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Gold and Black Illustrated, Vol 27, Digital 6

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

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Page 36 of 117

GOLD AND BLACK ILLUSTRATED VOLUME 27, ISSUE 6 37 scheduled to graduate in December, which would be on time after he enrolled early. He is on time for meetings. He desires greatness and actually works like someone who wants to achieve it. He takes care of his body. He doesn't drink. He doesn't put himself in compromising situations, so rarely is he in "trouble." He doesn't just speak his faith, he tries to walk it. "I like his mentality because every quarterback doesn't have (that) mentality — a mentality to always be consistent with doing things the right way, no matter how hard it is," Phillips said. "It impresses me how he always stays consistent, what he says, his values, with God first, everything. He's consistent. Consistency is something that's rare around here." Part of being a leader is growing and learning and, when necessary, admitting mistakes and working to rectify them. Blough has done that. When he first came to Purdue, he gravitated toward older players, wanting Jason King, Jordan Roos, Robert Kugler and DeAngelo Yancey, among them, to respect him, to be impressed to where they'd want to play for him. And that worked — each of those players holds Blough in high esteem and respects him for his work, his preparation, his attitude and his approach. They appreciated how, for one, on game days, Blough had the appropriate demeanor. It hasn't changed: He'll show emotion, especially to celebrate with teammates, but mostly he'll use the opportunities on Saturdays sim- ply to reaffirm what he built every other day of the year, in seasons other than the actual one. He'll walk up to one guy or to a group and just say, "Hey, we've been through a lot together. I love you. Let's do this." It's important for him that they know he genuinely cares about them as people, not just in a what-can-you- do-for-me-today-to-win-the-game way. He cares about their health. He cares about respecting them. He cares about them playing well, not strictly because that could lead to a victory, but more so because he wants them to shine. That sincerity hasn't been reserved only for the up- perclassmen, but it maybe could have been more widely spread. Spending so much time focusing on a particular group meant others were overlooked. Blough said he did a bad job of bringing along some of the younger classes and that maybe contributed to some taking the wrong path. So this spring and into the summer, Blough has been "all about" the new skill players, especially, seeking out JUCO transfers Isaac Zico and Terry Wright and targeting freshmen like KeyRon Catlett and Darius Pittman before they even reached campus. His message was simple: "When you get here, if you need anything, come to me first. Because I'll be a positive guy for you." "You come in and you make the decision to follow right or wrong, and I want them to look at me and say, 'I want to follow right.' I want them to look at me and say, 'He's doing this right, I want to be like him,'" Blough said. "I want them to know that when we take the field together, I'd sacrifice my life for that guy. And then if we win and they need a ride home on Saturday night, I'd be there to get them, too. I want the guys to know I would do absolutely anything for them." There is evidence to prove that's not just talk. Teammates said Blough often reminds them he is just a call away, regardless of the time, and he actually has made good on that late-Saturday-night pick-up call. They said Blough doesn't hesitate to wake up earlier to get in a throwing session if a teammate asks. They said Blough schedules separate times to watch film with a player, even if he has already spent hours on his own. They've seen him pay parking tickets for someone so the guy could register for classes. They've seen him pick up meal tabs. They've seen him rally the group to take up a collec- tion to buy Ezechukwu a gift card for diapers before his son, Tariq, was born. They ultimately were able to buy much more than diapers: The gift card was for $745. They've seen him give teammates rides to the India- napolis airport. They've seen him load up a car to take teammates to church. "I know if I ever need anything," center Kirk Barron said, "he's one of the guys on my favorites list. "With David, you see the guy before the football play- er. That's something you don't get a lot." j

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