football

Sinz important piece of offense; notes

JustinSinzcontainshisexcitementwell.
Hisvoiceneverelevates.Thesmilesarekepttoaminimum.Hemanagestomaturelytalkaboutthetightend'svaryingrolesinPurdue'soffensewithoutahintofgiddiness.
Sinzcertainlycouldhave.
TheremaynotbeabetterschemeforatightendtoplaythanJohnShoop'sprostyleapproachthatnotonlyisreliantondouble-tightendformationsbutalsoitsbevyofresponsibilitiesforthatposition.
AndthoughSinztechnicallyistheNo.2tightendtoGabeHolmes,themoreathleticandflashyoption,SinzactuallymaybethebesttightendonPurdue'sroster.
"He'swhatyouwantinatightend-he'sgotthewholepackage,"saidcenterRobertKugler,whojokedhewisheshe'dstayedattightendafterseeingthisnewoffense.
"He'sagreatablockingtightendandhe'sveryathletic.Hecangooutthereandmakeplays,buthe'stoughinsideandhecanhandleadefensiveend.He'ssmart,too.Hecanhandleallthedifferentplaysandthepositions.He'sreliableinallaspects,onthefieldandoffthefield."
Aformerhighschoolquarterback,Sinzhasshowcasedsomeofthebesthandsamongthetightendgroup.Theadjustmentwasn'tthattoughtocatchingballsinsteadofthrowingthem,Sinzjoked,remindingthatinquarterbackdrills,hehadtoplaycatch.
It'stakenmoretime,though,feelingcomfortableontheotherrequirementsofbeingareceivingtightend.
"IalwaysthoughtIhadprettydecenthands,andnowthatI'vegottenmoreconfidentintheroute-runningandknowingmyassignments,ItrynottothinkaboutittoomuchandjustletmynaturalabilitytakeoverandmaketheplaysIshould,"hesaid.
Sinzandtherestofthetightendswillbefrequenttargets.They'reoftenquickreadsforthequarterback,andthey'vebeenlargelyreliableatmakingthecatchestogainpositiveyards.Sinzlikelywon'tbetheonerunningdeeproutes-leavethattoHolmes-butit'sasafebetthathecouldsurpasshiscareertotalincatches(seven)duringnon-conferenceplay.
That'llbe,too,becauseSinzlikelywillstayonthefield.
OtherthanPatrickBade,whoiskindofthedesignatedpoint-of-attackblockeroncertainplays,SinzprobablyisPurdue'smostphysicaltightend.
Andthat'sgoingtobekey,too,inShoop'soffense.
"We'rethefocalpointofalotofblocksandalotofrunsarerightbehindus,andourblocksarecrucialtothesuccess,"Sinzsaid."Sowehavetoreallytakeownershipinthatandbephysicalatthepointofattackbecauseanyleakageoranypenetrationonourblockswillprobablybetheresultofabadplay.We'veworkedonthatandgottenalotbettersincethespring,andweneedtocontinuetoworkonthat.Butwe'redoingaprettygoodjob.
"Forus,asmanyplaysaswecangetandmake,that'sourgoal."
LeadingthechargeRobertKuglerhasbeenoneofthemostconsistentlyproductiveoffensivelinemenintrainingcamp,seeminglywinningthebulkofhisone-on-onebattlesindrillsagainstdefensivelinemenandtakingcontroloftheO-lineinteamwork.
Buthe'snotjuststeadyfromaproductionstandpoint.Hispresenceiscrucial.
InTuesday'spractice,Kuglerwasbleedingfromacutonhisleftarmandtheathletictrainersstoppedhimtowrapit.Kuglerwasvisiblyirritated,tryingtorushtheirtapejob.Hesimplyexplaineditlaterashedoesn'twanttomissanyrep-evenindrills.
That'sexactlythekindofmakeupPurduewantsandneedsupfront,andit'ssomethingthat'snoticedbyteammates,evenontheothersideoftheball.
"YoulookatKuglerandIdon'twanttosayhe'sundersized,buthe'snotsomeoneyoulookatandsay'Wow'about,"linebackerSeanRobinsonsaid."Butwhathehas,whatseparateshimfromeverybodyelse,ishismentalapproach.He'stheonewho'sblockingfive,10yardsdownthefield.Hetakesitpersonal.Whoeverhe'sgoingupagainst,everytime.Ifhedoesn'twin,that'sadisrespecttohimself.He'sjustsomentallystrongandhejusttakesitpersonal."
Kugler'sspotandKevinPamphileatlefttacklearetheonlyonesthathaven'tbeenshufflingthiscamp.
Theguardspotsstillmaynotbeset.
IfDevinSmithdoesn'treturnfromanMCLinjurybeforetheopener,JasonKingwillstartatleftguard,DarrellHazellsaidWednesday.
"We'rehopingtoget(Smith)backbyTuesday.Hefeelsabout70percentrightnow,"Hazellsaid."Probablygoingtohavetosplitrepsregardlessbecausehewon'tbeinasgoodofshapeasyou'dlikehimtobe."
TrevorFoyandJordanRoosstillarebattlingfortherightguardspot,Hazellsaid,thoughFoyhasaslightedgeatthispoint.RoosgotsomeworkwiththeNo.1offenselateinpracticeWednesday.RegardlessofwhostartsagainstCincinnati,though,Hazellsaid"RooswillplayforsurenextSaturday."
OnthemendJoeGilliamhadthepinremovedfromhisleftpinkiefingerWednesday,andhe'stargetingareturnfortheopener,Hazellsaid.
"It'sgoingtobeaday-to-dayprocessforhim,"Hazellsaid."It'samedicalthing.Youcannevertell.He'shealingverywellrightnow,butthatthinghastocloseupbeforehecanbangit."
ThoughGilliamdoesn'thaveloadsofexperience-lastseasonwashisfirstasafull-timestarter-heisPurdue'sbestcurrentoptionatmiddlelinebacker.WillLucasandJimmyHermanhavebeensharingrepswiththe1ssinceGilliamhasbeenout,butoftentimestheBoilermakershavehadbreakdownsinthemiddleofthefield.
Andthatisnotgood.
"Losing39likewedid,it'sliketakingDerekJeteroutofthelineup,"defensivecoordinatorGregHudsonsaid."Themiddleissoimportant.WhenBruce(Gaston)isn'tinthereandyourbestMikelinebacker(isn't)…youhavetobegreat,notgood,youhavetobegreatupthemiddle.WhenyoupullJeteroutandagreatcenterfielderorcatcher,you'vegotissues.Wegetgoodupthemiddle,we'llbeallright."
Etc.
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GastonwaslimitedagaininpracticeonThursday-he'shardlyhadanyteamrepssincetweakinghishamstringandmissedthelastfourdaysofcamp.ButHazellisn'tworried.
"He'sjustwherewewanthimtobe,"HazellsaidofGaston."We'replayingthatonesafe.Hewantstobeoutthere,butwewon'tlethimbeoutthere.Wehavetobesmartaboutthat.You'vegottogetyourAplayerstothegame."
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