The annual spring football game for our Boilermakers is this Saturday, and as usual, Purdue is pulling out all the stops for a full weekend in West Lafayette. Here are some of the highlights aside from the game itself:
- No. 18 rated baseball hosts Illinois in a series that will get Purdue to the halfway point of Big Ten play. The Boilers currently lead the conference by two games and are seeking their first Big Ten crown since 1909. First pitches are 4 p.m. Friday, 2 p.m. Saturday, and 1 p.m. Sunday.
- Softball hosts Ohio State in a double header with first place implications (both teams are 7-2) at 1p.m. Saturday, with a third game on Sunday.
- Spring Fest is going on.
- The Purdue Challenge 5K is at 8:30 a.m.
- The top 10 women's volleyball team is hosting its spring tournament.
- Robbie Hummel will sign autographs from 10:30a.m.-12:30 p.m. at the Purdue Pride store at Ross-Ade.
- Men's Tennis faces Wisconsin on Saturday.
- Finally, the actual spring game is at 1 p.m. Saturday.
That final element is the impetus for this weekend of all things Purdue. FanFest will be going on all morning and halftime will have a football alumni flag football game and the induction of the Purdue Athletics 2012 Hall of Fame class.
I haven't seen how the rosters will be divided up on Saturday, but I can assume that the quarterback distribution will be part of the Things to Watch For:
Quarterback Battle - At this point you have to think it is Robert Marve vs. Caleb TerBush for the starting job. Rob Henry has been throwing in spring practice, but coach Hope has already said he won't be playing Saturday. That means we'll likely see Marve on one side and TerBush on the other. Both are players entering their final year and I would be surprised if someone other than them, even Henry starts the season opener.
The 3-4 Defense - One of the reasons there has been a paucity of information out of practice is that the media can't watch. New defensive coordinator Tim Tibesar is installing a 3-4 package at times that could be interesting. Robert Maci is said to be the only end playing some at linebacker, but with Kawann Short prepared for a beastly season I want to see what the 3-4 can do. Ryan Russell also had this to say about it:
Receivers - Antavian Edison, O.J. Ross, and Gary Bush are the known commodities, but Ross is on the Kelsey Barlow Memorial Triple Secret Probation list, having lost his scholarship. Outside of that, the position is a mystery. I want to see what Shane Mikesky and Charles Torwudzo can do on the outside.
Linebackers - Will Lucas has been impressive, but with Dwayne Beckford on the Ken Plue Probation Plan and Joe Holland graduating we have two spots open. I am thinking Joe Gilliam,Armstead Williams, Jalani Phillips, and Nnamdi Ezenwa are the top candidates to step in.
Safety - Last year Landon Feichter emerged as a reliable walk-on, but with most of the secondary talent at cornerback and both safety spots open we need a leader back here. E.J. Johnson has been a favorite of mine since he was recruited, so I would like to see him take the position. Max Charlot also provides support.
Placekicking - The replacement for Carson Wiggs in either Paul Griggs or Thomas Meadows won't be here until the fall, so don't expect much. Get to know Sam McCartney and Ryan Ullrich, as they are both redshirt freshmen kickers on the roster. McCartney is a townie that could surprise some people.
Seeing where the freshmen may play - if you see some voids on the field Saturday remember that this team is without last year's seniors and without next year's freshmen, so it is operating at roughly 25% less strength. Carlos Carvajal is the only true freshman on the field since he is coming from prep school and already enrolled. Ryan Watson (defensive end), Cameron Posey (wide receiver), and the kickers are just a few of the true freshmen that may play from day one.
So relax and enjoy the day. For one afternoon we get Boilermaker Football again.