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Gold and Black Illustrated, Vol 28 Digital 6

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GOLD AND BLACK ILLUSTRATED VOLUME 28, ISSUE 6 55 plus had five punts that averaged about 49 yards, and af- terward special teams coordinator Tony Levine called it one of the "best individual performances" he'd seen in all his years of coaching. It led to more opportunities, as Levine installed punt fakes that took advantage of Schopper's legs and right arm. "The fact that I was able to be a part of so many things last year was special, for sure," said Schopper, who was also part of the Boilermakers' kickoff return hands team. Schopper's multitalented, in part, because he grew up playing multiple positions. At his small K-8 school in Brownsburg, he played nearly all the skill positions at one time or another, from safety and linebacker to wide receiver and running back, and did all the kicking and punting. Then, at Cathedral, he kept that up, but focused too on playing safety. As a sopho- New coaches, same approach? M ark Tommerdahl has roots in the Midwest. The Minnesota native — he was a Go- phers' assistant in the mid-1990s, when Tony Levine, Purdue's former special teams coordinator and tight ends coach, was a se- nior receiver — says the familiarity with Purdue helped bring him to West Lafayette. The veteran coach of 34 years joined the Boilermakers as their tight ends and spe- cial teams coach, sharing the latter duties with Kevin Wolthausen, who had been a quality control assistant last season. Tommerdahl said the "opportunity" is what brought him to Purdue after Levine retired after last season. "This is a school where I'm comfortable," said Tom- merdahl, who came to Purdue from Utah State and was at Cal before that. "It is just a home feel to me, this part of the country. That's not knocking anywhere else I've been. This just feels like home. And to be able to compete against the schools we're playing against, it's an honor. This is the classic league to compete in. It's a classic league to recruit in." For Wolthausen, his new Purdue opportunity came when the NCAA allowed programs to add a 10th assis- tant, drawing him out of his off-the-field quality control position to a hands-on role again. He's working with special teams and the defensive line. "It's good to get back to where I can actually speak and say things," Wolthau- sen said during the spring. "I've been doing this a long time, and it's good to maybe take a step back last year to see a bigger picture and kind of (re-evalu- ate) things I was doing and now be able to put that into action on the field. It's been a really fun time for me." During the spring practices, Tommerdahl and Wolthausen divvied up special teams coaching duties, an approach that likely will continue in the fall. How that translates, though, to the product is yet to be seen. Punter Joe Schopper, who took advantage of Levine's creativity last season by successfully converting four fake punts, says the approach feels similar now. "I'm sure Coach Tommerdahl will have some tricks up his sleeve," Schopper said. "He's been coaching a long time. He knows the business." — Gold and Black staff Kyle Charters Mark Tommerdahl 1241 Cumberland Ave, Suite B West Lafayette, IN 47906 Phone: 765-497-0197 A Fee-Based Investment Advisor located in the Purdue Research Park 25+ Years of Investment Management Experience Bill Banker, President Purdue University Alumnus '85 Purdue Baseball Alumnus '81-'85

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