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Gold and Black Illustrated, Vol 26, Digital 6

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GOLD AND BLACK ILLUSTRATED VOLUME 26, ISSUE 6 31 ly is categorized by teammates as an athletic freak, despite his con- siderable size. But slimming down from his spring playing weight of 357 pounds would best-suit Patter- son from a conditioning standpoint: He'll likely be needed to play a sea- son's worth of 80-snap games. And that could be a key to Purdue's abil- ity to be better up front — there is little depth behind the top five. Shoulder surgery forced Cermin to miss the spring. In his place, redshirt freshman Matt McCann emerged as the "starting" right tackle. But it's likely Cermin as- sumes that role by Week 1, consid- ering his experience, intelligence and toughness. Other than McCann, though, the rest of the top group will need to be figured out during camp. Newcom- er Jalen Neal could factor in at one tackle spot, and returning players Mike Mendez and Bearooz Yacoobi could be on the two-deep. There's no indication heading into camp who Barron's backup will be at cen- ter, which is a significant concern. Still, Purdue feels good about its front. "That's what we're going to be known for this season," said Herd- man, who considers himself part of that group. "A lot of people are say- ing we have some spots to fill, but I think we're going to show we can play with anybody in the country. We're going to play tough and attack every play." j

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