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Gold and Black Illustrated, Vol 28 Digital 6

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Page 45 of 91

GOLD AND BLACK ILLUSTRATED VOLUME 28, ISSUE 6 46 ically looking the part, at 6-3, 265. Purdue used him as a back- up to Reviere at defensive end, but slid one or the other inside on occasion as well. Despite the line's inexperi- ence, it'll have to find a way to be productive. Last season, Purdue was excellent against the run, particularly when compared to years past, giving up only 132.9 yards per game, more than 100 yards fewer than the year before. Part of that was linemen holding gaps and allowing linebackers to fill to make plays. Can these new young linemen hold up the same way? "One big challenge will proba- bly be against the run game, like vs. Wisconsin and those teams, it'll be really tough," Reviere said. "Because we have some young guys. We haven't played a snap yet. And I know for a fact that them boys are going to be ready for us. That's one thing that's been on my mind this summer and one thing that's re- ally been pushing me, being able to handle my own in the trenches." Purdue needs that kind of attitude, because the offseason work will get the underclassmen into the right shape to play in the fall. "Some of these guys look good, now we've got to get them to play good," Holt said. "They have to get tougher and more physical. How do they get more physical? As a defense, and they did this last year, they've got to get stronger in the weight room. They need to have a great, great (summer) so we can be who we want to be. … I know obviously everybody wants to see the end result, and hopefully we be- come a really good, aggressive defense, but it starts now. We have who we have, so we're going to have to coach them up." Linebackers Purdue can't fill its two-deep with scholarship linebackers. That was the case as of mid- June, when the Boilermakers were slated to start training camp with just five on scholar- ship, only one of whom, Bailey, has played significantly. It's a 180-degree change from a year ago, when Purdue was not only talented, but deep, with three seniors, plus Bailey, mak- ing up its top four. But Bailey is the only one left — and that's significant, considering he's Purdue's best player — joined by sophomores Barnes, Cornel Jones and Tobias Larry. Fresh- man Jaylan Alexander arrived in the summer, but Jack Smith didn't. His status for 2018 is un- known. "We realize that we're far be- hind what we were last year," Bailey said. "I think some of those guys are coming along and they are starting to realize that they have to put in the work and do extra hand combat, do extra conditioning, lots of extra film, work on their explosiveness. There are things we all have to get better at if we want to get to where we were last year." Bailey, of course, will be central to that effort. The junior is Purdue's leading returnee in tackles (89), tackles for loss (11) and sacks (seven), with that coming at what's considered the least-productive linebacker position. But although he was excellent at strongside linebacker, where he plays more in coverage, he should be even more so on the inside. The 6-1, 235-pounder is shifting to the weak side, where he played a couple years ago, where Purdue expects him to increase his productivity, maybe into the triple-digits in tackles, while still being able to get after the quarterback. Tom Campbell Junior Navon Mosley is one of Purdue's most experienced players, having started 22 games over the last two seasons. But he thinks he took a major step forward in the spring, feeling like he has a much better grasp of the defense.

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