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Gold and Black Illustrated, Vol 28 Digital 6

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GOLD AND BLACK ILLUSTRATED VOLUME 28, ISSUE 6 51 H e was "losing his mind." That's the way Navon Mos- ley describes it. Against Min- nesota last season, after Purdue had given up a touchdown to the Gophers, linebacker Markus Bailey came to the sideline and freaked out, ranting and raving and carrying on. It was next-level frustration, more than a player might typically exhibit after blowing a play, even one result- ing in a score. But the histrionics cut to the core of who Markus Bailey is, a player driven by the fear that he'll be exposed, as ridiculous as that sounds for Purdue's best player and one of the best linebackers in the Big Ten. But it's pervasive. Kirk Barron recalls Bailey missing a tackle — not even in a game, but in practice — and then holding on to it for weeks afterward. Linebackers coach Nick Holt, the co-de- fensive coordinator, has seen the same, and knows he can light Bailey's fire by telling him he's screwed something up, and then watch as he works an extra 20 minutes to straighten it out. Bailey hates the idea that if he messes up on game day, there are at least 60,000 fans who see it in person, plus millions more on TV. "He's one of those really picky people," Mosley said. "What's the word when somebody critiques themselves so hard? Perfectionist. They want to be perfect. That's definitely him. Whether it's in the weight room or on the field, he's one of those guys. If he messes up a rep, he's going to stay after practice to work on it, like five times. I love those kinds of people because they strive for perfec- tion in everything that they do." After his knee injury in 2015, Markus Bailey came back to start the first game the following season. But it's not the quick rehab and return that he remem- bers most about Sept. 3, 2016. Instead, it's the touchdown. Late first quarter, Eastern Kentucky is at the Purdue 10-yard line — the Boilermakers were already up 21-0 — and Colonels' backup QB Bennie Coney hits Dan Crim- mins for a score. In the history of Purdue football, the play will go down as nothing. Completely insignificant. Maybe not to Crimmins, perhaps, with the FCS tight end scoring at FBS Purdue's Ross-Ade Stadium. Maybe Coney remembers, but he also threw 38 other touchdowns in his career, so it's probably not at the top of his list. Oh, and it was significant to Bailey. It's stuck with him all these years, the same as a number of other plays — negative ones — that have gone against him. Of course, in football, bad things happen at times, even to the best of players, but Bailey lists off his own personal nightmares by op- ponent: Eastern Kentucky, Michigan, Minnesota, each usually involving a tight end scoring a touchdown. Ask for details and he'd certainly be able to provide them. The Crimmins play? "I tried to jump for the ball and missed it, and he scored a touchdown on me," Bailey said. "I'm like, 'This is my first game and people don't know much about me, and I just got scored on in front of everybody.' I was just like, 'That's the worst feeling ever.' I had to bring myself back in, you can't let that change the rest of the game for you, got to let it go, but that's one of the hardest things for me to do. It's still in the back of my mind." The same can be said about the touchdown Minnesota tight end Brandon Lingen scored on Oct. 7, 2017 in Ross- Ade. Standing in their own end zone as the Gophers lined up at the 2, Bailey and Mosley, a safety, discussed cover- ages, with them agreeing that Bailey would stay with Lin- gen if the tight end released off the line of scrimmage. He did, but Bailey didn't follow, allowing Lingen an easy score and leaving the two Boilermaker defenders confused as to what went wrong. "He had a little brain (fade) and he let the guy slip (out)," Mosley said, "and the quarterback hit the tight end for a pop pass, right on the goal line for a touchdown. And ever since then, when we get to the goal line, (Bai- ley's) screaming 'Pop pass.' He lost his mind on the side- line after he gave that up. It's things like that (that really bother him), little mistakes like that. "It was a mistake in the game that cost us a touch- down, but most people are like, 'OK, let's see the next play.' Markus was on himself. After that, he watched film Charles Jischke/Purdue Athletics

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