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Gold and Black Illustrated Vol28, Digital1

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GOLD AND BLACK ILLUSTRATED VOLUME 28, ISSUE 1 26 that's the case, Purdue's offense probably wasn't as disjointed as the head coach at times made it seem. On most occasions after the 14 camp practices, Brohm was harsh in his assessments about how far the offense still had to go. That included calling the offensive line "average" in pass protection and run blocking after the first scrimmage or criticizing the skill position players' inability to align properly or grasp the calls quickly or play fast after the final scrimmage. By the end of two-plus weeks of practices, Brohm had a better idea of potential playmakers but a hand- ful of those also missed time with injuries through- out camp. That includes the projected starting quar- terback, David Blough. And with all the injuries to receivers — namely Corey Holmes and Terry Wright — it's hard to say whether Purdue found a consistent deep threat, a crucial part of Brohm's offense. Even when talking about the team's tight ends, which could be considered the strength of the of- fense, Brohm said early in camp he wasn't happy Cole Herdman and Brycen Hopkins tired faster than he'd hoped and that could limit their snaps. Perhaps the running backs could be a positive com- ing out of camp, if nothing else, considering Markell Jones' response to being pushed down the depth chart exiting spring meant a considerable charge in camp to move him back into the two-deep. There are other good options there, too, coaches said, with Tar- io Fuller, D.J. Knox, Richie Worship and Brian Lank- ford-Johnson. It's just a matter of figuring out how to use three — or as many as five — in a game plan. Maybe that's a good problem to have rather than, well, actual problems. "Our margin of error is not going to be very big," Brohm said, evaluating the offense, at the end of camp. "We've got to be more consistent. They're working hard. We have gotten better. We have to do the small things, take care of the ball, (and) we have to make sure we narrow down who's going to get most of the touches or at least designed touches and we'll go from there. "I think we feel good in the direction we're going, but we have to get them all better and more in-tuned and finding ways to make plays." A boost Without an influx of newcomers, Brohm said this summer he wasn't sure Purdue could have competed this season. ("I would not be very confident," he said at Big Ten media days.) Good thing a bulk of those first-year Boilermakers had a good camp, then. By the end of it, both of the graduate transfer of- fensive linemen (Dave Steinmetz, Shane Evans) were working with the first-team unit, Wake Forest transfer Josh Okonye was a starting cornerback, Mc- Collum was a starting linebacker, JUCO safety T.J. Jallow was working with the 1s and new receivers Holmes, Wright and Isaac Zico were in the mix for snaps at receiver. "It's been a huge plus," Brohm said. "Without question, I'm glad they're here, each and every one of them. Every one kind of brings a different element but at the offensive line, it's helped. The receiver po- sition, it's helped. In the secondary, it's helped. At linebacker, it's helped, even though we have very good linebackers, to have another bona fide guy there. Without question, the additions of these guys have helped us. "I think they're good teammates. They understand they're here to help the team win, whether that's a starting role or a backup role. They're all willing to do that." Zico was the only newcomer receiver who wasn't hobbled by an injury during camp, and that allowed him significant snaps and an ability to make strides each day, which Brohm said he did. Zico boasts an element Purdue desperately needs in its offense: A fast guy on the outside who can

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