problem they present, my sleeping habits change," he said.




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