Purdue starting linebacker Dwayne Beckford and receiver O.J. Ross won't participate in spring practice and their future with the team is up in the air.
Both players missed the Little Caesars Pizza Bowl, Beckford for disciplinary issues and Ross for academic ones.
When asked whether it was just an issue for the spring or long term, Coach Danny Hope said, "We'll see how it goes."
Beckford was Purdue's leading tackler after the regular season but finished No. 2 on the team after not playing in the team's first bowl game since 2007. He was suspended after being arrested on suspicion of operating a vehicle while intoxicated. Beckford recently was charged with possession of marijuana, a Class A misdemeanor, also stemming from that incident, the Journal & Courier reported on Monday. Police told the newspaper that Beckford's car was impounded after his arrest and the substance was later found.
A new approachWith the task of installing and learning a new defense a top priority this spring, Hope said he's treating the team's two practices this week as "mini camp."
Players will stay in shorts instead of wearing full pads as they continue to adjust to the new system and largely new defensive coaching staff.
"I thought that our defense was really trying to hustle in every phase of their play," Hope said. "We have a lot of new stuff in, so we're not really familiar with it all yet, and guys are feeling their way around some, but I like the energy from the coaches and the players. I think they know where these coaches are coming from and what they're hanging their hat on.
"As a defensive staff, I like the package and I think what I've seen of it so far, I think they're doing a great job presenting it. It's very simple, easy to understand, has a lot of carry over. I think it's going to be something that our players can pick up on really fast."
Next week, Purdue won't practice during spring break.
Switching it upHope already has made several moves, perhaps the most noteworthy being quarterback Sean Robinson's move to defense.
Robinson started working at linebacker for the first time in Tuesday's practice.
"We had a discussion with him and told him this is how the reps are going to be in the spring (and we're) concerned about you not getting enough reps to really advance at the quarterback position," Hope said. "We have two senior quarterbacks and that could change down the road. We opted for Sean to move over at defense and give him a shot this spring. We'll see how it goes."
Patrick Bade is at offensive tackle now after being a tight end, and he's up to about 270 pounds, Hope said. He's the second tight end who moved to offensive line of late, joining Robert Kugler.
Ishmael Aristide approached the coaching staff on his own and offered to move from the secondary to receiver, so he'll be there this spring.
Trevor Foy is flip-flopping on the offensive line, moving from right tackle to left to replace Dennis Kelly.
Making a listOffensive coordinator Gary Nord said he'd like to see his unit made strides in several areas this spring.
They include: Getting guys lined up and able to control the tempo, not have any pre-snap penalties, generate more big plays, continue to limit unforced turnovers and paying attention to detail of assignments.
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