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Gold and Black Illustrated, Vol 26, Digital 6

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GOLD AND BLACK ILLUSTRATED VOLUME 26, ISSUE 6 45 DL emergence at a cornerback spot and Leroy Clark at safe- ty. And the Boilermakers have major concerns about their lack of experience on the interior of the defensive line, outside of potential standout Jake Replogle. "We need depth, we really do, and that's something where we need to develop the guys who are backing up right now and we need to recruit," said Els, who previous- ly coached linebackers at Nebraska. "Our first unit, af- ter spending four years in the Big Ten West, I love them. We'll be competitive. After that is the guys we have to get ready to go. Is it mentally? Yes. Is it physically? Yes. What- ever the situation is with each guy, we need to get better at that, but that's what summer and fall camp are for." It's critical. If Purdue wants to be able to match up by putting extra defensive backs on the field, it's going to need to develop those who lack experience. If it wants to keep its defensive line fresh, it's going to need to get a freshman, or two, ready to go. Only then will the Boilermakers truly be able to match man for man, trying to get the best 11 on the field for any given situation. "Ideally when they put speed in, we put speed in and when they put big guys in, we put big guys in," Els said. "And that's what we mean by match. We don't want to get into that mismatch, either by a physical standpoint or speed. In an ideal world, as soon as they sub, we're going to sub." Following is a breakdown of the personnel, posi- tion-by-position, that will be tasked with running Els' scheme. Randy Melvin likes to keep score. He does so for his own guys, track- ing good plays, like tackles, sacks, assignments, etc., and bad ones, like blown opportunities, failed execution and lazy effort. And the score system was rolled into a daily ranking system during spring practices, with players moving up and down the chart. It created a competition that could be critical to development. "That score sheet was extreme- ly competitive," senior defensive end Evan Panfil said. "Every time we got in the defensive meeting room, guys were up at the white board looking at their scores with comments on who went up and who went down. To that end, I love that it was in the open for everyone to see — it was everyone's business — because it made it that much more competitive. Guys didn't want to be embarrassed. They wanted to improve, wanted to look good in front of everyone else. And you should." But the scorecard did more than affect players' at- titudes, it influenced the two-deep, too. Probably not surprisingly, tackle Replogle and Panfil were the higher scorers, with the veterans taking two of the four starting spots on the D-line during the spring. Sophomore Eddy Wilson had another, ascending to No. 1 at nose tackle at the start of practices with the then-sus- pension of Ra'Zahn Howard, who ultimately left the pro- gram. Those three look solidly entrenched as starters this fall, a sign not only of their ability (particularly in the case of Replogle and Panfil) but also in the lack of depth behind (like with Wilson). But the other defensive end position was fluid in the spring and could be again during training camp. Junior Gelen Robinson, a player high on yet-to-be- cashed-in potential, began as the starter, but then lost his job to newcomer Austin Larkin, a J.C. transfer. Robinson even briefly dropped to third team for a practice, behind junior Antoine Miles, before moving back to No. 2. But it was movement based in reason, not just a coach's whim. "(The score chart) provided feedback and they saw the things that allowed them to make plays, so it was 1241 Cumberland Ave, Suite B West Lafayette, IN 47906 Phone: 765-497-0197 A Fee-Based Investment Advisor located in the Purdue Research Park 25+ Years of Investment Management Experience Bill Banker, President Purdue University Alumnus '85 Purdue Baseball Alumnus '81-'85

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