The day was split.. with a morning practice and then an afternoon kick scrimmage in Ross-Ade. The day was jammed with action.
There isn't much to update you on from the Saturday morning practice. One of the biggest notes from practice this morning, as you see in the tweet above, was Raheem Mostert moving from the wide receiver position to running back. Something I think is overdue. We know the guy can run. I am looking forward to watching him this season, he has the potential to be very very good for Purdue.
It is apparent that Mostert asked for the change. Hazell commends him on asking:
"He came in and felt like he could help us better at the running back position. He’s a team guy, and I respect him for that."
MLB Joe Gilliam is still out and will continue to be out possibly through the season opener at Cincinatti. With the top spot open, Jimmy Herman seems to be capitalizing on the opportunity. Besides a block in the back, he looked good.
Things ran pretty normally, Rob Henry took the first snaps with the number one offense again and worked with the number one offense all day. Austin Appleby and Danny Etling worked with the second and third teams.
A last note from morning practice: Hazell made it clear that it was important to get back on the field after injury. Saying that he wasn't running a stationary bicycle camp. I don't know that I have disagreed with Coach yet, it will probably come, but so far, he is doing an excellent job. The excitement around Purdue football is returning.
Special teams has always been a note of importance to Coach Hazell. It was essentially the day for the specialists to shine, if they were going to do so. Hazell held one of these in the spring and followed it up with one on Saturday.
Today was the day for Sam McCartney and Paul Griggs to battle it out, as they both want that number one kicking spot. During the kick scrimmage, Griggs made 9 of 13 field goals, his longest being from 49 yards out. McCartney made 5 of 9 with his longest being a 39 yarder.
The official score was 30-15 with the black team grabbing the win over the white squad. After the scrimmage, Hazell did not announce the number one kicker. At one point, Griggs missed three field goals in a row all between 32-39 but then recovered making some from beyond 40 yards. Who knows if Hazell will end up using both kickers or if he will stick with one. It seems like Griggs has the bigger leg right now and can make them from farther out. Whoever we go with, as long as they make the field goals during the games, thats all I care about. We are going to need to put points on the board when we have the chance, especially this season.
More improvement is needed in the kicking position before we put the number one kicker in black and white, in my opinion.
Hazell agrees that we need to get better at the position saying:
"If one is making them and the other guy is not, we’ll only use one."
Ultimately I would like to see Griggs get the spot, just because I feel he is more trustworthy and has been in intense game situations, with the Iowa game winning field goal last season.
Cody Webster looked good in the kick scrimmage. Webster said he is adjusting to the new formations and the new ball Purdue is using this year. Definitely should be his best year. Ricardo Allen and Frankie Williams were the main punt returners in scrimmage. Kickoff returners were Raheem Mostert, Ricardo Allen, Frankie Williams and Danny Anthrop.
When Coach Hazell was asked about the return situation he said:
"Frankie is a guy, but we’re looking at some other guys as well"
I hope Mostert gets a chance to return some this season. I always enjoy watching him return.. the suspense of watching him return kickoffs gets me every time. He always has the ability to take it all the way.
Trick plays were a theme in the scrimmage, with the white team trying an onside kick on the first play and later attempted a fake field goal. Both plays failed.
It is a good to note that Coach Hazell did not call any of the plays in the scrimmage, saying he was a spectator today.
It was evident that our special teams needed some work in some areas before the season begins but the kickers have improved since the spring and are hitting more of them then they are missing, always a promising sign.
Saturday marked the half way point of the training camp portion of the fall. August 17th is still the deadline to name a starting QB.
There is no practice on Sunday 8/11. Practice resumes Monday 8/12 at 10am.