I know that basketball is easily the talk of the site of late, but I wanted to do a short post to mention that spring football is underway for our Boilers. Wednesday was the first of 15 spring practices, making Purdue the earliest of the 12 Big Ten teams to take the field. We enter the spring with a ton of questions:
- Is Robert Marve healthy?
- If healthy, does he or Rob Henry start?
- Is Ralph Bolden healthy?
- Who will replace Keith smith at receiver?
- Who will replace Ryan Kerrigan?
I am encouraged that, regardless of who plays, they will have an experienced offensive line to play behind. Ken Plue, Dennis Kelly, Rick Schmeig, Justin Pierce, and Nick Mondek are all seniors listed as starters right now. If the offense falters again, it shouldn't be their fault.
Here is what we have learned so far, according to GBI and Purdue's official releases:
1. Marve and Bolden will be limited - In Hope's own words, Bolden will be brought back slowly because we need him in September, not now. I think he has proven what he can do while healthy, while Marve and Robbie Hummel have proven what can happen if you come back a little too fast. Both of these guys will be limited to mostly non-contact stuff. Rob Henry will run the offense in the spring and I think has a real chance to be the starter in the opener.
2. Al-Terek McBurse is gone - So much for the excitement of when he signed. ATM joins the list of Purdue four star players that crashed out at Purdue while doing very little. Kyle Williams, Brian Ellis, Jason Kacinko, J.B. Paxson, Selwyn Limon, Jeremy Coley, Bruce Gordon, Garret Bushong, and Doug Van Dyke were all players like ATM. In fact, ATM probably did more than all of them combined. This is has been one of Purdue's biggest failings. The big-time recruits we do get don't pan out for the most part.
3. Caleb TerBush is back - I was unsure if he would return since Brandon Irwin didn't after his academic troubles, but TerBush appears to be throwing the ball well and could compete as the starter. He lacks Marve and Henry's mobility, but the offense was successful with Joey Elliott and he didn't move well.
4. The JuCo Guys are doing well - Jalani Phillips, Akeem Shavers, and Sterling Carter are all expected to play immediately. Shavers could be a Jaycen Taylor-type in this offense, and Taylor worked very well with Bolden.
5. Position changes galore - Normando Harris is now a receiver after playing at cornerback last year. Eric McDaniel has moved from defensive tackle to offensive guard, a key move since we're going to have to replace all five starters on the O-line in 2012. Phillips and Antwon Higgs are likely moving to defensive end since Kerrigan is gone.