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Gold and Black Illustrated, Vol 27, Digital 6

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football as well. Wilson can get into the film room more frequently, work on his core strength, which would allow him to be more powerful on Saturdays, and better apply coaching to the field. He's maturing. "He's been doing such a great job," defensive line- man Gelen Robinson said. "It's incredible to see his growth from when he first got here. I can say that Eddy was not the most focused kid, but he's narrowed it down and is starting to become a great player." Wilson, though, still is working to channel his en- ergy. During the spring, he was a strong point in the middle of Purdue's defense, yet there were lapses. He was booted from one practice after a brief alter- cation with a teammate — those aren't uncommon in football, but this one was taken too far — and jumped offsides far too often. Those are signs of mental lapses. "I really love the game," he said. "But before the snap, so much is going through my head. I really want to get at it. A little bit of immaturity in that first and second year, but now I realized that I really have to step up and limit those small mental mistakes and be on key. Not only do I have to set an example but (make sure) I'm not hurting the team as well." Wilson has been good in his first couple years, showing the ability to make big plays but not the con- sistency to do it regularly. In 10 games last season — he missed a couple due to injury — he had six tackles for loss, 36 total tackles, and 2.5 sacks. But he felt like he wore down late in games, too, and it's a goal not to this season. Wilson thinks if he can put in better effort, then he can be an All-Big Ten-type player this season. And then, he'd silence "potential." "Eddy needs to keep trying to get stronger and quicker," co-defensive coordinator Nick Holt said. "He's got some explosiveness, but the stronger he gets in the weight room with his core, when he tight- ens it up, he'll be even more explosive." — Kyle Charters GOLD AND BLACK ILLUSTRATED VOLUME 27, ISSUE 6 42 ize, even if you don't play, you've got to continue to work hard." But Miles' job in the fall isn't yet solidified, nor is the spot opposite him. Senior Austin Larkin, who started the last five games last season, was with the 1s on the first day of the spring, but reinjured a previous ankle injury and sat out the remainder of the practices. That's tough, because Larkin is a raw prospect, seemingly with good upside, who has not been healthy much in his year-plus at Purdue. In his spot, Purdue slid in a few players, starting with Anthony Watts, who had practiced at tackle during his redshirt season, then Chazmyn Turner, who tore his ACL shortly after beginning to get first-team repetitions. The Boilermakers ended the spring with Higgins with the 1s, and the lanky 6-4, 240-pound J.C. transfer showed promise. On one play during a practice, he darted into the flat, knocked a ball into the air, then intercepted it. After the spring game, Brohm said he thought Higgins had been a pleasant surprise, because the sophomore had played even better than what Purdue anticipated when it made a late offer in December, then brought him in a few weeks later for the spring semester. The Boilermakers need production at end, where Pur- due hasn't had a player record double-digit sacks since Ryan Kerrigan's 12.5 in 2010. In Holt's defense, pres- sures — quarterback hurries and sacks — will come from multiple places, perhaps lessening the requirement that it come from the ends. Yet the position still has to be a viable threat. "That's what we have to find," Holt said. "It's why I talk about speed, because we've not been very fast. Big plod- ders. That's why we're trying to generate more speed. You saw in the spring different combinations we had coming from outside, all these guys who are now rushing the pass- er. That's one of the keys, we've got to find pass-rushers. Everybody is trying to find them. That's why they're the second-highest paid position in the NFL, because they're so valuable. That's what we have to do this summer, really find those guys." Perhaps an option is a linebacker. Purdue might send Ezechukwu, a 22-game starter at linebacker, down to the line, feeling he gives it a chance to get quicker there. The senior, who practiced a bit as a rush end early in his Purdue career, has been at his best over the years when

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