On the seventh day of practice we saw Austin Appleby continue to get snaps with the first and second teams. If he is going to make a run for the starting position, now is the time to do it. It seems like Coach Hazell is saying your chance is now. Appleby looked good today as his big play of the day was a 60-yard touchdown to Shane Mikesky in a second team drill.
Rob Henry got the first snaps with the first team again today, a promising sign he is still leading the competition but it definitely looks like the quarterback battle is heating up with Appleby making his run. Danny Etling continued to practice with the third team. Coach Hazell said the number one thing he looks for is taking care of the ball, saying "you can't throw the ball to the other guys."
Miscues and fumbled snaps seem to continue to be a problem for the Boilers. Coach Hazell said after practice that he has it written down and that fumbled snaps are "inexcusable." I agree. Hopefully this doesn't continue to be a problem for Purdue and we can get it fixed. Hopefully it doesn't haunt us throughout the season, it could get embarrassing.
On the injury front, MLB Joe Gilliam showed up to practice in street clothes. Hazell said he has a left pinky finger injury and will be out 2-3 weeks. Look for Jimmy Herman and Will Lucas to battle for the starting spot. Lucas looks like he has fallen behind from where he was last year, while Herman has looked good so far in camp. I would bet on Gilliam not returning until after the Cincinnati game. Herman and Lucas split time in the number one MLB spot with the first team defense today.
Inside linebacker Garrett Hudson continued to miss practice, as he was out yesterday and today. There was no status update on his condition but it has been reported that he is out with a concussion.
Paul Griggs and the kicking unit didn't perform as well today as they did yesterday. Griggs missed a 47-yard field goal at the horn of the second team two-minute drill. Sam McCartney made a 38-yard field goal to grab the win for the third team. A Purdue kicking scrimmage will be held on Saturday and Hazell said he would "like to settle on one, if I can." Starting kicker spot is still up for discussion.
Ricardo Allen looked good as he picked off Henry in a team drill. It looks like there was a miscommunication, but it is good to see Allen capitalizing on opportunities that present themselves.
Freshman Reciever DeAngelo Yancey looked impressive with a one-handed sideline grab from Danny Etling for a 50+ yard gain. Coach believes he will have the ability to help the team out early on.
After practice, Hazell had plenty of compliments for the coaching staff...
"They're a great staff. It's an unbelievable staff. Knowledge and expertise and they are all driven so they are going to drive them, they are going to make sure they do all the details."
What has become a theme with Hazell is attention to detail, something I am fond of. The little things count in big game situations. Hopefully this transpires into the season.
The running back position seems to be coming along nicely. I think it will be an emphasis with Hazell this season, as I have stated before. Hazell wants to get three or four guys lined up for that position due to the physicality of the Big Ten. Smart decision, with the injury ridden seasons we have seen previously.
One final note, Coach Hazell was mic'd up today. When asked why he said they are starting a "One Brick Higher" series. Saying it will be like an "all-access" pass to Purdue Football, starting next week. I like the idea.