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Gold and Black Illustrated Volume 28, Digital 5

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Page 11 of 60

GOLD AND BLACK ILLUSTRATED VOLUME 28, ISSUE 5 12 BY STACY CLARDIE T hey'd had enough. After another practice that didn't nearly rise to the energy level necessary to compete — let alone im- press anybody who needed impressing — the few players on Purdue's defense who have any real game experience did what they had to do. After the 10th practice of the spring, in late March, line- backer Markus Bailey (with his 25 career starts, the most on the defense), safety Navon Mosley (22) and cornerback Tim Cason (seven) gathered the rest of the Boilermaker defense for a post-practice huddle. It was not quiet. Bailey, undoubtedly Purdue's best player and someone who is working to emerge as a vocal leader, something this roster desperately needs, was the last to speak. He knew how many significant players the unit lost af- ter last season, seven starters among the 11, plus a reserve who was one of the best interior linemen in the program. He knew how rough the spring had been to that point with so many players being forced to step into larger roles, young players who may not even be ready to do so but had little choice. But it didn't mean it was OK not to exhaust every bit of energy — even if minds still may have been spinning, even if assignments still were jumbled, even if the plays weren't quite clear. So Bailey, in a moment of revelation for his continued growth as a leader, was blunt. "They rode the coattails a little bit for some of those guys (last year), and they just didn't have to really prepare," he said later, relaying his message that day, "but now it's their turn. Their number is being called on. So they needed to understand that." There may not have been much the generally young de- fense understood this spring, but being loaded with reps, Lea rn i ng C u r ve Inexperience showed on defense this spring Tom Campbell Defensive end Giovanni Reviere, a redshirt freshman, was one of 11 underclassmen on the two-deep on defense this spring. And, largely, he made the most of the increased reps and is expected to contribute in the fall.

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