LISTEN: Danny Hope after practice
The careers of sophomore linebacker Mike Lee and freshman safety Jordan Shine have come to an end after not passing pre-training camp physicals.
Coach Danny Hope made the news official after practice Sunday, the final day of Purdue's camp, 13 days before the season-opener vs. Eastern Kentucky.
Lee, who had seen limited action as a reserve last season, was out for the spring after experiencing concussions. He had not returned to camp. Shine, an incoming rookie, has a neck stability issue, according to Hope.
The duo, assuming they decide to stay in West Lafayette as students, will receive medical hardship scholarships, but will not count against the 85-scholarship limit. And Hope says they could remain with the Boilermakers, but in a non-playing capacity.
"There are a lot of roles those guys could fill," Hope said. "Obviously, if they're going to go to Purdue and remain on scholarship, we want them to be involved in the program and still be part of the team. We have a plan to keep those guys involved."
Still No. 1
Caleb TerBush entered training camp as the No. 1 quarterback, and he leaves with the same title.
Barring anything unforeseen, the senior signal-caller will take the first snap against Eastern Kentucky Sept. 1.
"Caleb has had an outstanding camp," Hope said. "When it is all said and done, we've had a lot of guys who have gotten better and it'd be hard without a staff meeting to try to say who was the most improved player on the football team, but it might be Caleb TerBush.
"He ended the season really strong last year and hasn't just picked up where he left off at, but has really progressed in his play. He knows where he's going with the ball now, oftentimes pre-snap and oftentimes right after. He's been able to deliver the ball in a hurry with a lot of accuracy. He's practicing exceptional right now.
"He's our starting quarterback. He has been and he's taken his game to another level."
Senior Robert Marve is the No. 2, and Hope says he's improved from last season, as well.
"He manages the offense a lot better," the fourth-year coach said. "He's been very accurate with his passes."
Junior Rob Henry is third on the chart, but has been somewhat limited as he returns from an ACL tear a year ago. He's also seen action during camp as a return man and at other skill positions.
"Still struggling with some soreness," Hope said. "… It's a day-to-day basis, but I expect his recovery to be very quick and for him to get a lot more in coming days after getting a couple days off."
End of camp
Hope said Purdue accomplished many of the earmarks it set before training camp.
It wanted to come in off a good summer conditioning program, not lose anyone to academics and become more disciplined, among other goals.
Hope mentioned those three as positives.
"We're right on course," he said.
"We wanted to go out there and practice to a certain standard. That's really important to our football team. We have standards in regards to lining up fast and lining up right, and in regards to pursuit to the football, when the ball is on the ground, scooping it and scoring. A lot of little things, but I felt we made progress in those areas."
Purdue had numerous players sit at times during camp, but only a couple are ruled out for the opener.
Receivers Tommie Thomas (foot) and Ishmael Aristide (knee) will not play, nor will running back Ralph Bolden (ACL recovery).
"He probably won't be ready in a couple weeks, but it looks like he might able to get ready sometime this season," Hope said of Bolden, who had knee surgery in December.
Others have battled minor injuries. Receiver Gary Bush (hamstring); receiver Antavian Edison; tight end Carlos Carvajal (groin, abdominal strain); Henry (knee); Gabe Holmes (knee); and nickel back Normondo Harris have been limited at times.
But none are expected to miss a Saturday.
"We're in good shape," Hope said. "I anticipate going into the first game with just about everybody ready to go."
Purdue practices for another week before getting into game prep.
It's got several things to work on, Hope says, but chief among them might be ironing out its pass efficiency, from the quarterbacks to pass-catchers, and everything else. But if those are solidified, he likes the potential of the passing game.
"No. 1 is the offensive line," Hope said. "If we can keep it clean across the front, we have the firepower to do very well from a passing standpoint, and that would really make a difference to our football team."
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