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Gold and Black Illustrated, Vol 28 Digital 6

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GOLD AND BLACK ILLUSTRATED VOLUME 28, ISSUE 6 45 doesn't have a vet- eran waiting to take over. Instead, it's tal- ented but still devel- oping — physically but also in know-how — redshirt freshman Robert McWilliams. Listed at only 220 pounds in the spring, but said to have made needed strides during the offseason, the 6-4 Williams brings a different element as an edge rusher. He's fast. During the spring, he showed it frequent- ly, getting around the corner against Pur- due's offensive tack- les, particularly in one-on-one position- al drills. If he gains some much-need- ed weight, and can translate drills to Saturday, then Wil- liams might find a niche as a third-down pass-rusher. And Purdue needs it. The Boilermakers haven't had a defen- sive end produce dou- ble-digit sacks since 2010, back when Ryan Kerrigan had 12.5. Otherwise, Purdue doesn't have a lot of depth on the perim- eter. Freshman Jeff Marks arrived in the spring already phys- N ick Holt encoun- ters some new challenges in his second year as Purdue's co-defensive coordinator and play-caller, needing to mold a young, inexperience unit into a successful one. Following are excerpts from a mid-June interview: Gold and Black: The strength of the defense is the secondary, but you're go- ing to need the front to hold up its end too, right? Holt: "If we're not very good up front or we're not physical, it doesn't matter if our DBs are great. If all these running backs get to the second level, it doesn't matter. "We've got to do a good job up front, and we will. We have good schemes, and we'll make it good for them. Our guys just have to be able to get off blocks and run to the ball. Last year, I thought we did that pretty well." Gold and Black: It helps, probably, that players you'll rely on now learned from veterans last season. Holt: "Our guys that are in the program, most of them are young and they don't know any different except what we've done. They've had a pretty good bunch of guys that have taught them how to play, quite honest- ly. They've had some good role models and some of these guys might not be great, great players, but they kind of know how to play. They understand the effort that it takes to be good because they've been around, they've seen it for a year and that's kind of all they know. Hopefully, it rubs off on them. I think it has." Gold and Black: Is that the foundation that you feel like you've built from last year? Holt: "Yes, a good foundation on how we do things and our expectations and our pro- cess. You hit it on the head. What we expect from our guys and I think our guys kind of know that." Gold and Black: Could any freshmen play on the defense this season? Holt: "We've got so many young D-line- men, but they're not going to be big enough, not strong enough. I think one of the corners or safeties, like the corner from Texas, (Jor- dan) Rucker. I like him. Maybe I'm jumping the gun too much, I'd love to see Cory Trice. I can't wait to see him on our practice field. (Linebacker) Jaylan Alexander, I'm very in- terested to see if he can come in and help right away. "I'd love to see some of these guys but, be- ing realistic, the bottom line is that they're all young and probably need a redshirt year to just learn." — Kyle Charters Tom Campbell

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