Author: TW Hague
© Old Gold Free Press Columnists
GO TO PART I: 2009 Purdue Spring Game: The Offense
The D line
Kawann Short - As advertised. On the plays that I observed, he came at the line with intensity and strength, and had to be double teamed on more than one occasion (and still, one of THOSE times he managed to "brute" his way past the guys). Uses his upper body while keeping his feet moving, both trying to find an opening and "muscling" his way through. He had at least one sack. Interesting to note; Kawann (as well as the rest of the defense) would be going full speed, but managed to "shut it off" just as they got to the QB. That's obviously a GOOD thing (as we certainly don't need to be taking out our own quarterbacks), but I couldn't help but wonder if they'd been going full tilt all the way what that would have meant for the offense. Should be very interesting to see what they can do at full tilt against "Four national championships" ND QB Claussen.
Mike Neal - Good strength, good pressure and he was getting his hands up on a lot of the pass plays (pretty sure he batted one down). Overall, I think the 1's did very good on the short yardage situations.
Gerald Gooden - Gooden, along with the other DE's, had excellent pursuit and speed on the reversals. They managed to contain them on one play and corralled the runner on the other so the backfield could come in and make the play. Again, the DE's were going full speed-stop on rushing. But even with that, he was credited with a sack (and I guess to be fair if it was full tilt, a slap isn't the same as a tackle). He came in from the QB's blind side and ran him down with good pursuit speed. Just good penetration from the end and good anticipation on the play.
Jason Werner - I won't even say it. Okay, I will. If the kid can just stay HEALTHY. The INT he picked up was a thing of beauty. It wasn't "right place at right time", it was anticipated (if I didn't know better, I'd say it was precognition!). Jason was running full BEFORE the ball was delivered and made the cross in front of the receiver at the perfect time. That gave him the steam and speed to take it a long way after the fact. He was all over the field and in on a ton of plays, had more than one hard, solid hit. I think he can be a run stuffer, a blitzer and a great pass protector. He showed flashes of all those at the game.
DeVarro Greaves - Good player. Laid a GREAT hit out on George Brigandi that we felt up in the boxes. Good presence and follows the ball. He was in on the sack with Short, not sure who got credited for it.
David Pender - Confession, I've always liked this kid. From being thrown to the lions his freshman year, I think he's really matured and progressed as a player. He always seems to have good coverage and be near the ball.
Brandon King - Missed what would have been an INT, but still managed to get himself in the right place at the right time. Got his hand in on more than one occasion to break up a pass.
Torri Williams - Great presence, great anticipation. Came on the blitz a couple of times and had it timed where he was at the line and ready to go when the ball was snapped. Again, if he was playing true full speed, I think he would have had at least one sack. Really liked seeing Torri out there, and what he was doing. Of course this being Purdue and he being Torri, he will undoubtedly have his shin bitten off by an escaped, rampaging T-Rex the Biolabs have successfully resurrected and cloned. Because, after all, it is Purdue. Or maybe somebody at the NCAA will decide next Tuesday is "Pin the Tail on the Boilers". Who knows.
Logan Link - This kid could be interesting. Besides the INT, he laid out a GREAT hit on Adam Wolf (and kudos to Adam for holding on to the ball and getting up). Hope he sees the field this year, I'll have to keep an eye on him.
Punt return - Not a lot going on here. Valentin took one for short/no gain and Royce did pretty much the same. Here's hoping we have a speedster with hands coming in this fall.
Guy to note: Nnamdi Ezenwa was a gunner on the kickoffs and punts. Don't know if he wasn't blocked or if he's really good, but in either case, he was down to the receiver first.
Kickers (he says as he almost spits out the word) - Kudos to Carson Wiggs. Not only does he had a leg (could we FINALLY have the kickoff guy who can consistently put it in the endzone???) he's a heads up player. On the botched snap over his head, he retrieved the ball, saw he couldn't get the kick off, surveyed the field, tucked and ran with it. Didn't panic and didn't cost his team. He hit the 52-yarder, and I think he can hit 'em farther than that. I have a note next to his name that says "2 games!" so I suppose that means I figure he can win or lose two games for us this year. Summers had a couple of nice punts as well. Cory Kemp had at least one punt, but it looked to be kinda weak.
At this point and barring any unforeseen catastrophes (which in regards to Purdue Athletics pretty much seems to be SOP) Joey will be the starter this fall. I saw nothing that would change that Saturday. And that's okay. Terbush is still a freshman, which gives him time to learn more (and be taught more). And if Bennett continues to improve, he will help us more than he hurts us. Hearing good things about who we have coming in and I think we'll be okay at QB.
My Game MVP: Jeff Panfil. Just really like the way he played and looked out there. I saw early film on this guy when he was a QB in high school and I really wanted to see what he could do behind center with our offense. Well, that didn't happen, so now I'm hoping somebody as big and athletic as he is can make an impact at TE.
O MVP: Ralph Bolden. If somebody had said his name prior to the game, I wouldn't have had a clue who he is. Now I do, and I think he could be a difference maker come this fall.
D MVP: Jason Werner. Knock on wood and keep him healthy (on a side note, after the game I signed Jason and a couple of the receivers up for my paintball team/apartment complex swimming teams. That shouldn't be a problem, should it? :P )
Breakout players in 09: Ralph Bolden, Kawann Short, Jeff Lindsay, Keith Smith, Jeff Panfil, Jason Warner, Gerald Gooden.
In general, I think the D is going to surprise some teams. We seem to have some pretty good depth (or at least adequate) and most positions other than WR. Joey is better than a lot of folks think, and in my book, he's got a better football head than Painter did. We have some good talent coming in that will impact and see the field immediately. And hopefully, we don't have any head cases.
That's it. See you in September (if not sooner) and Boiler UP, HAIL PURDUE!!!