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2013 Purdue Football Fall Practice Day 12: Defense Gaining Ground

Purdue's defensive line looks as if it may be the best unit on the team so far.

Kirk Irwin

Chris was busy yesterday with a personal matter, so today's update has info from both yesterday's and today's practice. It seems as if Purdue's defense is starting to come around too given the news from the last two days.

The coaches have regularly said that the defensive line was the strongest unit on the team. I believe this because it has the most depth and experience. The secondary also seems to be very active. If Danny Etling is throwing interceptions it means that the secondary is there to pick them off.

It was some unexpected contributors along the line that made news today. Greg Latta and Jules Williams are both looking as if they could be surprise players. Latta played sparingly as a JuCo transfer last season and does not have a lot of actual football experience. He has impressed many coaches so far, however. Williams has even less football experience. Hope's staff found him on the club rugby team, invited him over to football practice last year, and now he may become a pass rushing specialist.

Defensive Line Thins Out:

In a move that surprised me, Michael Rouse III has moved from defensive tackle to the offensive line:

Rouse was supposed to be one of the key players providing depth on the defensive line, but the re-emergence of senior Eric McDaniel has given that depth with Ryan Isaac behind Ryan Watson and Bruce Gaston. Rouse has good size at 6'4", 305 pounds, so I'd expect to see him at guard or tackle.

Joe Gilliam Out:

Gilliam was projected as Purdue's starter at middle linebacker, but he had finger surgery and now may miss the opener. That has put Will Lucas in the middle of another freshman-vs.-senior battle. Jimmy Herman from Carmel is battling Lucas to start in the middle if Gilliam has to miss any significant time. Both guys have been outside linebackers for most of their careers.

This is frustrating because Purdue was thrown into disarray last season when Dwayne Beckford got booted from the team just before the opener. At least Sean Robinson and Andy James Garcia appear to have locked down the other two spots.

Devin Smith Out:

One of Purdue's biggest offensive linemen is out for two weeks and is possibly in jeopardy for the opener as Devin Smith injured his right knee. That moved Jason King into his spot at guard on the first team. With Jordan Roos now at No. 1 at the other guard spot it gives Purdue a sophomore and two redshirt freshmen as expected starters on the interior line. This could be great for the future, but a problem in the short term.

No QB Decision Yet:

We should expect some news over the weekend:

I think it is going to be Rob Henry, however. He has taken most of the first team snaps and Austin Appleby has officially passed Danny Etling on the depth chart up at GBI. That is only good news for Henry, but it also gives Appleby a leg up on next year. He could come into next season as the only QB on the roster with game experience if he holds on to the No. 2 slot.

More On Receivers:

It seems as if Dan Monteroso is not going to redshirt. The veteran defensive backs on the team are raving about him and he is getting first team reps along with fellow freshman DeAngelo Yancey. Since Purdue wants to go with six main receivers it looks as if Dolapo Macarthy, B.J. Knauf, Danny Anthrop, and Shane Mikesky have four of those spots under control.

Yancey is a new name in the mix:

Gary Bush, Purdue's top returning receiver, seems to be making a comeback as well. Bush had seven touchdowns a season ago and there is a bit of an explanation as to why he may be struggling. Back home in Miami his dad has been fighting liver cancer. Best wishes to his family, whom I got to meet last year before the Michigan game.

Snapping Problems:

The biggest problem so far in practice has been the center-quarterback exchange. We will likely see Purdue under center more this year than in the past, and so far there have been a lot of fumbled snaps as a result. Rob Henry and Robert Kugler are the best duo so far, with Cody Davis and Austin Appleby struggling on the second team. Henry Lorenzen was actually dropped to third team in favor of Davis, who shifted over from guard, because of snapping issues.