football

The trash talk begins: Purdue picks spring game teams

PDF:Springgamerosters
Therewasalectern,aclockcountingdown,tradeproposals,excitedutterancesandguaranteesofsuccess.
Prettymuchanormaldraftdayatmosphere.
ItmayhaveonlybeenforPurdue'sspringgame,butthemoodwaslivelyinsideateammeetingroomWednesdayafternooninMollenkopf.
"It'sfun,"saidseniorquarterbackRobHenry,assignedtotheblackteam."Butatthesametime,it'sserious.We'reallcompetitorsandweallwanttowin.WhenitcomestoSaturday,therewon'tbetoomuchlaughing."
CoachDarrellHazellwasmasteroftheshow,layingdownthegroundrulesfortheselectionsforthegameonSaturday.
Afterseniorsweredividedtotwoteams,goldandblack,theyhadtoselectaspokesmantomakethepicks.Henryheldthehonorfortheblackteam,RicardoAllenforthegold.
Eachteamhadonlyoneminutetomakeaselectionoritwouldforfeitthepick.Oncethepickwasmade,that'dopenupthepositiongroupandtherestofthepicksfromthat"round"hadtobefromthatposition.
Thedrafttookonafranticpace,andHazellwasinthemiddleofitall,callingouteachpickandcrossingnamesoffalistthatwasilluminatedfromanoverheadprojectorontothemainscreeninthefrontoftheroom.
TheblackteamwonthefirstoverallpickonacointossandselecteddefensiveendRyanRussell.
Theotherfirst-pickselectionsbypositiongroup:CenterRobertKugler(gold),quarterbackDannyEtling(black),defensivetackleRyanWatson(gold),cornerbackFrankieWilliams(black),tightendJustinSinz(gold),runningbackAkeemHunt(black),receiverDolapoMacarthy(gold),linebackerJoeGilliam(black),punterThomasMeadows(gold),safetyE.J.Johnson(black),longsnapperJesseSchmitt(gold),kickerSamMcCartney(black).
Afterthedraftconcluded,Hazellsettheclockatthreeminutestoconsidertrades.Oncethetimerbuzzed,Hazellaskedrepresentativesfromeachteamtoproposeanytrades.
Thegoldteam'sproposalofMeadowsandCharlesTorwudzoforRussellwasimmediatelyrejected,astheroomeruptedintolaughter.
HenrythenproposedDannyEtlingforthegoldteam'sKuglerandMeadows.Thatwasgreetedwithaquick"no"fromthegoldteam'scoaches.
WithCodyWebster,asenior,alreadyonthegoldteam,theblackteamhadnopunter,whichiswhyMeadows'namewasinthemix.
Whenaskedifhethoughthisteamanticipatesusingitstwopuntersmuch,Allenrespondedwith"nottoomuch,buttheywill.Andtheydon'thaveone."
Therewasstrategyinvolvedinchoosingteams.
Henrysaidhestudiedinadvanceandhadaphilosophygoingintothedraft.Hewashappywithhowtheblackteamturnedout.
"Wewantedtopickguysthatwereversatile,guysweknewknewtheirassignmentsandwouldbereliable,"hesaid."Especiallywithanewsystemandeverythingthat'sgoingin,it'sbeenhardoneveryone,sothepeoplewhoarethemostreliablewereatthetopofourlist.That'swhowewentwith."
Allensaidthegoldteamwentwiththemostimportantelementfirst,protectingthequarterback.ItalreadyhadCodyDavis,thebackupcenterandsometimesNo.1guard,onitsroster,soitsnaggedstartingcenterKuglerwithitsfirstchanceatpickingtheposition.
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Thesurprisepickofthedraft?MaybeCollinLinkClickThegoldteamalsohasJordanRoos,JoeyWarburgandJustinKitchensupfront.HeretoviewthisLink.,whosepickasthegoldteam'sfirstlinebackerdrew"oooohs"fromthegathering.
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Themostexcitedplayerselected?CharlesTorwudzoClickLink,awalk-on,wasselectedaheadofSeanRobinson,whoisnursinganinjury,ArmsteadWilliams,AndyGarciaandJimmyHerman.HeretoviewthisLink.,whoimmediatelyjumpedoffhisseattoyell"Let'sgo!"andgiveahighfivetoanearbyteammate.
