Purdue suffered a devastating injury in the spring when starting running back Ralph Bolden blew out his anterior cruciate ligament in the spring and underwent surgery in early May.
The junior-to-be does have a redshirt year available, but Coach Danny Hope said Tuesday he's not ready to slap it on his No. 1 ball-carrier just yet, even though conventional wisdom suggests it will be very difficult for Bolden to return to 100-percent in time for the early portion of the season.
"I don't know if Ralph's going to be ready. I don't have any idea," Hope said Tuesday. "But if he's not ready for the beginning, maybe he can be ready for the Big Ten part (of the schedule). That wouldn't hurt my feelings any, if it's not until that fifth game. That might be very feasible."
It's the second ACL injury of Bolden's career, the first coming at the end of his senior season in high school in Georgia.
Bolden totaled 11 touchdowns and nearly 1,200 all-purpose yards as a true sophomore in his first season as a starter. He'd likely have been a thousand-yard rusher had he not sat out all but one snap of the season finale at Indiana because of a sore hamstring.
With the second-team All-Big Ten back out, sophomore Al-Terek McBurse is now the Boilermakers' presumed starter at running back.
A new running back; more moves coming
Last week, Purdue took a player from one of its thinnest positions and moved him to another when safety Gavin Roberts switched to running back.
"He's a big, good-looking body," Hope said, "who may or may not be the best player we have over there to play in the secondary, not that he's not a good football player. It's just that playing (safety), some other guys have had more success and we're trying to spread the wealth around a little bit. We need some big, physical guys, too (at running back), so we'll give him a shot."
Roberts was one of the few non-freshmen returning in a secondary that loses four starters.
Tuesday, Hope said more such moves could be forthcoming.
"We might take some other guys on our team somewhere," Hope said, "who are not in the two-deep elsewhere and move them to fullback."
Roberts became the second player to move to running back since Bolden was injured in the spring.
Wide receiver Keith Carlos was the first, his switch occurring immediately after.
Wide receiver recruit not coming
Purdue will likely lose one of its 2010 signees.
"I don't expect Chevin Davis to make it," Hope said. "... He dropped the ball with his academic efforts, so I don't think he's going to make it."
The wide receiver was one of four recruits signed out of Mainland High School in Daytona Beach, Fla. The others - Ricardo Allen, O.J. Ross and Jonathan Linkenheimer - are all either already enrolled in school or have spent a great deal of time in West Lafayette this summer.
Hope said his staff knew Davis would be close all along, but deemed him worth the chance.
It would seem, Hope said, as if he'll be the only attrition from the Boilermakers' crop of 2010 signees.
"He's the only one I don't think will make it," Hope said. "I think everyone else we signed will make it. I've been fooled before ... but I don't think there's anyone else who won't be certifiable or admissible. Everything I've seen with their documentation and things, I think it flies, and so do our academic people."
From the existing roster, Hope said there could possibly be more attrition this summer. So far, quarterback Najee Tyler has transferred to Youngstown State for playing time and lineman Monroe Brooks was dismissed from the team after being arrested and charged with theft in late May.
Still holding out
Though the overwhelming sentiment is that touted transfer Robert Marve will be Purdue's starting quarterback in the fall, Hope has not yet publicly stated as much.
The coach maintains that returning sophomore Caleb TerBush remains in contention for the job, while redshirt freshman Rob Henry seems bound for a role as well.
"I'm not going to put a date on a calendar," Hope said, "that says, 'This is the day I do it.' When I make my mind up, we'll announce it. Now, I might make my mind up tomorrow, or it might be a week into camp."
Hope said Marve was "clearly ahead" in multiple areas to begin spring, but soreness in his surgically repaired knee limited him late and prevented the QBs from competing "on the same level," Hope said.
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