Purdue is a few practices in to the summer now. Position battles are well under way, with young players pushing the older ones, some sty overs from the last regime.
In year three of the Brohm era we are going to see a young, but exciting football team. Coach Brohm & Co. are getting “Brohm Boys” in now. With our tiny Senior class and Small Junior class also, expect a bunch of RS Frosh or true Frosh to play this season.
Why? Those are truly Brohm recruits. The true Juniors or RS Sophomores were part of the class he pieced together when he got hired, many were DH recruits, but, there will be some juniors and RS Sophomores to play.
There will be walk-ons to play also. Coach Brohm has put an emphasis on getting good in state talent as walk ons, Zander Horvath (Mishawaka, IN) & Alfred Armour (Indianapolis, IN) are two to watch for.
Anyway, I wanted to get this up a few days ago, but I decided a nice long trip for vacation was more important. It is a few days late and camp has already started, but it is still important to know what to look for with each group.
- Quarterback - Are we comfortable with the back ups?
Who is ready behind 5th year senior Elijah Sindelar? Jack Plummer was named the back up during B1G Media days, then 3rd string Aidan O’Connell (Another quality state walk on) was named. What happened to Nick Sipe? The RS Sophomore was hurt during the spring but it appears that he is falling off the map a bit.
Paul Piferi should be headed to a RS season, but are we comfortable with a RS Frosh as our back up Quarterback? Elijah has had 2 ACL surgeries, one in HS and then 2 seasons ago, then last year sustained a mid section injury as well, so for me I worry a bit about durability.
Coach Brohm has said Plummer has looked pretty good, but I still worry about the steep drop off from Eli.
- Running Back - Where art thou, Richie?
It was mid season 2017 when Richie Worship sustained a knee injury, most thought he would be back last season. Well, after sitting out last year, it appears something is still lingering.
I love Richie, he is a big back that has levels to his game, can block, run between the tackles and catch passes, he showed that in 2017. But, after 2 years on the IR, it may be time to move on from the thought he will contribute for us again - which is too bad as Tario and Richie would be a great thunder and lightening combo.
Now, we look to walk on Zander Horvath to tote the rock as our big back. Coach Barclay told me that Zander has the body of a Greek God, at 6’3”, 230 pounds, he wasn’t lying. Tario also has a history of injuries, I think I would feel okay with going to war with Horvath.
Other walk on, Alfred Armour, who squats over 600 pounds, will be a solid blocking back, he is a big, powerful runner, really fun to watch in the spring.
Then you have the freshmen, Da’Joun Hewitt and King Doerue. Initially during the recruiting process, I thought King may be the more ready back to play during his frosh year, but I think it may be Hewitt. The all around back is exactly what Coach Barclay wants with his backs, expect both to play though.
- Wide Receiver - Outside of Rondale, who starts?
Slot Receiver is covered, just in case you weren’t aware. The returning All-American, Rondale Moore looks to have another huge season, I guess he got stronger, somehow and has put on some muscle.
But, who starts outside of Rondale? Isaac Zico and Terry Wright are gone, the speedy JuCo receivers were solid for us. You have Jackson Anthrop who was solid in 2017, could he get some work on the outside? You also have upper classmen Jared Sparks, the former Quarterback started at Outside Receiver early in the season, but drops plagued him early on, before Zico and Wright took over the starting gig.
Of course, you have Freshmen Phenom, David Bell. He has been hurt with a hamstring strain but at the B1G Media Day, it sounded like he could be one of the starters.
You also have 6’3 Frosh Milton Wright out of Louisville that will fight for PT, the tall playmaker can go up and get the ball. Mershawn Rice could be another candidate for some Outside WR PT, Let’s not forget T.J. Sheffield, the once Notre Dame Commit will fight Anthrop for the back up slot spot.
It sounds like Kory Taylor, the 6’5” Oak Tree running at wide receiver has been good early on, he has made some tough catches and looks like he has gotten stronger. Amad Anderson Jr is another name that could get some PT there as well.
Personally, I like David Bell to start one spot and the other be Jackson Anthrop. I know you prefer taller guys on the outside, but remember, Terry Wright was 5’11” and Zico was 6’. Jackson is 5’11” and David is 6’2”, while it is nice to have height out there, if you can play you play.
- Tight End - Will the young guys be ready?
Future NFL Tight End, Brycen Hopkins was named a captain last week, behind Brycen is a bunch of youth though.
Darius Pittman is a junior, but he is used in blocking situations, he only has a couple of career catches.
Payne Durham, the 6’7” RS Frosh is interesting, he runs down the middle of the field like a gazelle. Then you have Kyle Bilodeau and Garrett Miller, both true freshman have a chance to play. Both were highly recruited tight ends, Purdue had to fend off TCU for Miller late in the recruiting process, he is from Texas.
Tight End is one of the groups I do not worry too much about, Hopkins is a nice all around TE and Pittman does the dirty work. The young guys have shown their receiving abilities, my only question is will their blocking transfer over to B1G Football. that is always the biggest learning curve for young TEs.
Look for the offensive line breakdown tomorrow! Boiler Up!