The first spring practice for Purdue under new coach Jeff Brohm is in the books and one thing is pretty clear: the guys are very hard at work, but there is a long way to go.
Because of almost no depth on the offensive line it was offense vs. Defense all day with a modified scoring system. The offense got points the traditional way: via TDs and field goals. The defense would score 2 points on a defensive stop, 3 points on a 3 and out or 4th down stop, 5 points for a turnover or safetey, and 7 for a defensive touchdown.
After the offense jumped out to an early lead thanks to three field goals and touchdowns by Richie Worship and Jackson Anthrop the defense dominated. In fact, the only scoring the offense did in the last 40 minutes or so was a TD pass from Aaron Banks to Malik Kimbrough on the final play.
There were two reasons for the offensive struggles. First, the receivers dropped A LOT of passes. Second, the offensibe line, especially the tackle spots, was horrid. Everyone on the defensive front was in the backfield. Rob Simmons simply abused Jalen Neal for a pair of sacks. Snaps were an issue a Elijah Sindelar and Jared Sparks often had to corral a high snap before getting set. The running game had some holes early, but the passing game needs a lot of work.
There were still a few highlights:
• Terrance Landers showed some ability to make tough catches in traffic. Early on he had a very nice 53 yard catch up the east sideline.
• Jackson Anthrop had a 69 yard catch and run on a slant that was very nice. He showed some shift moves aftwr the catch and should have scored, but he was run down from behind.
• Simeon Smiley had a second half interception and Andy Chelf recovered a fumble.
Overall though, there is a lot of work to be done. Kirk Barron might have been the only offensive line starter that played today. At least I hope so. The rest of the unit was pushed around and dominated by a defensive line that is also thin and was not that great last year.
One thing I found interesting is that I ran into Boilerdowd of Boiled Sports afterward. He spoke with a few of the players in the autograph session and many believed that Brohm did more coaching in one spring than Hazell ever did. I also ran into new defenesive coordinator Nick Holt as my son was getting player autographs. He is an intense guy and there were several times he was really getting after the defense. That unit might have to carry us this year because unless we cobble together a line the offense will struggle. David Blough was solid, but Sindelar struggled and Sparks looks like a better backup option.
The players themselves were very pleasant to speak with. They know what is going on too. They know that there is a lot of work to be done, but they seem ready to do it.