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Gold and Black Illustrated, Vol 28 Digital 6

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GOLD AND BLACK ILLUSTRATED VOLUME 28, ISSUE 6 40 he's the play-caller, although he shares the coor- dinator title with Anthony Poindexter — is part of the reason why. A veteran of more than 30 seasons, Holt implemented an aggressive style in '17, taking advantage of the size, experience and physicality of the then-veteran front seven. The style stays the same in '18. "It's always going to be: We're going to play hard, we're going to play physical, we're going to play smart," Holt said during a lengthy conversation in mid-June, just as players were returning to campus for the summer. "Physical, tenacious, confident and classy. That's our motto, and that's the way we roll. That's the way we do things, and that's not ever go- ing to change. The names change and maybe some of the bodies, the size and the speed. Hopefully, we're always going to have big, fast guys, but it might not be that as much this year. But as far as our style, that's who we are. "We're going to play hard. We're going to tackle. We're going to be physical. We're going to run to the ball. We're going to play with enthusiasm, and play with a little class. That's what we preach here, and hopefully that's what will show up on gameday." Purdue is banking on being strong up the mid- dle, where the remaining experience lies. Markus Bailey, a junior linebacker on the verge of stardom, shifts to a more natural inside position after play- ing well on the outside last season. The presence of Mosley and fellow safety Jacob Thieneman is criti- cal, but Purdue is hoping they bring improved play- making this season, along with steady play. Big de- fensive tackle Lorenzo Neal, who has shown flashes in his first couple years, moves into a bigger role now, where consistency and durability will be huge- ly important. Otherwise, Purdue has a lot of personnel ques- tions, although those center not so much around "who?" but "how well?" The Boilermakers like the physical size they can place on the edges of the de- fensive line, with prospects like 6-foot-4 junior Kai Higgins at the hybrid Leo position, and Giovanni Reviere, a 6-5 redshirt freshman at end. Sophomore Derrick Barnes is a promising prospect at middle linebacker, one Purdue hopes can be a longtime fix- ture in the center of the defense. Redshirt freshman cornerbacks Kenneth Major and Dedrick Mackey had, probably, the best springs of any of the Boilermaker underclassmen, with Ri-'s Mike Farrell putting the duo among his By The Numbers 21 105.5 6' 3 1 ⁄4" Percentage of starters' com- bined snaps, unofficially, last season that return for 2018. The leader of the returnees is also No. 21, Markus Bailey, who unofficially played all but 17 of the Boilermakers' 930 total defensive snaps last year. The other 79 percent of the starters' snaps went to the seven who departed. Yards, per game, that Purdue's rush defense improved, from 2016 to '17, a remarkable one- year step that ranked fourth- best in the country. In '16, the Boilermakers allowed 238.1 yards per game on the ground, the 115th-best mark in the country; it was 132.9 last year, No. 29 in the NCAA. Average height of Purdue's projected starting defensive line — 6-foot-5 Giovanni Reviere, 6-4 Kai Higgins (pictured), 6-2 Lorenzo Neal and 6-2 Keiwan Jones — making it one of the bigger groups, particularly in terms of height, in recent mem- ory. Particularly, that's so at Leo and end, with imposing figures Higgins and Reviere. Photos by Tom Campbell (Bailey, rush defense); Stacy Clardie (Higgins)

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