GBI Magazine

Gold and Black Illustrated Volume 28, Digital 5

Gold and Black is a multi-platform media company that covers Purdue athletics like no one else.

Issue link:

Contents of this Issue


Page 7 of 60

GOLD AND BLACK ILLUSTRATED VOLUME 28, ISSUE 5 8 5 Richie Worship: The big back was out while rehabbing from knee surgery after an ACL injury last season. But he — and Tario Fuller (foot) as well — will give the Boilermakers significant depth in the backfield next season. 4 Jared Sparks: Now that he's a full-time wide receiver — he split duties between there and quarterback last year — Sparks could develop into a really good one. But that development was stalled in the spring, after the soph- omore had to sit due to surgery on the ankle injury that plagued him at the end of the year. 3 Cole Herdman: The senior tight end was bothered by a toe injury at the end of 2017, requiring surgery. He rehabbed, rather than played, during the spring. But he'll return, and so will Brycen Hopkins, who missed the second half of practices due to a recurrence of his back injury. 2 Grant Hermanns: The sophomore left tackle tried to play through a knee injury last season, before the severity finally shut him down. He was still rehabbing the ACL surgery during the spring, but should be good in plen- ty of time for training camp. Purdue wants him back protecting the blind side. 1 Elijah Sindelar: Only a few months removed from his ACL surgery, there was no chance Sin- delar was going to get back on the field for the spring. And he didn't. But it was hard to tell he was still rehabbing while watching him throw the ball around in street clothes. His return will give Purdue experienced options at QB. — Kyle Charters What defensive position has the most room to grow? Kyle Charters Junior Markus Bailey is great as an anchor for the linebacker corps, a likely All-Big Ten player. Maybe Derrick Barnes, a sophomore, can have a breakout season, to solidify the middle linebacker spot. But afterward, Purdue has nothing but questions at the position, to the point where Nick Holt might have to change his defense significantly, moving to a base nickel rather than his preferred variable 4-3 front. That wouldn't be a positive step for a defense that wants to stop the run first, then get after the quarterback and force turnovers. What's the solution? Well, option No. 1 relies on senior T.J. Jallow earning the trust of his coaches, enough that he can get on the field and become a consistent impact player. But the jury is still out, and it's losing patience. Jallow, a former J.C. transfer, appeared to mature in the second half of the spring, and at least seemed interested in following out assignments. But can he on Saturdays? And if he can't, the other options — at a position, strongside linebacker, that can be hard to master — are young and unproven. Not sure there are a lot of answers. Stacy Clardie Hard not to say the line because of the lack of game snaps on the two-deep. Even the one player who can boast starts, tackle Lorenzo Neal, essentially took the spring off with an injury. That meant the front line was loaded with freshmen, from Giovanni Reviere to Jeff Marks to Robert McWilliams. Each of those ends showed flashes — count me as a believer in Reviere's potential — but each looked like freshmen at points this spring. It's imperative those guys take steps in the weight room, namely McWilliams adding weight and strength, and in the film room in getting more comfortable with their assignments and techniques. Many of the God-given physical tools are there — the athleticism (McWilliams), the innate strength (Marks), the length (Reviere) — but that's only part of a very complicated puzzle. Even the older guys, like Alex Criddle and Anthony Watts, need to make considerable gains. Purdue needs its interior linemen to more than hold up in the run game — they need to control gaps to allow the linebackers to stay clean and make plays. Can this group do that? Right now, not so sure. Photos by Tom Campbell (Hermanns, Herdman, Sparks, Worship); Charles Jischke/Purdue Athletics (Sindelar) Most-Critical Injured Players T O P

Articles in this issue

Archives of this issue

view archives of GBI Magazine - Gold and Black Illustrated Volume 28, Digital 5