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August 25, 2012
Listen: Coach Danny Hope before practice
Coach Danny Hope labeled Saturday, Purdue's final scrimmage before the start of game week prep, a "big day."
And he thinks some good results came from it.
"I thought we executed better offensively than we have for the most part throughout the course of camp," he said in the morning before heading over to the Meet the Team event.
Hope liked the performance of quarterbacks Caleb TerBush and Robert Marve, saying both are throwing the ball well and have been more precise.
Though Hope said he thought the offensive line needs to do a better job in pass protection until the end of the play to avoid any hits on the quarterback, he also thinks that the line "protects much better than they have the last couple years, so that should give our quarterbacks a chance to step up and do some things."
Senior tight end and captain Crosby Wright certainly seemed to be excited about the offense's effort on Saturday.
"I think we got a ton accomplished (Saturday). I think we grew up some as a football team," he said. "Everyone came out and took (Saturday) very seriously. It was a game-like atmosphere out here. Everybody came out and worked real hard and turned it up another notch. Every day Coach Hope talks about turning up the tempo and the volume of our practices. I think (Saturday) was probably the most intense and best we've looked out here."
Cornerback Ricardo Allen didn't seem to be as pleased with what he saw out of the defense, even though he said he thought that unit won the scrimmage and thought it was a "good way" to head into game week.
"We always have good practices, I feel, but our standards are little higher and (Saturday) we played a little down," he said. "It was earlier in the morning. No breakfast. You can go with a lot of factors. Sun out. It was different. We didn't play to our standard, and our standard is being perfect. We'll never reach that but we can get close to it and (Saturday) wasn't one of those days."
Hope said he'd like to see the defense do a better job of running to the football on a consistent basis and that will continue to be a point of emphasis next week.
But, overall, Hope considered it a productive Saturday.
"A lot of different scenarios, a lot of personnel and grouping changes on the field, so everybody had to think (Saturday), everybody had to be on task both sides of the ball," he said. "Good day all the way around but we still have some work to do."
Hope said his players had a better second half than the first, prompting him to joke that he may need to bring Zgonina in during halftime every Saturday.
"He came in and gave a real heart-to-heart with our team about things it takes to be a great player and a great team," Hope said. "He really spelled out the value of toughness and the value of want-to and the value of brotherhood amongst teammates as it relates to the game of football.
"It was just really brutally honest about the good things he saw and some things he thought our team could do better. It was really great for them to hear it from someone besides myself and the assistant coaches. So I thought it brought some real clarity to our football team about some of the things that are very important in order for us to be a championship football team."
"It's keeping everybody accountable because, honestly, a lot of times without them in practice, players think they can get away with things," Wright said. "If you have nobody keeping anybody accountable, it's much easier to hold, to late hit, do things like that. So now we have people out there keeping us accountable so we're more aware of how we're playing technically. I realize if I get my hands outside of a man and I'm holding him, I've got to replace them right away or I'm getting a flag thrown on me. I think most of the team is taking that stance."
Allen said he's noticed a change in attitude, too.
"Sometimes in practice, you get lazy and feel like, 'I can take a play off, I can just hold this player. Or I can take a play off and jump the snap count and it doesn't really matter because it's practice,' " Allen said. "But when there are officials out there and you try to take that play off and try to beat the system, it always comes back and shows what really would happen in a game. That gets us prepared for a game."
Joe Gilliam has emerged as the "next-best guy" inside at linebacker behind starters Will Lucas and Dwayne Beckford, Hope said. Sean Robinson and Antwon Higgs also are options.
In the search to find a second group of productive receivers, Hope said Charles Torwudzo and Dolapo Macarthy made some plays Saturday. Hope continues to like what he's seen from freshmen Danny Anthrop and Cameron Posey, saying, "I wouldn't be surprised to see the (red)shirts come off of those guys."
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