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WithHenryandEtlingonthesameteam,thatmakesAustinApplebyClickThemostrevealingpickofthedraft,knowingfullwellstrategyisinvolved?MaybeMcCartneyoverPaulGriggsClickTorwudzowasthegoldteam'ssecondpickafterMacarthyandaftertheblackteamchoseShaneMikesky.HeretoviewthisLink.withthefirstkickerselection.HeretoviewthisLink.thetopQBforthegoldteam.AustinParkerClickThemostrevealingpickofthedraft,knowingfullwellstrategyisinvolved?MaybeMcCartneyoverPaulGriggsClickTorwudzowasthegoldteam'ssecondpickafterMacarthyandaftertheblackteamchoseShaneMikesky.HeretoviewthisLink.withthefirstkickerselection.HeretoviewthisLink.istheonlyotherQBonthegoldteam,soit'llbeinterestingtoseeifHazelltweakstherostersatall.
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Aftertheselectionsweremade,Hazellhadrepresentativesfrombothteamsstandupandtalkabouttheirteams.
Andthetrashtalkingbegan.
Henrystartedoffcivil,sayinghefeltcomfortablewiththepicksandthetalent.Thenheannouncedit'dbe"totaldomination"bytheblackteam.
TeammateKevinPamphilefollowedsuit,saying"IfIhadtolayoutapredictionrightnow…"andtookalongpausebeforedeclaringthattheblackteamwouldwin"42-0."
Butthegoldteamdishedback.
Afterreiteratingthepersonnel,Allensimplyendedwithtellingtheblackteam"Godbless,"implyingit'dneedsomehelp.
BruceGastonsaidtheblackteam'sO-linewassopoor,he'dhadnoproblemhandlingthemandhehasuseofonlyonehand.
"Obviously,wehavealotofconfidenceinourteam,"Henrysaid."We'llseewhathappens.Attheendoftheday,weallrealizewe'reallonthesameteam.We'reheretomakeeachotherbetter,andifit's42-0,thenhopefullywemadethegoldteambetter."
Withthat,thenoiselevelintheroomshotupagain,withHenry'sblackteammembersquicktosupporthisclaimandthegoldwantingarebuttal.
"We'llsee,"Allensaid.
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Director of sports medicine Doug Boersma gave the "official medical report" before the start of the draft. Four players on offense are out: Danny AnthropClick Here to view this Link., Trevor FoyClick Here to view this Link., Kurt FreytagClick Here to view this Link. and Josh DavisClick Here to view this Link.. For defense, it's Ryan IsaacClick Here to view this Link., Landon FeichterClick Here to view this Link., Greg LattaClick Here to view this Link. and Brandon TaylorClick Here to view this Link..
But Boersma also reeled off the names of players who were "questionable," which he considers "50-50" for Saturday's game, and "probable," a 75 percent chance of playing.
On the offense's questionable list: receiver Gary Bush, fullback Brandon Cottom, Macarthy, Devin Smith and David Yancey. Boersma said Cottom and Yancey would go through drills on Friday to determine if they'd play. He said he thought Macarthy would play, so he's "more probable."
On defense, Allen, Robinson ("cervical sprain"), Taylor Richards were questionable. When asked directly, Allen (ankle) said he is playing.
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Perhaps the most interesting chatter during the draft was between each team's coaches, who were lined up largely on opposite sides of the room.
Jon Heacock is the head coach for the black team and has defensive coordinator Greg Hudson, running backs coach Jafar Williams and tight ends coach Gerad Parker on his staff, as well as GAs Ryan Crow, Brian Mason and Kenyon Blue.
The gold team is led by Rubin Carter, who also has linebackers coach Marcus Freeman, offensive coordinator John Shoop, receivers coach Kevin Sherman and offensive line coach Jim Bridge on staff. Logan Link is the GA.
After the gold team selected Meadows, the gold team's coaches erupted in cheers. Parker, though, wasn't impressed. "We're not trading (for him)!" he announced. Freeman immediately responded, "We don't wanna."
Parker had other choice words for the opposite side of the room, good-naturedly jawing with the gold staff.
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