Purdue had a scrimmage in Ross-Ade earlier today, in case you haven't heard. This scrimmage wraps up camp and signifies the home stretch for Hazell's inaugural off-season at Purdue.
Henry continues to take the majority of the first string snaps...and although Hazell and the assistants won't show their hand as to whom will be starting, the writing seems to be on the wall, and it seems like #15 has earned it.
I couldn't attend the scrimmage due to my son's 2nd grade Purdue Boilermakers' squad having their first game...but a pal of mine gave me a brief report. He said the offense looked very good, especially on the ground even with Akeem Hunt resting for most of the day. Brandon Cottom stood out...as he typically does. But this time, it wasn't simply because he's a hulk coming out of the backfield, but he ran the ball a lot. A surprise to me was that true Frosh, Dalyn Dawkins not only played quite a bit with the ones, but made some noise. He's number 20, in case you don't know who to look for. Purdue seems to have stacks of running back talent after Hunt, Cottom and Freytag (who will play significant roles right away). The only problem with the stable of RBs is that they're pretty young...with the exception of Mostert, who's young at the position, they're all in their first or second season of eligibility. I'm not bothered by that at all really. I like these guys a lot.
Another position that I wasn't too worried about, at least until a week ago, was WR. It seemed like the young guys were pushing the vets and a bunch of Freshman and Sophomores would litter the 1s and 2s. Well, two fewer are now in that group as Monteroso is out for six weeks as he recovers from surger due to a broken collarbone...and today, the good guys lost Danny Anthrop to a knee injury, who seemed to be a shoe-in to start.
At first blush, Anthrop's loss might only be a glancing blow- but, Anthrop's loss on Special Teams is what concerns me. Remember last season, 33 was all over the field on about every ST unit...returning kicks, covering, blocking...doing the little stuff. Sure, he was coming into his own as a receiver, and the timing sucks (when is a good time to hurt your knee? Get back to me on that).
The really good news is that Anthrop has a red shirt season available...the bad news, is, of course, mentally, a few months on the rack for a guy who loves running fast will make him nuts. I always hate hearing about knee injuries to athletes...I really hate this one since I've talked to Danny a few times. One of his good buddies on the team, Appleby, might be able to help him through the mental part of the recovery, as he went through this during his Junior year in HS.
What his injury does is FORCES Gary Bush to get serious right now. Without anything from Hazell or the coaching staff to back this up, my feeling is that Bush hasn't been going as hard in practice as many of the young guys...and that's why they're all leap-frogging him. Generally, coaches can count on fresh faces to absolutely sell out during practice...this Freshman group has done that and it's paid off for them.
I've always liked Gary Bush...thought he was better than Ross when OJ had the starting role at the beginning of last season and end of the one before. But, Hope's scheme isn't the same as Hazell's...and what is expected in practice...they physicality of the receiving corps, specifically, is much different in this new Boiler offense.
Other people at the practice told me that the physicality, as compared to Spring is noteworthy. The team hits harder, plays faster...in my opinion, based on what I saw at practices, I tend to agree.
It's always tough, when inter-squad scrimmages are dominated by the defense or offense, you say "yay!"...then quickly, "oh no."
The defense didn't win today, according to my pals...BUT, the defense had been dominating practice lately...so the overall balance seems good.
But heck, no one knows until the bright lights* turn on at Cincinnati. We're now inside two weeks until opening day...can you feel it, ladies and gentlemen?!?! The summer doldrums are nearly officially over.
CHOO CHOO, MUTHAS!!!
*no lights will be needed at Cincinnati