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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 54 of 117

GOLD AND BLACK ILLUSTRATED VOLUME 27, ISSUE 6 55 Next show, Friday, Sept. 1 Special guests, analysis and more 2 P.M. FRIDAYS Gold and Black LIVE featuring the staff of Interactive live video-stream sports talk show — ask questions, chat with other fans! For schedule visit the college page on Trent Johnson, Agent tight ends coach — there are no illusions of Levine's top priority: He is to provide a distinct advantage on special teams. It's what he's done consistently throughout his career, including in a stint with the NFL, and it's what he's hoping to do under Brohm with the Boilermakers, transform aver- age units into much more. Last season, Western Kentucky was second in FBS in punt returns (17.93 per return) and third in kickoff re- turns (26.67 per return). (Kylen Towner led the nation in kickoff returns, averaging just more than 40 yards per re- turn.) WKU was eighth in blocked punts (two) and 13th in blocked kicks (four). Its kickoff return defense was 26th and its punt return defense 35th. Comparatively, Purdue was 70th in punt return and 75th in kickoff return last season. It blocked one punt. Its suc- cess came on coverage teams, ranking fifth in the nation in kickoff return defense and ninth in punt return defense. But those are only two elements. Levine's goal is to raise production in every single unit — he coaches all of them — like he did at WKU. "As far as details go, every week, it's crazy. He pointed out something every week that gave us an advantage," said former WKU captain Drew Davis, a key member of its spe- cial teams units. "That's why Coach Brohm called him one of the best special teams coaches in the nation because he came in and he took our unit from average, middle-of-the- road to leading in multiple special team stats in the nation. "Every week, he does a different scheme for punt return and kick return. Punt had a lot of variations, too. But every week, we would come in and he would give us a paper and it'd be a totally different scheme. Stuff you wouldn't even think of." Simply, Tony Levine always is looking for the setup. That Week 3 twice-near-TD-return game last season? Levine deceived the RedHawks over the first two weeks, using strictly right returns on kickoffs. So on Return No. 1 against them, he essentially made it look like another one by having his returner take five steps in that direction. But, then, the returner stuck a foot in the ground and shot the other way — aided by three changes in the blocking scheme — and trucked nearly 80 yards. Then, Levine knew, Miami would sky kick — it's what the tape had showed, after allowing long returns. So he stuck a high-school-QB- turned-receiver at the 25-yard line to receive the short kick — instead of a tight end or a linebacker — and had

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