Two-a-days are back and while the players aren't all that fond of them, the fans should be. More practice time is never a bad thing, especially with the lack of experience on offense this year for the Boilers.
On to the notes from today:
Weather plagued the offense during the morning session, as it rained for a good portion of the practice. Dropped passes and miscues were in full force. The veteran players were said to have struggled in the conditions as well. Rob Henry even fumbled a snap near the end of practice, something uncommon for him. Hopefully we don't have to play in the rain this season, it would make it easier on everyone, from the looks of things.
On a better note, the kicking unit did a fabulous job, after struggling in earlier practices. Paul Griggs looks like a stud and should have a solid year. The squad went 7/7 on field goals.
In the quarterback battle, Austin Appleby and Danny Etling struggled in the early session. Appleby missed some routes, while Etling was picked off and missed a snap. Rob Henry looked good and was successful in leading some drives down the field.
Purdue's secondary impressed during the 1-on-1 and 11-on-11 drills as interceptions were a theme. Let's hope that carries over into the season and we can force some turnovers.
Tight ends continue to rotate in and out of the first team. Patrick Bade, Justin Sinz and Matt Burke have all had reps with the first team. Gabe Holmes, who started three games last season, catching 25 passes for 158 yards with two touchdowns, stands out as the number one tight end, though he is still battling a hamstring injury, he did practice today.
During the individual drills, the coaches continued to practice tackling and running the ball with efficiency. It is nice to see Coach Hazell emphasizing tackling, something the Hope era lacked. I believe running the ball will be a big point this season with Hazell, as it was when he was at Kent State.
There was no media session after the first practice.
The afternoon practice moved inside Mollenkopf due to the weather.
The main note I took out of the second practice was a shake-up in the quarterback battle. Danny Etling worked with the third team during the practice. Etling had been working with the first and second teams. Austin Appleby and Rob Henry rotated between the first and second teams, giving Appleby his first snaps with the first string offense during fall camp
Asked about Austin Appleby taking No. 2 snaps, Darrell Hazell said: I said it was a 3-man race and I meant it. #Purdue— GoldandBlack.com (@GoldandBlackcom) August 8, 2013
Etling said he was not discouraged by the bump, saying that the third team is still his teammates and he still is getting reps in.
Bobbled snaps continued to be an issue with Etling and Appleby. At one point, Appleby and Robert Kugler had three straight fumbled snaps.
Freshman Dalyn Dawkins broke out some at the running back position, showcasing his speed and athleticism. He is currently far down on the depth chart but also practiced taking punts. Hazell said after practice that he did not yet know if Dawkins would see playing time this season. Whatever the case may be, Dawkins looks to be solid in the future.
Hazell talked about redshirt freshman receiver Cameron Posey after practice and said that the coaching staff will increase his reps because "he's got a chance." Posey has been working with the first and second teams.
Akeem Hunt continued to be his fast-self and is shaping up nicely for the season.
Overall, today wasn't a good day for the offense, but that is probably to be expected at this point with the amount of question marks we have. Consistency will be key this season if we want to make it back to a bowl game. My bet is fully on Rob Henry to make the start at Cincinnati on the 31st.
After practice, Boilermaker legend Leroy Keyes talked to the team and seems to have left quite the impression.
Leroy Keyes is the man. We've already practiced twice today but I'm pretty sure he had the whole team ready to hit the field #BoilerFamily— Jason Douglas King (@Jason72King) August 9, 2013
Leroy Keyes left us w/ a great n very simple messages. Don't Tread on us.— Charles Torwudzo Jr. (@ChuckT17) August 9, 2013
Beyond grateful to have Leroy Keyes come talk to the team today. He is the true definition of a Boilermaker!— Ryan Keith Russell (@RKRelentless) August 8, 2013
Leroy Keyes gave the Purdue Football program words of wisdom today. I felt honored to listen to what he had to tell us! #BoilerUp— David Yancey #28 (@Dyancey14) August 9, 2013