Sure, I've seen the game a dozen times, but every time I watch it, I either get chills or get choked up. Like many of you, I was in Ross-Ade that night over a decade ago as 15 gave away, then stole a victory from John Cooper, Joe Cooper and Co. It's by far my favorite Purdue game I attended. Here's to that changing in the next few seasons.
But, the BTN also had their camp report from West Lafayette on tonight. And since Coach Hope guards info (during camp) like one of Stalin's right-hand men, we haven't gotten a chance to see much of our Boilers with our own two eyes. So this tiny look-in was appreciated by me.
Here's what I observed:
-Marve throws darts, looks poised, has sure feet in his drops and displays a ton of confidence. During his quick interview with the BTN, he asked for Peters Drey to sit in with him. This isn't the first time he's invited an o-lineman to come along for an interview- he did it back in the spring. Marve seems to really say the right things and have the correct outlook on the coming season.
-Justin Siller looks like a receiver. Unlike when he was moved to RB a few seasons ago, this position switch seems to make sense right away.
-Ken Plue's footwork is impressive.
-I really liked Dan Dierking's pace and effort in the brief time he was in frame. Pegram's combo of size and footwork was impressive to me. Conversely, ATM looked like his quickness wasn't quite there yet (due to injury) and he looks pretty slight, especially in his lower body, for a guy who might be called upon to run the ball 20 times in a game.
-Gabe Holmes looks big and clearly has a frame that will allow him to become a monster over the next few seasons. That's good- he'll need to do a lot as Adams and the other vet TEs head out of town.
-Glad to see McKey coaching and staying involved in practices.
-Ryan Kerrigan looks like an NFL D-End right now. He was physically imposing/impressive coming into '09...he's moreso in '10.
-Gooden looks odd in #2 to me.
-Short seems to have leaned down significantly from the end of last season and looks stronger.
-Ricardo Allen seems to glide, almost-effortlessly, while running and changing direction.
There were two #7s on the field- one on offense (WR), one on defense (CB)...and there's no 7 on the roster...don't know who either was (lil' help?!?).
Final Thoughts from Camp
-Bolden's loss compounded by Carlos' temporary loss, compounded even further by ATM's injuries during camp put our Boilers' running game in a tough spot. But, I think we'll see some reverses from the slot, Marve improvising and passes in the flat (read as bubble screens) to compensate for the lack of RB depth...I'm not worried about Dierking taking a significant amount of snaps as he'll do what he's asked to do, but if ATM's not healthy, I don't think Purdue has a home run hitter in the O backfield.
-Upon further review, I don't know if I'm too worried about the defensive backfield. Williams, Quinn, Evans and Johnson have all seen the field and a few of them have seen it versus good teams at key times. Atop that, there's some scary speed back there that might be able to make up for technique mistakes and the lack of experience. Sure, they'll get beaten from time-to-time...but so did the veteran-laden unit from 2009.
-I love this receiving unit...that, coupled with Marve's arm has me quietly-giddy.
-There are lots of variables for the upcoming season as new moving parts take their place in the starting lineup, but our Boilers have depth and talent and seem to be on the same page as a team...that's a pretty good place to start.