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Saturday Roundtable - Most Important (Non-QB) Position

Which position needs the most improvement this year?

COLLEGE FOOTBALL: FEB 01 Reese’s Senior Bowl Practice Photo by Michael Wade/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

It’s Saturday Roundtable time! With the offseason in full swing the roundtable is in full swing. I’ll ask the staff a question and share their responses with you. This week we focus on Spring Football.

It’s officially spring football time. Which position (other than QB) is the most important for the success of this Purdue football team? If you can’t give me a position give me a unit such as OL, DL, etc.

Jumbo Heroes:

To me I’m looking for the defensive backfield. So I guess I’m going both CB and safety. Purdue has long struggled with stopping teams on third and long and a lot of that is due to the inability of the DBs to stay with their receivers. I know that a defensive works as a whole and that the lack of a push up front can often leave the DBs in a bad position but I’d just like to see more of an ability to truly shut down the opponents receivers. Purdue got pretty lucky last year when they played a bunch of teams that really couldn’t throw the ball that well. It was sort of bizarre that it happened over and over again.

The schedule is much tougher this year and I don’t expect Purdue to be so lucky with the opposing QBs. So, while I don’t expect a huge jump in talent I hope I can see a huge jump in scheme from this unit. Coach Walters is a defensive guy and he’s hired a pretty good staff, let’s hope that translates into a better DB.


This is a good question and one that is kind of hard to answer just because there remains so many unknowns right now. And now with the spring game being cancelled, we won’t have chance to have a good look at key components that are working/not working. I’m going to go with a unit and say the offensive line. I’m excited to see what Hudson Card can do and with returners like Mockobee and Sheffield I think we have a lot of solid player makers. We need a good offensive line that creates holes for our running back and gives our quarterback time to read the field. Obviously Walters is a defensive minded coach and they brought in a new Oline coach this year; hopefully the pieces fall together and we are successful on both ends of the field.


On offense, the only spot where I question the functional depth and talent is the offensive line. Getting Miller and Johnson back for a super senior year should help shore up the tackle spot, but neither are considered NFL talents at this point.

A healthy season from center Gus Hartwig would go a long way to shoring up the line. He played most of last season with 1 arm. Then there is Marcus Mbow, who is an NFL talent at guard.

That leaves the other guard spot open, which I assume goes to Bowling Green transfer Jalen Grant.

On paper this looks like a solid line, but I’m still not sold on the tackle spots. Miller and Johnson are functional, but they need to be good for Purdue to reach their potential on offense.


The most important position is going to be the offensive line. Purdue, over the last few seasons, really saw itself limited because of a poor unit up front that couldn’t get rushing lanes open enough for the running backs and couldn’t give the QB’s consistent time in the pocket to let the routes develop downfield. This is a unit that has become seasoned but so they have the bodies to dominate upfront in one of the most demanding leagues in the country?

Purdue has two starters coming off some serious injuries, none more important than Gus Hartwig at center. If that unit can come together with the help of a healthy Hartwig and as experienced offensive tackle as you’ll ever see in college football in Eric Miller, Purdue could see some big numbers on offense with Graham Harrell’s offense being led by QB Hudson Card, RB Devin Mockobee, WR Broc Thompson, and TE Garrett Miller. Those guys have the potential to be All B1G type players at their position with a good OL in front of them.