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Gold and Black Illustrated, Vol 27, Digital 1

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Page 37 of 78

GOLD AND BLACK ILLUSTRATED VOLUME 27, ISSUE 1 38 T erry Malone's offense is built on running deep routes and making defenses defend them. If they don't, Purdue will take its shots downfield. If they do, Purdue will take advantage of the room underneath. There are options in the passing game to satisfy either scenario. Starting outside receivers DeAngelo Yancey and Domonique Young proved in training camp they are consistent deep-play threats. They insist though they're tall — both over 6-foot-2 — they're not slow, clocking in the 4.5 40-yard dash range. But it's not just the deceptive speed and ability to gain separation that makes the duo dangerous. Getting open is only half the requirement. The other — fin- ishing plays with the catch — is something both excelled at in camp. They showcased an ability to track the ball in the air and adjust as needed before allowing it to drop perfectly into their arms, whether that meant speeding ahead or pausing to block off the DB before going up and snatching it out of the air. With them working down the field, slot receivers Cameron Posey and Gregory Phillips and tight end Cole Herdman have opportunities in the middle. Posey and Phillips may be the team's most sure-handed players, and they caught nearly every ball thrown their way in camp, even the ones that didn't look reachable. If camp is any indication, Herdman could be a matchup challenge against linebackers, using his big body, strong hands and decent athleticism to make plays. He'll be a factor this fall. … That's assuming, of course, Purdue's offensive line comes together to give David Blough time to deliver the ball. The interior looked solid with fifth-year seniors Jason King and Jordan Roos locking down the guard spots and first-year starter Kirk Barron seizing the center spot. But the tackles are another story. Martesse Patterson has potential to be a good one on the left side with athleticism uncommon for a 330-pounder, but there's a question whether he's conditioned enough to play an entire game. Fatigue often leads to mistakes, and mistakes at left tackle can be disastrous. Had Cameron Cermin come out this camp and not strug- gled to overcome the men- tal hurdle of his offseason shoulder surgery, maybe he already would have seized the right tackle spot. But he was tentative early, allowing redshirt freshman Matt McCann and JUCO Jalen Neal to get extensive snaps with the 1s ahead of him. Cermin ultimately seems like the answer there — he's started 20 games in his career, including 10 at right tackle last season — but he'll need to get the confi- dence and (literal) punch back he showcased at the end of last season first. … Under the smartest-de- cision category, Markell Jones didn't get much work this camp. He did just enough to stay involved and loose, showing glimpses of the shake and elu- siveness he displayed in his freshman breakout season. Jones staying fresh was key because he needs to be a workhorse back — and especially considering his mysterious knee pain has yet to be solved. … Purdue ended camp still searching for someone to spell Jones for a series or so, and that's because there are several options that offer unique skill sets. If a well-rounded back emerged, he'd probably be the No. 2. But the room is full of young players who don't have any extensive — or any — game experience. Our best guess: Redshirt fresh- man Richie Worship gets the most snaps there, but when freshman Brian Lankford-Johnson finally starts to understand what he's supposed to do, he could be the one who seizes the role because of his game-changing speed. … With a shortened drop and an emphasis on stepping up and finding the weak spot in the pocket, Blough had more poise and presence there this camp than at any point in his career. Malone's and Darrell Hazell's priority is ball security, and Blough needs to make good deci- sions. In the simplified offense, he appeared to do so, processing the game much faster and reaching a third or fourth read while still standing tall instead of hitting the escape lanes. He needs to consistent- ly deliver the ball quickly and accurately to take advantage of the receiving corps depth and talent. But Blough also needs to be dynamic enough to win games. j Analysis BY STACY CLARDIE

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