Yesterday was cold. It was windy and quite frankly annoying for early April to be so damn cold.
But, after my own football meeting in the morning, I headed to Ross Ade Stadium to check out the early version of the 2018 Boilermakers.
Coach Brohm did not shy away from what he did, with some trick plays early. The first one was a fake reverse, then the next was the old school Hook and Ladder. Both were fun to watch.
But, let me tell you - we are very young in some spots. Let me also tell you - that is perfectly fine. Year 2 after a coaching change always leads to a youth movement in year 2 or 3 when the bad eggs from the last group leave, or not so bad eggs but the new coach lays out for you - we are going in a different direction.
Youth isn’t bad, I promise. But, it will lead to headaches during the season, some young player’s mistakes, but that is all within the process, we just have to trust it as Joel Embiid has told us many times.
To summarize the game, scoring is weird, I am not going to break that down. But, in the end of the offense won 42 to 36. These types of scrimmages favor the offense - as it is hard for the defense to score points.
What I am going to do now is just break the spring game down by positions and just briefly talk about them.
- As expected, David Blough got the start, with Nike Sipe as the number 2. Sindelar is still recovering from his ACL surgery, who should be our starting QB come this fall. Jack Plummer impressed me as the number 3 QB. I thought he was better than Sipe. He just got here in January, but in my opinion he will be the quarterback of the future. He showed great pocket presence moving and weaving in the pocket. Blough looked good as always, Sipe was good, but his arm strength does not do much for me. Griffin Alstott played as well, but he could be a change of pace wildcat QB, not sure if that is the plans or not.
- There were only two healthy running backs. RS Freshman, walk on, Alexander Horvath (who looks like a Greek God) and Senior to be Markell Jones. Markell barely played. After seein Horvath a handful of times at practice and yesterday, I think he will carve a role out for himself, maybe not this year, but down the line. I do think he will help on special teams. He is big, strong and smart.
- Anthrop did not play too much, as we do not want him to get hurt. Wright and Zico were both good. Zico caught a back shoulder TD over the defender that was beautiful and Wright is learning how to use his speed the “Wright” way (Get it?). The true freshman Amad Anderson clearly has skills and he could be used this fall. Rondale Moore did not play yesterday, but he will make an impact this fall. Franklin may have been the best receiver yesterday and I really like him. He is big and strong as hell. He will be in the rotation on the outside.
- Herdman and Hopkins both did not play. But, as we know they will be impact players this fall. I get more and more impressed every time I watch Darius Pittman plays, he looks just like Dwayne Allen when he was with Clemson. He runs good routes and is a hell of a blocker too. He will see the field a bunch again.
- Our starting 5 guys will be really good. Hermanns is still out, but the lack of depth concerns me. The thin tackles coming in will not help us right away with the depth issues, but incoming projected interior OL Charles Allen might be a guy that gets some early PT at Purdue. Like I said, a starting 5 of Hermanns, Evans, Barron, McCann and Swingler is fine, but we will need guys like Mendez, Yacoobi and Allen to play multiple positions as back ups.
- This is the group that worries me in the fall. Our pas rush will be something to watch. The interior will be fine, but Coach Holt will have to be creative to get a rush off the end. Kai Higgins will be good, but he has been hurt. Reviere will be one to watch, the RS Freshman came in at 6’5, 230. He is now 6’6”, 270, he is an absolute animal looking at him, but will it transition to the field. Lorenzo Neal will be a beast in the middle in his third year.
- Bailey did not play, we cannot have him hurt. I remained impressed with Barnes, Jones and Larry though. The trio of sophomores have a lot to prove, but Barnes helped a lot last year and all three were special teams’ heroes. A starting three of Bailey, Barnes and Jones should keep us happy - but will Larry and TJ Jallow be enough as our 2 backups. Jallow is in the rotation at OLB now, by the way.
- This is a group that will have a great mixture of youth and veteran leadership. Mackey really stood out yesterday with a pair of interceptions. I always thought he would be good, he has a special swagger to him. Mosley and Thieneman will be our starters at safety. Brennan Thieneman will be in rotation, he has had a good spring. As for the other corner, I am unsure who will be there, maybe Smiley, Cason or Blackmon? Who knows, but this group has some great athletes.
- 7 for 7 for field goals. These guys have gotten so much better under the new staff. The best special teamer though? Clearly Ben Makowski, the long snapper. He is the best in the country. If you get the chance, follow Purdue Specialists on Twitter, they are a hoot.
Here are the stats from yesterday:
Stats from Purdue’s spring game⬇️— Caleb Noe (@CalebWLFI) April 7, 2018
—RB Alexander Horvath rushed 14 times for 75 yards.
—QBs Sipe & Plummer has very comparable games, stats-wise.
—WR Isaac Zico tied together a solid stat line (Brohm has repeatedly said he wants to see Zico step up as key player). pic.twitter.com/LDXrepscnu