David Blough shuffled through nine, maybe 10 pages of rule-lined paper Monday, littered with handwritten scribbles and drawn-up plays.
It was evidence, in a way, of how much Blough gleaned from a long weekend around some of the NFL's greatest quarterbacks at the Manning Passing Academy.
At every opportunity while he was at Nicholls State in Louisiana, Blough latched onto former Colts quarterback Peyton Manning, asking him questions about preparation, leadership, coverages, anything that crossed Purdue's starting QB's mind. He took notes and even some audio, so he was able to play back and listen to Peyton Manning's wisdom at his leisure.
"There were times where he and Eli and a couple other coaches, they just took the 43 QBs, they locked the door and said, ‘Ask whatever you want,’ " Blough said Monday, a day after returning to West Lafayette. "There were great conversations about how he prepared, how he commanded his team, how he led his receivers, how he handled different situations that came up, agents and different management, all the things that went on in his life. It was just knowledge I’d never had before, and to get it from, arguably, the top two quarterbacks to ever play the game, it’s like, ‘This is incredible.’ "
And that was only one piece of the camp, attended by 1,250 campers and 43 college counselors.
There was so much more that had Blough feeling confident, energized and ready to be an even better player for the Boilermakers in 2017.
Blough and the other college QBs spent hours coaching at the camp itself, but they also had time to be coached by the Mannings in college-only portions. Blough loved how Peyton Manning came by and told him after one rep to "get your balance" and how willing Manning was to share other tips.
Even when the college QBs were throwing routes against air, the Mannings were pushed them to take every rep like a game one, urging them to step up in the pocket, change their arm angle, add an arm slot and run to the left and be able to flip around without resetting shoulders, among other things.
"Just different tools and drills that I can work on when I come back here that makes me a better player, makes Purdue a better team," Blough said.
Blough also was able to use the camp as a bit of a measuring stick vs. other elite-level college QBs.
Heisman Trophy winner Lamar Jackson — Louisville's QB and Purdue's Week 1 opponent — was there. Alabama's Jalen Hurts was there. Former Purdue teammate and current LSU QB Danny Etling was there. Blough had a bit of a Brohm connection with Western Kentucky QB Mike White, too. Fellow Big Ten QBs were there as well, including Northwestern's Clayton Thorson, Indiana's Richard Lagow and Nebraska's Tanner Lee.
"I led the Big Ten in a lot of things, including interceptions, and that’s been a huge knock,” Blough said. “So going there, seeing Sam Darnold at USC, Josh Allen from Wyoming, (Washington’s) Jake Browning, Jacob Eason from Georgia, Hurts played in a championship, (I’m thinking), ‘Bring it.’ For me, a lot of it was, ‘I’m going to compete with these guys. I’m going to throw it as well or better than them.’ ... The guys to compete with, Tanner Lee and Thorson, those guys, to see how I stacked up.
“I’ll say I left feeling encouraged by how I threw the ball and how I moved and watched the other guys.”
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