Several injuries marred what could otherwise be called a productive and exciting jersey scrimmage for the Purdue football team at Ross-Ade Stadium Saturday morning.
Sophomore wide receiver Danny Anthrop, who was expected to play a significant role at his position in the 2013 season, went down holding his knee after advancing the ball on a running play. Freshman offensive lineman Charlie Long also went down on the same play.
The stadium became silent after the injuries. Teammates from both the black and white-clad scrimmage teams went on their knees as head coach Darrell Hazell went to check on his players. Anthrop was carted off the field immediately and Long left the stadium on a cart later on in the scrimmage.
“I feel horrible for (Anthrop),” Hazell said. “The kid’s worked so hard and put himself in position to be one of our guys. Your heart sinks when one of your guys goes down like that. We’ll find out in the next 24 hours how bad it is.”
Freshman quarterback Danny Etling said that Anthrop will recover and come back strong for Purdue.
“I think that he still can (come back) no matter what’s wrong with him,” Etling said. “He’s a tough kid and is going to bounce back fast. He bounced back from his ankle injury this summer faster than anyone thought he would.
“We have a great training staff that is going to get him back sooner no matter what his injury is. He’s going to play a big-time role for us (because) he’s an electric player.”
Cottom gaining reps
Junior running back Brandon Cottom appears to be gaining momentum as a player that can contribute to the Purdue offense’s ground attack.
Head coach Darrell Hazell said that the 258 pound junior has a chance to be a part of Purdue’s gameplan at his position. In Saturday’s jersey scrimmage, Cottom received a high number of carries with both the first-team and second-team offenses. He showed a consistent ability to break tackles with his fullback frame and pound the ball for extra yardage, including several first down conversions with the first-team unit.
“We wanted to see how well he carried the ball,” Hazell said. “He certainly showed some things, but we’ll look tomorrow at the film and see if indeed he is that guy. He could be the number two (running back) for us.”
Senior quarterback Rob Henry said that Cottom is starting to realize his potential in the Boilermaker offense.
“We’ve got to keep him healthy and keep him strong,” Henry said. “He’s starting to realize that when he runs downhill there’s not many people that can tackle him. He’s going to help us a lot this year.”
Penalties remain a problem
A full officiating crew dealt a large number of pre-snap penalties to both Purdue’s offense and defense in Saturday morning’s jersey scrimmage.
True freshman quarterback Danny Etling said that reducing penalties starts with his position.
“We’ve got to be a smart football team,” Etling said. “It starts with the quarterbacks. If the quarterbacks are smarter and expect things from everyone then they’re going to come around and start being more disciplined too.”
Redshirt freshman quarterback Austin Appleby was called for a false start penalty with the first-team offense. Offside penalties were also called frequently, including a jump at the line of scrimmage by senior Will Lucas that caused linebacker coach Marcus Freeman to yell “See the ball snapped! That’s selfish!” at the veteran.
Appleby said that pre-snap penalties are mental and can be fixed with focus.
“That’s just mental endurance,” Appleby said. “When you’re backed up and know you’re going to get some sort of blitz, (it’s crucial) to be able to quiet your mind and understand that we’re going to be changing up the snap count a lot to get (the defense) to jump.
“It’s not (a problem) as far as getting it fixed, but it’s a big deal if we don’t get it fixed. That’s something that I think we can nip in the behind really quickly and we’ll get it cleaned up for week one.”