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Gold and Black Illustrated, Vol 27, Digital 6

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GOLD AND BLACK ILLUSTRATED VOLUME 27, ISSUE 6 40 we create lost-yardage plays. "I will say this: In the past, if you look at it statistically, this system will always have guys who lead the confer- ence in tackles. We should always have guys at the top in tackles for loss and sacks, just by the nature of the calls, nature of the system. It's multiple (formations), so it takes time to learn it, but once you do, kids enjoy it, es- pecially in those front seven positions, because everyone is going to blitz, everyone is going to have a chance to (pressure)." Everyone has assignments, too, and the Boilermak- ers have struggled in recent years to understand them, then execute. But if they can do so now, then perhaps Purdue can take a major step forward defensively. "I love the style," Robinson said. "Obviously, I'm an aggressive player. We're used to it, but not in the way that Coach brings it. He's brought in this new defense, which is extremely aggressive. He's one of those coach- es that you better be in the spot you're supposed to be, when you're supposed to be there. They're not going to move the ball if we do that. It's just getting everything together." Following is a position-by-position look at the Boiler- makers: DL On Day 1 of spring practices, Purdue unveiled a position change, as Robinson moved from end to tackle. What seems like a subtle shift could have far greater impact. At the least, it helps to lessen one of the Boiler- makers' biggest defensive problems, a lack of depth on the interior of the defensive line. Purdue is more comfortable there now, as Robinson combines with Wilson for what should be a formidable 1-2 in the middle of the defensive front. And 345-pound sophomore Lorenzo Neal, who missed the spring after ankle surgery, is an experienced reserve, having started three games as a freshman, and Ellis is a big-bodied J.C. transfer. Those are four interior linemen who can play on Sat- urdays. "We have a chance to be solid," Holt said of the line, coached by assistant Reggie Johnson. "There are some guys returning who have played a lot of football, and quite honestly, some guys returning who have done some good things. "They're good players who have been coached at that position, so we inherit some decent players at D-line. We're kind of fortunate for that." The picture is less clear, though, on the edges, where Purdue lacks experience. Maybe Antoine Miles has found a position, after the senior took about every first-team snap during the spring, doing so frequently at the hybrid Leo spot. Miles is a bit of a mystery, though, after he played in 2015, and made six starts and four sacks, but never set foot on the field in '16. The 6-foot-3, 266-pounder has been given a fresh opportunity with the new coaching staff, one that looks to take advantage of his athleticism. But for Miles to play significantly, he'll have to have a firm grasp on assignments, an inconsistency that's con- tributed to his lack of playing time in the past. "It was kind of tough because I expected to play, start- ing the season," Miles said during the spring. "But as we went on, each week went by and I'd stay with the scout-team guys. For me, it was more trying to lead the young guys, trying to keep a positive attitude so they can see someone who has played before and they can real- Charles Jischke Gelen Robinson's move inside not only gives the Boilermakers more depth, but might turn the senior into a more dynamic play- maker. Text continues on page 42

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