football

Gregory eager for new chance; Day 5 notes

RobertGregorydesperatelywantedachancetogetonthefieldforPurdue.
Ifthatmeantanotherpositionswitch,sobeit.
SowhenhemetwithDarrellHazellafterreturningfromsemesterbreak,Gregoryaskedthecoachwherehesawthesophomore's"bestfit."
Whenspringballstarted,Gregorywasondefense,workingwiththesafeties.It'shisthirdpositionsincearrivingatPurdueasaquarterback,thenmovingtorunningbackbutnotgettinganygamesnapstherelastseason.
"Manypeoplefrombackhome,mentors,highschoolcoachesandpeoplethatwatchedmegrowingup,saidsafetywouldbeagoodlook.Withthesizeandtheathleticability,Ihaveachanceofplayingatthenextlevelatthisposition,soIdidn'thaveaproblemwithit,"GregorysaidThursdayafterthefifthdayofPurdue'sspringball.
Afternotplayinganysafetyatanypointpreviously-althoughheplayedalittlebitofcornerbackinhighschool-thetransitionhashaditsupsanddownsthisspring,Gregorysaid.ButhelikesnewsecondarycoachTaverJohnsonandhasbeenappreciativeofthecoach'sdisciplineandfocusonlearning,likerequiringplayerstotakenotesduringmeetings.
Duringpracticeslastseason,Gregoryshowedanabilitytobephysicalwhilehavingtheballinhishands.He'sshownsomefearlessnessearlythisspringatthenewspot.
"He'sahitter,"Johnsonsaid."Hemadeacoupleplays(Thursday).We'vegottocleanhisfeetup.He'salittlebitoffishoutofwater,firsttimeplayingtheposition.ButIlikehim.Bigguylikethatthatcancomeupandcoveralotofground,that'stheplanrightnow(tokeephimhere)."
Earlyinspring,Gregoryhasbeenworkingwiththesecond-teamdefense.LandonFeichterandTaylorRichardshavethetoptwospotslocked,andsophomoreAustinLoganiscomingoffaseasonwithsomegamesnaps.
Still,Gregorydidn'tmakethemovejusttositonthesidelines.
HeevenhadaninterceptionduringWednesday'spractice-thefirstoneduringteamworkintheopenpractices.Hesaiditdidn't,though,becauseitwasactuallyinthewrongplacebuthappenedtomakeaplay.Still,itshowedsomeplay-makingskills,somethingthesecondaryneedsin2014withinterceptionsleaderRicardoAllengraduated.
"Idon'tfeelasifIcontributedasmuchasIcouldhavelastyearplayingtherunningbackposition,"hesaid."Somemakingtheswitch-andwewerekindoflowonbodiesasfarassafetiesgo-soIfigure,I'llcomehelpthemoutwithmyathleticismandmybodytypeandmakeitbustthatway,aswellasstillplayspecialteams."
TalkingupCoachJohnsonhasn'tbeenoncampustoolong-hisfirstchancetomeetwithplayersafterbeinghiredwaslastmonth-buthe'squicklymakinganimpression.
Gregory,TaylorRichardsandFrankieWilliamsallsaidtheyappreciateJohnson'smixedapproach,andtheyfeellikehecanhelpmoldthesecondaryintoasuccessfulgroup.
ForRichards,it'shisfourthdefensivebackscoachinfouryears,whichhasbeen"overwhelming"attimes,hesaid.Buthe'shappywithNo.4.
"IloveCoachJohnson,"Richardssaid."HeremindsmealotofCoachAnarumoandalotofCoachBurns.CoachAfromthedisciplinesidewherewehavetobesotechnicalwitheverythingandCoachBurnswhereit'salotmoreenergyandhebringsthehave-funkindofattitude,reallygetexcitedtoplayfootball.It'sabrandnewday,let'sbringiteveryday.Iloveit,Ireallydo.Ittakesalittlebitofadjusting,butatthesametime,it'sreallygood."
SpeakingoutRichardsspokewithreportersforthefirsttimesincepleadingguiltyinlate-FebruarytoaClassCmisdemeanorofoperatingavehiclewithaBACofatleast0.08ormore.
Hewassentencedto364daysofprobationand32hoursofcommunityservice.Hazell,though,hasyettoannounceanyofhisowndisciplinaryactionsfortheseniorsafety.
"DefinitelywhatIdidwaswrong,"RichardssaidThurssday."IapologizeforeverythingthatIdidtotheuniversity,tomyfootballteam,tomyparents,myfamily.ButCoachHazellishandlingitrightnow,andwhatevertherepercussionsare,we'llfindout.Rightnow,I'mjustfocusingonfootballandgrades."
HeadingoutPurdue'splayerswillscatteroverthenextweek,headingoutforspringbreak.ThreeBoilermakerswillbemakingasignificantjourney-toSouthAfricaonamissiontripheadedbyPurdueathleticchaplainMartyDittmar.
Williams,DolapoMacarthyandSeanRobinsonwillflyfromIndianapolistoLondontoJohannesburg,SouthAfrica,andthenheaduptothesmalltownshipofHammanskraaltohelpatanorphanage.
TheBoilermakerswillbeinSouthAfricaforaboutsixdays,returningtotheStatesonFriday,Williamssaid.
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