On Saturday, Boilermaker football fans got a first hand experience to be a Purdue football player.
Purdue football held its fourth-annual Huddle in Heels event this weekend at Mollenkopf Athletic Center from 11:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. This event was designed to enhance the knowledge of fans on all aspects of the game both on and off the field.
As a clinic designed originally for women who are fans but want to know more about football, both women and men were welcome to attend the event.
One man who attended the event was Purdue alumnus Phil Waclawik. He went as a new season ticket holder wanting to learn more about Purdue football.
“I think that guys should attend to make sure that the message is being communicated,” Waclawik said. “There is a lot more that goes on behind the scenes than the casual public know.”
During the day attendees participated in a range of activities, from learning about the basic rules of the game and the lives of players, to taking tours of facilities, participating in drills, and having Q&A sessions with the coaches.
Mellanie Zimmer, alumna, went to the Huddle for Heels for the third straight year in a row. She has been to every Purdue football game, home and away, including every bowl game starting with the 1967 Rose Bowl.
“I just think it’s fun,” Zimmer said, “and you learn more every year.”
The program provides attendees with basic and more advanced rules and aspects of the game.
Sally Hope, the wife of head coach Danny Hope, brought the idea of Huddle in Heels to Purdue based off similar events held at University of Louisville and Eastern Kentucky.
“We progress the years thinking that a lot of the people will continue to come, so we’re not doing the same thing every year,” Hope said. “Now, we have an intermediate and advanced rules, and I’ll ask if anybody is totally lost during the session. If they are, then I’ll pull them out and go to a more basic session.”
The event also had participation sessions where attendees go through drills with coaches that the players do in everyday practice. They did offensive drills, including how to run and hold the ball, how to properly throw, and how to catch both long and short passes.
The Boilermaker’s offensive coordinator Gary Nord also coached attendees on a drill about how to properly throw like a quarterback.
“It gives people a real perception of how difficult it is for these kids to do what they do on a daily basis,” Nord said.
There was also defensive training with defensive coordinator Tim Tibesar and other defensive coaches. They took participants through drills such as tipped ball catching, tackling, and a sack and fumble drills.
In addition, wide receiver coach Patrick Higgins worked with participants on how to properly catch the ball on both short and long passes.
“I enjoy it because it gives the general public an opportunity to see what the kids have to go through.” Higgins said. “I just like seeing the people smiling and trying to do the drills and having a good time and showing them what it is actually like to be a player.”