Quarterback battle headlines practice; Fall camp notebook - Purdue Exponent: Football

Quarterback battle headlines practice; Fall camp notebook

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Posted: Saturday, August 3, 2013 2:10 pm | Updated: 3:05 pm, Sat Aug 3, 2013.

The battle to determine who will start for Purdue at quarterback in 2013 was the main event as the Purdue football team began its fall camp on August 3 at the Bimel Practice Facility.

Senior Rob Henry and true freshman Danny Etling had most of the snaps in 7-on-7 and 11-on-11 drills.

Head coach Darrell Hazell said that a sense of urgency is needed from his quarterbacks before the season starts.

“I felt that we need to play a little bit faster at the quarterback position,” Hazell said. “When there’s something that’s not there, we need to take care of the ball a little bit better.”

Despite Etling’s offensive struggles, Henry made it clear that he feels that the freshman is a special talent and has a bright future. 

“Danny’s good,” Henry said. “He’s going to be really good. Obviously all of us are competing right now to be the starter on day one, but Danny has really impressed me.”

The coaches will continue to observe Henry and Etling as fall camp continues. Darrell Hazell hopes to have a starter named several weeks before the team opens at Cincinnati on August 31st.

Gaston hopes for more

Senior defensive tackle Bruce Gaston hopes to be a dominant player for the Boilermakers in 2013.

Just a year after Purdue standout Kawann Short’s departure, Gaston hopes to use some of what the veteran taught him to improve his own game. 

“(Short) was the host on my recruiting visit,” Gaston said. “I spent a little over three years with him. He’s a great friend of mine. I looked up to him and learned from him. I’ve taken some of what I know from him and mixed it with my game.”

Short was the definition of a dominant player in 2012, totaling 15.5 tackles for loss and seven sacks.

Gaston wants to have the same type of season and said that he must improve his game physically in order to accomplish his goals.

“Everything that I already do, I have to do it better,” Gaston said. “(I have to) come off (the line) better, stay low, and hit my man faster, whether that’s reading out quicker or reading the play ahead of time. 

“I want to just completely dominate the person in front of me.”

Macarthy, receivers looking to emerge

The wide receiver position is one of the most uncertain for the Purdue football team as it prepares for the 2013 campaign.

Out of this young group, junior Dolapo Macarthy has the most experience. He showed promise in a limited role last season with 28 receptions for 252 yards and a touchdown.

Offensive coordinator John Shoop said that Macarthy’s hard work is starting to pay off on the field. In today’s practice, Macarthy caught passes from both Henry and Etling, including a diving touchdown grab from Henry in early drills. 

“He looked good in individual (drills),” Shoop said. “There’s a guy that, anytime you walk in that office in the summer, he was in there studying. It’s going to pay dividends for him.”

Head coach Darrell Hazell made a point that Macarthy was one of the only guys to stand out at the start of camp at wide receiver. He said that the team needs several more receivers to set themselves apart for Purdue to reach its goals in 2013.

“We’re going to give some of those younger guys an opportunity to compete for that job," Hazell said. "We need to find six guys who can help us win.”

Boiler Bites

E.J. Johnson, who was recently converted from safety to wide receiver, changed his number from 7 to 22 … Freshmen Da’Wan Hunt, Myles Norwood and Ra’Zahn Howard all sat out Saturday’s practice due to injury … The team took part in a “quiet time” period Saturday morning where they learned about the United States. “I wanted these guys to understand that there’s a lot of people out there fighting for us so we can do the things we love to do,” Hazell said.

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