After reading GBI and Mike Carmin, I thought I'd weigh in on what's been happening in God's country under Coach Hazell's watch.
I always struggle in analyzing stats and reports following an intersquad scrimmage...was the offense winning an indictment of the defense? Is the defense's progress a sign that the offense isn't getting better? We really don't know until the fall...but there are a few things we can glean from the reports.
First, Bruce Gaston played on Saturday...that's good news, and Hazell noted that. Regardless if Purdue plays a 3-4 or 4-3, Gaston's presence in the middle will be noteworthy.
Next, the DBs played pretty well even without Allen in the fold due to injury. They had a few picks and a few more were dropped, but a ton of passes defended. This update is one of those that might not be great news for the QBs.
And speaking of QBs, the guy that I wanted to see at QB1, Austin Appleby, has dropped from 1A with Henry to 3. Stink. But I'll be frank about the QB battle for a moment- I don't care who's at quarterback if the good guys are winning. Henry has an unconventional delivery and has struggled with accuracy at times...but Billy Dicken had an unconventional delivery and didn't have the strongest arm and played one great year as Purdue transitioned to Drew Brees running the offense.
I'm still foggy on when/how a player commissions the NCAA on a sixth season of eligibility. But it would seem that Henry would be a shoe-in for such a season due to his ACL tear following a redshirt. If he gets the extra year, Appleby starts in '14 and Etling is able to redshirt in the fall, Purdue could have a legit QB plan for the first time in a long time. But hey, there are a ton of variables along the way that could derail that. I just like that there are three good options in the stable.
Etling passed Appleby on the depth chart, according to Hazell, on Saturday...competitions is always a good thing. Hopefully this coaching staff is better at making decisions and assessing talent than the last group...and I'm confident that they are.
According to the practice reports, a few RS Freshman are playing with the ones on the offensive line. This is good and bad. The good of course is that these gigantic dudes are living up to their billing. The bad is that they're green, so QBs are needing to roll out quite a bit in order to find time and passing lanes. It seems that Henry, Etling and Appleby are all mobile enough, so that shouldn't be too much of an issue.
One surprise from the reports that I've gathered is that former QB, Robert Gregory is making some noise at the position. Cottom strained his MCL on Saturday, so a few guys further down the depth chart got some carries with the ones...and everyone who saw the scrimmage noted how Gregory ran extremely hard and didn't shy away from contact. Conversely, Akeem Hunt looked fast and great outside the tackles, but didn't shine in between the tackles. Hazell is seeking more depth at the RB position...this leads me to believe that a guy like incoming Freshman, Kenyate Green will be able to possibly see the field in the fall. BUT, if Cottom and Hunt are healthy, that's a damned good 1-2 punch to start with.
An on-going development as Spring progresses is the lack of mentions for two-year starter Gary Bush. Bush's class schedule has kept him from practicing this Spring, so that surely doesn't help. But the question is, will he be able to move back to the 1s in the fall when his schedule is (obviously) more conducive to Purdue's camp schedule. As of right now, RS Freshman, Knauf is in the same spot wih the 1s that Bush is playing with the 2s. I think there could be a ton of movement come August as Anthrop gets healthy and Ross gets out of the doghouse.
I also think Mostert, Anthrop and Hunt might all be playing a similar position in the Fall...but that's just speculation at this point. It just seems that they all have a similar skillset.
Hazell called the scrimmage one of the best that he's been a part of since he's been a head coach. That's good to hear. I guess that clearly signals that this Purdue team will have around 11 wins this coming season? Maybe not, but as J alluded to last week, Hazell seems to be making good moves thus far and his openness along with the way he's handled the media are nothing but positive.
T-minus five days until Spring ball is officially concluded with the Black/Gold Game in Ross-Ade. I'll be there with a few miniature people; looking forward to it already.