With fall camp in the books and the team now in full preparation mode for the opener at Marshall in 13 days the depth chart is now likely set. There were not a lot of battles going into fall camp, but what battles there were came at key positions. I expect a more formal announcement later today or tomorrow, but here are my guesses as to who won each battle:
Starting Quarterback: Austin Appleby vs. David Blough
The pick: Appleby
Appleby was the incumbent and Blough got a solid look, but the general consensus coming out of the jersey scrimmage is that Appleby held on to the job and will be the starter. GBI is all but officially calling it:
Austin Appleby is this team's starting quarterback.
We've been pretty firm since the spring with that, but he left no doubt on Saturday.
He managed the offense well, getting the group to the line in relative pace - the offense didn't huddle at all - and seemingly made the right checks and decisions. He didn't have a turnover, something this staff stresses, and he showcased what he has much of camp with the ability to make essentially every throw needed in this offense.
Blough had a pair of interceptions in the scrimmage, but has still shown improvement. The general consensus seems to be that Blough has a load of talent, but he is still a freshman and prone to those types of mistakes. Appleby has improved and likely gives Purdue its best chance to win right now.
Starting Strong Safety: Robert Gregory vs. Brandon Roberts
The pick: Gregory
This position is not as easy, because there isn't someone with Appleby's experience to rely on. Gregory is capable of delivering the big hit and can make the big play, but in doing so he might over-reach and give up the big play as well. Roberts is more disciplined, but not as big of a big play threat.
I am basing my selection solely on a gamble. I think Purdue needs to take a gamble. What are we going to do, lose more football games? We've been doing that. Why not take a risk at something that could make a huge difference.
The top Six Receivers:
The picks: Danny Anthrop, Deangelo Yancey, Cameron Posey, Gregory Phillips, Anthony Mahoungou, Domonique Young
Purdue wants to get down to a six person group and with the paucity of tight ends we will likely see a lot more four receiver sets, so that makes for some interchangeable parts. Boiled Sports was in West Lafayette and Boilerdowd liked what he saw:
Regardless of who was playing QB today, the receivers helped out MUCH more than we've seen the past two seasons. From JuCo newcomers Mahoungou and Young to veterans like Montoroso and Posey...Purdue's receivers are catching the ball consistently. And let's keep in mind that Anthrop was held out today. Remember waaaaaaaay back to late last season when Purdue's offense absolutely fell apart in Anthrop's absence? It looks like the JuCo WR additions and a better between-the-tackles running game might help the Boilers O not fall off the cliff in the case of another skilled player injury.
Young and Mahoungou were brought in to play immediately, not to develop. I think we will see that and it gives Purdue something we have never really had: Big, strong receivers on the edge.
The picks: David Rose and Evyn Cooper
Both guys are freshmen, but they are likely going to play and that is probably a good thing. Frankie Williams and Anthony Brown locking down the stop spots it will be good to get a freshman or two on the field in a nickel and dime package. Both Rose and Cooper came in with a lot of promise, so we will likely get to see it.
We're going to need them, as it sounds like Danny Ezechukwu could be out awhile and both Ja'Whaun Bentley and Jimmy Herman were held out as a precaution. It sounds like Ezechukwu could be out for awhile, and that brings Andy James Garcia back into the fold as a likely starter. It also means a true freshman is probably going to play. Markus Bailey seems to be at the front of that group. The 6'1" 230 pound freshman had a solid camp and looks like he could be an excellent reserve option. He had five tackles in the scrimmage.