Yesterday was the jersey scrimmage in Ross-Ade Stadium and judging by the player there was a ton of excitement, moreso than at any point during the Danny Hope regime. It is difficult to judge the timbre of a team via social media alone, but it feels like these guys are already on board with what coach Hazell is teaching.
Had a lot of fun today with the Jersey Scrimmage!!! Things are going to heat up quick in the furnace this season!!!— Ryan Keith Russell (@RKRelentless) April 6, 2013
@treggfisher Thanks man. We all have gotten better. Coach Shoop is pushing us to be great.— Rob Henry (@RobHenry15) April 6, 2013
As for the scrimmage itself, it was what you want to see: A close battle. If the offense dominates it is either because the offense is really good or the defense is really bad. The reverse is true if the defense dominates. A close match like this one, where the offense won 51-50 on the final play, is a sign that both sides are at least pretty even. Here were the standouts according to reports:
Rob Henry - Coach Hazell offered a little clarity on the quarterback position by saying that Henry and Danny Etling were 1-2 in the battle to start. It doesn't surprise me that Henry is there. If you're going to compete this year (and there is no reason we shouldn't at least try) going with experience at the quarterback position is important. Henry has some Joey Elliott/Billy Dicken potential in him in that he has the most experience as a senior QB for a new coach.
Henry was 16 of 21 for 175 yards, a TD, and an INT. GBI reported that he looked very sharp on the run too.
Danny Etling - Don't hand the starting QB job to Henry just yet, however. Etling had a good day of his own going 12 of 17 for 115 yards and a score. He may have gained a little separation over Austin Appleby, who was 6 of 12 for 60 yards and a TD. GBI noted that four of Appleby's passes were dropped and took a shot at coach Hope by saying he often counted those as completions. As we know, those are as much completions at Little Caesar's Bowl wins are Championships.
It is still very interesting that Etling may have moved into the top 2 over two guys (Appleby and Bilal Marshall) that have had a year of college practice, at least. If Appleby were at least the No. 2 I think we could see Etling redshirt to save a year of eligibility. With Etling in the top 2 that gives Purdue three freshman QBs on the same graduation track.
Bruce Gaston - The senior defensive tackle took advantage of the quarterbacks being live and lived in the backfield. He sacked Etling once (as did Russell).
Robert Gregory - This is subject to change, but redshirt freshman and former QB Gregory rushed 16 times for 88 yards as the No. 2 back behind Akeem Hunt. Kurt Freytag and Brandon Cottom were out with injury, but it is good to see a little depth develop.
Dolapo Macarthy - The redshirt sophomore and former walk-on came on late last season and may be emerging as the top receiver on the team, which is very good. As I have said, he is a big, physical receiver that Purdue desperately needs, especially in goal line situations. Yesterday he had five catches for 59 yards.
Paul Griggs - In a tight battle for the place-kicking spot Griggs was 3-for-3 on field goal attempts all between 30 and 37 yards.
Overall, Coach Hazell was impressed. We'll know more next week: