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Gold and Black Illustrated, Vol 28 Digital 6

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GOLD AND BLACK ILLUSTRATED VOLUME 28, ISSUE 6 56 more, he kicked field goals and kickoffs for the variety and was the punter and a safety on the J.V. A broken back late in his sophomore season, though, led him to drop the place-kicking, but he was busy again the next fall; as a junior, he punted and played defensive back, starting a couple games as a safety. He focused strictly on punting as a senior, because he had become one of the best in the Midwest, if not the country. Meanwhile, Cathedral won, picking up state champi- onship trophies in all four of his years there. As a senior in '14, one of his punts in the Class 5A championship game was muffed by the Westfield return man, setting up an early score for the Irish. "I loved it, because he would flip the field," said Barth, the Irish DC. "It was very explosive to have him back there." Punting is, after all, Schopper's main priority. And he had a solid junior season at Purdue, averaging 40.5 yards on his 73 punts while forcing fair catches on 41. He placed 30 (41.1 percent) of his attempts inside the opponents' 20-yard line. The Boilermakers allowed only 89 punt return yards, a sign Schopper was hitting for solid distance with good hang time, while his teammates covered. But he'd like to see a boost in the areas he can control, looking for slight increases to about a 43-yard average and 4.5 seconds of hang time this year. "The past three seasons, the av- erage hasn't necessarily been as high as I would have liked," Schop- per said. "I've had a lot of short-field situations, which obviously gives me an advantage of dropping balls inside the 20 a lot, which is fun. But if I had the chance, in a long-field situation, I need to put the ball down the field to increase the average a little bit. "(But) I'm not really worried about the stats, if I'm being honest. I just want to go out and do my job every time and if my teammates can look at me and say, 'Hey, you did your job and what we needed you to do,' then I'm satisfied." Schopper, who is majoring in pharmacy, thinks he could give himself a shot at the NFL, if the averages increase a bit this season. But he's more focused on helping the Boil- ermakers win, that includes his duties as a punter, but whatever else might come along as well. Purdue has a new special teams staff, with Mark Tom- merdahl and Kevin Wolthausen sharing the duties left by Levine after his decision to retire following the season. What affect that has on play-calling creativity remains to be seen. But Schopper certainly would love the opportunity. "When you run a fake, it feels good to come off the field when it's successful," he said. "The team will pat you on the back. I can go out on the field and hit a 45-yard punt with a 4.5 hang and I might get a tap on the hat, but running off the field after getting a first down, it definitely feels a little better." j East End Grill merges classic steakhouse dishes with innovative bistro style. The menu combines simple yet hearty fare ranging from chopped salads, to burgers & sandwiches and the best steaks and fish available. 1016 Main Street Lafayette, IN (765) 607-4600 Tue-Thu: 11am - 10pm Fri-Sat: 11am - 11pm Sun: 11am - 9pm Hours of operation

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