GBI Magazine

Gold and Black Illustrated, Vol 26, Digital 6

Gold and Black is a multi-platform media company that covers Purdue athletics like no one else.

Issue link:

Contents of this Issue


Page 45 of 110

GOLD AND BLACK ILLUSTRATED VOLUME 26, ISSUE 6 44 level is something we need to pick up," junior lineback- er Danny Ezechukwu said. "The details, I just feel like (we're) harping on those details, practicing those details, as opposed to the other scheme. "I think the past (system) was a lot simpler, believe it or not, I just think we lacked execution on the players' standpoint. I don't think it was coaching at all. I think as players, we thought it was so simple that we could com- pensate and use our athleticism to skate through, which wasn't true. But in this defense, you can't do that. Either you do it right or it's going to get exposed quickly." The Boilermakers spent spring practices installing the basics of the scheme, then drilling its finer points. Play- ers watched film, then spent 15 minutes walking through plays before practices; then after, they'd get a preview of the next practice's focal points during a film session. And it was repeated over and over, with Els and his defensive staff constantly taking moments to ask players about their assignments during the pre-practice walk- throughs. It wasn't uncommon to see Els working with a nickel back, making sure he knew his assignment on a certain coverage, only to then turn to Ezechukwu and ask, "And who do you have?" And in turn, players were free to ask for clarification, as well. "It had to grow on me," Ezechukwu said, "because I'm one of those players that change is fine but it takes me a minute to adapt to it. I need to understand why. Coach (Marcus) Freeman always preaches to our (linebackers) room that we're in the 'Why Generation.' We always need to understand as people, as a society, if we don't know why we're doing something, that's when we tend to strug- gle. "So for me at first, it was like, 'Why are we doing this? How are we supposed to see what we're doing and correct it?' And Coach Els was just throwing everything at you and getting to the corrections later. But the communication was a big help. It cut down on the missed assignments and things like that — you had some mistakes and men- tal breakdowns here or there — but those walkthroughs before practice, of stuff we were installing, and the ones after practice of what we'd be installing the next day, it was inexcusable to go out there (in practice) and make a mistake. We had just walked through all the scenarios." Implementation continued over the summer, with Els sending out weekly e-mail blasts highlighting schemes or particular blitz packages. And they hammered them again during the eight hours weekly that coaches are al- lowed to meet with players during the summer months. But the Boilermaker defense needs not only mental gains, but physical ones too. Purdue is thin on defense, in a few critical spots in particular. It left the spring without its secondary set, aside from Da'Wan Hunte's Tom Campbell Evan Panfil seemed frustrated by his previous play, so much so that he vows to be better in 2016. Perhaps better pass rush? That's the goal.

Articles in this issue

Archives of this issue

view archives of GBI Magazine - Gold and Black Illustrated, Vol 26, Digital 6