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Gold and Black Illustrated, Vol 26, Digital 6

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GOLD AND BLACK ILLUSTRATED VOLUME 26, ISSUE 6 28 OL Malone often will detach the tight end from the line and position him as a split wide receiver. "I think we make a huge mismatch for other teams," Herdman said of that opportunity. "We all can run well. I think we use our size well if you have a nickel on us or an undersized, hybrid linebacker, we can move him and when we have a smaller guy, we're just going to body him up. I feel like we have a really good advantage when we're split out as well." Herdman, likely, will have the most opportunity to do so. Despite not starting last season, Herdman actually got more snaps on offense than fifth-year senior Jordan Ju- rasevich and made the most of them by proving to be a reliable pass-catcher. But that's not all he can be, Malone said. "I think he's going to be at the point here pretty soon that he's going to be able to do everything for us, in terms of his blocking, protection, route-running, catching, run- ning with the ball after the catch. I think he's really going to be a complete player," Malone said. Of the redshirt freshmen, the 6-5, 251-pound Hopkins offers athleticism, good hands and changes direction well, while 6-6, 237-pound Trussell has potential to become a physical presence at the end of the line as a blocker. A year after allowing 30 sacks — six in the finale with two starters missing — and helping Purdue to only 131.3 rushing yards per game (13th in the Big Ten), the Boiler- makers' line must be better. A pair of fifth-year guards with 58 starts between them, two new full-time starters and a player coming off shoul- der surgery likely will be charged with holding up and making holes in 2016. "I think this group is going to thrive under pressure," new center Kirk Barron said. "(We will) just go out there and be physical, be smart and play fast." Guards Jason King and Jordan Roos, one of whom could be a captain this season, are the "rocks" of the line, Herdman said. Roos may be the most svelte-looking 300-pound line- man ever after working intently to perfectly craft his body, balancing offseason yoga to increase flexibility and lift- ing and squatting an incredible amount to gain low- er-body strength. His fierce attitude, though, may be even more important to his success. King could be the front's most consistently produc- tive player, not allowing a single sack last season, and often carving the way for rushing touchdowns with a relentless, aggressive style. After each season, he pin- points an area he wants to address and be "special" in by the time the next season rolls around. This off- season, he's targeting being consistent in one-on-one blocking and being able to get movement. "It's not an easy thing to do, one-on-one run-block- ing and trying to move a guy. But if I could be stronger in that — and I think I'm taking the steps I need to take in order to be that this season — I think I will end as a very complete player," said King, probably the best pro prospect on the line. "I think that's what I'm missing." The other three spots offer less certainly, mostly be- cause they'll be filled either by first-year, full-time start- ers in Barron and Martesse Patterson or by a fifth-year senior (Cameron Cermin) coming off shoulder surgery. Barron's most significant game experience has been Tom Campbell The most experienced player in a young tight end group, Cole Herdman will be relied on not only to hold up in the run game as a blocker but also open up the offense as a receiver.

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