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Gold and Black Illustrated, Vol 26, Digital 5

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GOLD AND BLACK ILLUSTRATED OLUME 26, ISSUE 5 30 But for what was added in the spring, Els saw things he liked — especially the attentiveness and the desire to learn — and things he didn't — namely a bit of a struggle to adjust to offense's formations. And he was able to get a much better feel for the personnel and the talent level of the pieces, which he didn't know too much about coming into the spring. "It was a 50-50 spring. I think we did some things really well, (but) we have a long way to go," Els said. "But at least we got the introductory thing in. We got the concepts down, installed, so now this summer going into fall camp, we can really start getting into more spe- cifics. So from a scheme standpoint, that's what we'd wanted to get accomplished. "We know there are some things we didn't do right that are fixable. Those things we will fix. The things that aren't fixable because of the personnel we have, we have to protect those players in that situation." An example of the latter: Els wanted to find out which corners, nickels and dimes could lock up in press man. He put them in what he called the worst-case scenario: There was no help. So each day, DBs were challenged to man up and produce. Really, only one, junior Da'Wan Hunte, did so consis- tently, coaches said. No surprise, then, Hunte is real- ly the only non-safety coaches feel totally comfortable with heading into the fall. But that approach — testing players — gave Els an- swers. "The last thing I wanted was a kid to be real safe and play off and they throw a hitch and he drives on it and they tackle it for five yards. Well, that doesn't tell me if the kid can play press man all game long. We wanted to put them in very, very tough situations," Els said. "We told them that ahead of time. "Now that we have kind of identified a little bit of who can do it and who's not as good, now we'll get a little bit more realistic." Players were challenged elsewhere on defense, too. The linebackers had to adapt to a completely new mindset and technique, learning to initially make lat- eral movements as opposed to getting downhill fast, Tom Campbell Redshirt freshman Richie Worship improved this spring — and he certainly provides a different element than the rest of Purdue's backs with his fullback-type physique — and could become a factor in the fall because of D.J. Knox's injury.

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