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 54 of 110

GOLD AND BLACK ILLUSTRATED VOLUME 26, ISSUE 6 53 at corner and nickel. And Els tried to put them in uncomfort- able situations, leaving them one-on-one with a receiver on the perimeter, for instance, to test their limits. It left Purdue with a "wide open" depth chart — Els' de- scription — for the summer. And more names could be add- ed. Maybe sophomore David Rose can get back in the mix, after he spent much of the spring working off to the side due to a disciplinary issue. Or redshirt freshman Evyn Cooper, who has the size, being 6-2, 195, but lacks experience. Or maybe a freshman: Josh Hayes, Brandon Shuman or Sim- eon Smiley. "We kept rolling different dudes in (during spring), not because they're bad but because nobody jumped ahead enough to say, 'Hey, that's my spot,' " Els said. "But there's a couple, two or three, who will be fine. And those guys will be playing our nickel and dime spot, too, so once you've identi- fied your top three or four, it's who goes inside and who goes outside? But we've got time to determine that." Purdue might be slightly more settled at safety. Again, though, the Boilermakers rotated through their top options, with Clark, Robert Gregory and Brandon Roberts getting a majority of the first-team snaps in spring. In his first full season as a starter at safety, Clark led the Boilers with 88 tackles, with nine pass breakups and a cou- ple interceptions. Yet, the 5-11, near-200-pounder was scat- tered, good one moment but off the next. "I can tackle, but I need to follow into it more, force fum- bles, get the ball back more," Clark said. "And I only had two interceptions, (and I am) trying to get more than that. I want to be around the ball as much as possible."' Gregory and Roberts split snaps at the other safety, nei- ther able to grab hold of the everyday job. Gregory, who start- ed the first nine games of the season, looks like a fierce hit- ter, at 6-1, 230 pounds, but he didn't always play like one. And Roberts, a sophomore, had growing pains in his move from cornerback before seeming to come on in the last fourth of the season. The 5-11 speedster, though, likely will open camp at nick- el. If he does, it could exacerbate the depth issues at safety; the Boilermakers have Austin Logan, who came on strong at the end of the spring, showing perhaps that he could be a reserve, and incoming transfer C.J. Parker. The latter is said to be an aggressive hitter, wanting to come up in the box to effectively use his 6-2, 205-pound frame. It's not out of the question either that freshman Navon Mosley could find his way into the two-deep. "I think we're going to be better there depth-wise than what we thought in the spring," said Els, who aside from his coordinator duties also coaches the safeties. Purdue plans to use its DBs in more than coverage. In the spring, it frequently rotated a safety into the box or blitzed a nickel back from the edge. Els wants to be multiple in his pressures, whether they be up front or in the secondary. "We'll blitz (our defensive backs) and it won't be the same guy every time, otherwise they could identify it: 'There's Robert Gregory, he's the one always rolling down.' You can't do that," Els said. "We'll roll them down into some man cov- erage, roll them into some zone. We'll blitz them. That's one of the things we're trying to do, be really diverse while giving the same looks. So break the huddle, this is what we're going to look like, walk into it late, let's hit them with the pressure, hit them with the roll down. "I thought our guys really did a good job of disguising to- ward the end of spring ball. … Our offense had trouble with some of the pressure." j Tom Campbell Da'Wan Hunte was the surprise of the spring, grabbing hold of a starting cornerback spot and never letting go. Now, find- ing more like him will be an issue.

Articles in this issue

Archives of this issue

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