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Purdue Football Fall Practice Report: August 7

Through three days of practice the offensive line is still a concern.

Pat Lovell-USA TODAY Sports

Today is the fourth day of fall practice as the season officially begins in three weeks. So far I think we have a mixed bag of results. The coaches and players are all saying the right things, but the same thing happened last season just before Purdue was pantsed at Cincinnati 42-7 to kickoff the worst year in program history. That has everyone's guard up so far, but I am still trying to remain positive. It really cannot get any worse than last year. I even think six wins are possible if things break just right, but we have a long way to go first.

Position battles:

Kicker: Paul Griggs vs. Ian MacDougall

This is going to be a tight battle, with MacDougall only having a single year of eligibility and Griggs having two. In the first report from camp on the two it looks like MacDougall could have the edge:

Quarterback: Danny Etling vs. Austin Appleby vs. David Blough

I am including all three because I think blough is good enough to have an early say in things. Coach Hazell will likely name a starter this weekend, as he said he wanted one by the end of the first week in camp. Etling had the first team snaps on Monday and Wednesday with Appleby getting them on Tuesday. Blough thinks he can push, however:

"If I have a bad play or throw an interception, I'm going to respond," said Blough, selected an Elite 11 quarterback prior to his senior season at Creekview High School in Texas. "If Austin misses a throw or Dan misses a throw, I'm going to step up and make it. That's just how I've been taught."

The more I hear about this kid, the more I like.

I do think Etling has the edge, however. He closed the season strong last year and has the most game experience, for what it is worth. If he gets it, it won't be because of that, however. Appleby and Blough will definitely push him.

Offensive Line:

We know Robert Kugler will start. That's really all we know. David Hedelin also appears to be headed for a starting role at left tackle, but he has to sit the first three games of the season with a suspension. GBI sang solid praises about him and he has good size, but we won't know until September 20 what he looks like in a game. This doesn't help, either:

The Boilermakers' defensive front is dominating Purdue's offense, to the point where the passing game isn't showing any signs of consistency. And it's not one singular aspect derailing the O either. Sometimes it's the line; others the quarterbacks are sailing balls high, or having them picked off; and at times, it's receiver drops.

That sounds far too much like last year.

Purdue will not be any better unless the offensive line is night and day different. We have good receivers, running backs, and quarterbacks, but if the line sucks it is not going to matter at all. Corey Clements is looking good, but at over 400 pounds his conditioning comes into question too much. Also, Hedelin needs to be the answer at left tackle once he can play because no one else seems to be doing the job.


Ra'Zahn Howard - Here is the report on him from yesterday:

During the final play of the drill, Howard's lower half appeared to bend awkwardly. He was flat on his stomach for a time before eventually being rolled to his back while Purdue's director of sports medicine Doug Boersma examined Howard on the field. Howard's left knee appeared to have a significant scrape - perhaps it was a FieldTurf-type burn - and at one point, Boersma did appear to do some tests with that knee.

Dan Monteroso - Monteroso also is battling a knee injury, but it is only a bruise that will keep him out a few days.

B.J. Knauf - Knauf has missed three days due to a head injury. He is also recovering from offseason surgery.

Position moves:

Frankie Williams - Primarily a cornerback, Williams has moved to safety to replace Taylor Richards, who will sit out the first two games due to suspension.

Cameron Cermin - Cermin has moved back to left tackle from guard and will battle Jack DeBoef to start until Hedelin can play.