The Purdue football team worked extensively on special teams drills at the Bimel Practice Complex on Tuesday morning.
After an early walkthrough, the team practiced with the first and second team punting units in order to work on lining up correctly and executing properly. Head coach Darrell Hazell said that the Boilermaker specialists need some improvement.
“Today was our first day using kick team,” Hazell said. “I think our punt protection has been better than adequate. Our punter needs to be a little more consistent. We need to be better at making field goals.”
Sophomore kickers Paul Griggs and Sam McCartney were a combined 6-8 in field goals on the day. Griggs missed his last two attempts, including one from outside of 40 yards to end Tuesday’s camp.
After punting work, the team split up into individual drills. In a kickoff coverage drill, four players attempted to push back pads held by defenders in order to practice shedding blocks and finding the ball carrier.
Sophomore wide receiver Danny Anthrop said that special teams will continue to get better as camp progresses.
“It’s kind of too early to tell (where our special teams are),” Anthrop said. “Just like the receiving core and the offense, we’re going to keep getting better and better throughout camp.”
Some of the younger receivers on Purdue’s football team will need to contribute in order for the Boilermakers to succeed on offense in the 2013 season.
Danny Anthrop has made an early impression on head coach Darrell Hazell.
“Anthrop has had a good four days,” Hazell said. “He’s very fast. Not practicing in the spring hurt him knowledge wise, but he’s catching up pretty quickly.”
Anthrop spent time with the first unit offense in full 11-on-11 drills late in Tuesday’s practice but didn’t register a reception. Redshirt freshman Bilal Marshall has also made an impression, even with a hip injury that sidelined him in recent days.
Marshall was recruited to Purdue as a quarterback but said that his transition to wide receiver, which happened in the spring, has been smooth.
“It’s been going well,” Marshall said. “I’m learning a lot. (Wide receiver coach) Kevin Sherman is teaching me a lot. I just need to work on some things.”
Junior running backs Akeem Hunt and Brandon Cottom must provide leadership and stability for the Purdue football team to effectively run the ball in 2013.
Head coach Darrell Hazell said that Cottom’s role as a fullback in Purdue’s offense is important.
“Brandon is going to have a big role for us,” Hazell said. “He’s a 268 pound fullback and he’s got to be a physical presence for us as a fullback and as a backside tight end as well.”
Akeem Hunt’s pure speed has made him the obvious choice to become Purdue’s full time running back in 2013 after rushing for 335 yards and two touchdowns in a limited role last season. He also returned a kickoff 100 yards for a touchdown against an unbeaten Ohio State.
Hunt has spent all of camp with senior quarterback Rob Henry and the first team offense. Sophomore wide receiver Danny Anthrop said that the backfield should be a strong point for Purdue this season.
“We have a lot of variability,” Anthrop said. “Akeem Hunt is probably one of the fastest guys on the team. He’s really explosive and hits the hole hard. Cottom can bang it in there. He’s gigantic for a fullback.”