Injuries were the main topic of discussion during coach Danny Hope’s weekly Sunday meeting following Purdue’s 23-18 loss to Penn State on Saturday.
Two key cogs on Purdue’s defense in linebacker Will Lucas and defensive end Ryan Russell went down with injuries during the second half of the Penn State game. Lucas returned, but Russell was held out for the rest of the game due to a sore foot.
Neither injury is significant, according to Hope.
“Those guys who were banged up, some of them will be out today,” Hope said, “but they’re expected to be out there on Tuesday. So we’re in good shape.”
Injuries on the offensive line to Cody Davis and James Shepherd paired with a plethora of talented defense tackles have shifted Kevin Pamphile to offensive guard. Hope said Pamphile is looking really good early in the transition.
“He was probably our fifth defensive tackle, so we moved him over there,” Hope said. “It’ll take a little while to school him up. If we had to, if we lost some guys, we could move him back over there to defense. But right now we’re working him on offense and we’ll see how he does. I think he’ll do very well there; he’s a heck of a talent.”
Though many Boilermakers have suffered injuries in recent weeks, one is returning from an injury suffered during camp.
Safety E.J. Johnson was cleared to practice last week and could receive playing time on special teams and possibly on defense, according to Hope.
“He hadn’t practiced in a long time, but he ran into some people and he ran fast,” Hope said. “He looked healthy and like he was going to hold up. He can really help us some on special teams and maybe some in the secondary as well. He’s a talent.”