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Gold and Black Illustrated, Vol 27, Digital 5

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GOLD AND BLACK ILLUSTRATED VOLUME 27, ISSUE 5 77 Culture Change BY KYLE CHARTERS T he day before the Big Ten opener in late March, the Boilermakers took Duane Banks Field at Iowa for a Thursday night practice. Those are routine now, with first-year coach Mark Wasikowski wanting Purdue to get a feel for its environ- ment before playing a weekend series. It did the same at Ohio State and Rutgers in April and will in the second half of the Big Ten season in May, too. But it's what happened during that Iowa City practice — and in similar instances since Wasikowski took over as Purdue's coach — that was as telling as the workout itself. After 20 minutes of poor execution, bad communi- cation and low energy on what was a chilly evening under the lights, Wasikowski ordered the team into a huddle. He wasn't happy and let the Boilermakers know it. "When he sees it's not meeting his expectations, he brings us together to let us know," sophomore second baseman Evan Warden said. "That's a big change we've had; he addresses when his expectations aren't met to benefit us in the future, so we can go further and fur- ther." If Purdue is to undergo a culture change — one is needed after the program had sunk to the bottom of the Big Ten with only 10 wins last season — then it needs moments like that at Iowa to have an impact. It did on that evening, as the Boilermakers rebounded to have a crisp 90-minute workout, then beat Iowa the next night. Although Purdue lost the next two vs. the Hawkeyes, it won the following two series, only the sec- ond time since the end of the 2012 Big Ten champion- ship season in which it had done so consecutively. "I feel like (the program) has taken a complete change," said Warden, who sat out last season as a trans- Purdue is improved under first-year coach, but it is just a start Photos courtesy of Purdue Athletics

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