The word “salty” is a common slang term for someone who is upset or easily provoked. This season, the Purdue football team has given the word a new meaning and turned it into a mantra for the upcoming season.
“We’re all understanding it’s going to take everybody digging deep,” head coach Jeff Brohm said, “whether you’re a starter or reserve or 13th guy, because you never know when you can be called, make sure we all stay salty.”
The meaning behind this is, simply stated, stay ready. Sean Pugh, player development coach, is the originator of the slogan, and he’s proud of it too.
“In order for your food to taste well, got to have salt. That’s what preserves the food,” he said.
With Friday night’s game against the Nevada Wolf Pack looming in the not-so-distant future, the Boilermakers must stay salty. The last time fans saw the Boilers in action, they were defeated in a blowout by Auburn University in the Music City Bowl in Nashville, Tennessee. Purdue finished its season 6-7 but brought in an influx of talent and newfound hope for the upcoming season.
Last year, newcomer wideout Rondale Moore exploded onto the scene during his true-freshman year and put together an All-American season for the Boilermakers. This year’s breakout Boiler may also be a wide receiver: freshman Milton Wright. Wright is 6’3, 195 lb. and has been turning heads throughout fall camp; he even caught the attention of his teammates.
“(Milton’s) had a heck of a camp, probably the best I’ve seen,” freshman wideout David Bell said. “He’s very fast off the ball, very strong hands and is a very good route runner.”
The defense also has some potential breakout stars this season, as freshman defensive end George Karlaftis and safety Jalen Graham have both earned starting positions on that side of the ball. Karlaftis, a West Lafayette native, was a highly sought-after recruit and is expected to be a major contributor at the defensive end this season.
Graham didn’t come to Purdue with the same buzz and press as Karlaftis, but he has earned the opportunity to make his presence felt at the strong safety position this season.
“I think Jalen Graham is a very good young prospect,” Brohm said. “Hopefully doesn’t make a lot of mistakes early on. I don’t think he will. ... I think he’s worked extremely hard.”
The Boilermakers will be leaning on its young talent to perform come game day, but that’s all a part of the staying salty mantra. This year’s freshman class is Purdue’s highest rated in the last 14 years and is filled with potential for this season and the future. Purdue hopes to translate this potential into wins and start this season off with a victory.
“Well, we’re going to go up there, hopefully take the field, play to win,” Brohm said. “You still have to play aggressive. ... We’re not scared to take chances.”