August 17, 2012

Freshmen Notebook

Jordan Roos talks camp from; on Vimeo.

With a bevy of freshman offensive linemen in the program now and a need for depth up front, it's conceivable Purdue could put a rookie on the field up front this season.

If it does, Jordan Roos might be the pick. And if he is, the guard might be defying some odds in finding his way to the field.

The Texan is just nine months removed from surgery to repair the ACL injury that cut short his senior season at Celina High School.

"I don't think leg-wise I am (all the way back) yet," Roos said. "I think sometimes I don't feel as secure on it, but it's good enough now that I feel comfortable. It's not 100-percent where I was, but I'm stronger upper-body wise, but my legs aren't where I need to be."

That said, Roos has impressed in practice thus far and taken reps with the second-team offensive line, an indication he might be in the conversation to not redshirt in 2012.

"Anything can happen in the span of however many games we play," he said. "As long as I get my technique down and keep working hard, that's all you can really hope for. We'll see what happens after that."

Learning proper technique has been an adjustment for Roos, a well-built 6-foot-5, 305-pounder who could overmatch opposing linemen with relative ease in high school. Not anymore.

"The first couple days it was pretty fast, things coming right at you," Roos said. "But now we're on Practice 16 and I feel like I've got a pretty good grasp on everything on my technique and everything and my assignments. You can know what you have to do, but if you don't know the technique it's pointless."
- Brian Neubert

Getting a chance

During the summer, freshman cornerback Anthony Brown had his thoughts on playing a little offense when he got to Purdue.

But the former high school two-way threat - he starred at running back and as a DB at Hillsborough High School in Tampa - has now fully immersed himself in defense, and he couldn't be happier.

"I'm straight defense now," he said. "They've got so many people on offense now, they don't need me; I'll stick with defense."

And Brown is getting a chance to show his stuff too, with cornerback regulars Josh Johnson and Normondo Harris missing time in camp due to ankle and knee injuries, respectively.

Brown's filled in, getting snaps on the second team and occasionally on the first, depending on the scheme.

"They've giving me all the opportunity in the world to see what I can do, see if I can play," he said.

"Coach wanted to see if I could play. If he liked me, we'll find out, I guess. If not, I'll redshirt."

But Brown, a 5-11, 185-pounder, might be in line to play right away, particularly if Harris' injury lasts into the season. Brown says he's on all of Purdue's special teams, except for field goal. He'd had only one return opportunity in practice, but is a blocker or coverage guy.

He'd like to get a chance on Saturdays.

"I hope so," Brown said. "The coach doesn't ever give me any signals, so I don't know if he's thinking that way, or not. I feel like I've done well, so we'll see."

But redshirting is also an option, one that he's more willing now to accept.

"Before I came, I didn't want to redshirt," Brown said. "But now, talking to the players, I think it might be kind of good to redshirt. It would let me get an extra year and get more accustomed to the game. If I did redshirt, I wouldn't be mad. I'll work harder."
- Kyle Charters

Learning the ropes

Cameron Posey admits that his first college training camp has been a bit overwhelming with the amount of information that needs to be processed.

But he's taking the only approach he can to be successful: Putting in work.

Posey is among a group of receivers who watches extra film, led by seniors Antavian Edison and Tommie Thomas, and he's hoping watching that to learn defenses as well as going hard in practices can help him get playing time this season.

"I definitely think I can contribute," he said. "I still have stuff to learn, and there's always room to get better. I'm just going to be coachable and learn from the older guys and try and do my best.

"I'm playing the Z (position), outside. It's easy focusing on one position rather than trying it all at once and just gradually work your way all around the field."

Posey didn't take summer school, so he was only campus for only a couple weeks this summer. After playing only two games as a senior in high school because of a wrist injury, Posey admits he had to shake off some rust early in camp.

But he's rebounded well enough: Coach Danny Hope called Posey a "natural."

"He understands route-running, finds the open hole, gets open, very sure-handed," Hope said. "He's a guy that could, if he keeps working hard and learning what to do, he could end up in the mix. He has stuck out."

At 6-2, Posey also would give Purdue some size at the position. But he said he has "deceptive speed" as well.

"I think I've got the best of both worlds kind of," he said.

Maybe those skills will be enough to land Posey on the field in the season opener against Eastern Kentucky?

"Week 1? I don't know about that," Posey said with a smile. "Maybe if we win by a lot … I may get in toward the end. But we'll see. I'm OK if I don't."
- Stacy Clardie

Griggs battling to be No. 1

Paul Griggs came to training camp expecting to be pushed for Purdue's placekicking job.

He probably, however, didn't expect the battle to last through training camp and into preparation for the season-opener. But that's the way it appears to be shaping up, with Griggs in a competition with redshirt freshman walk-on Sam McCartney neck-and-neck. As of late this week, McCartney had a narrow edge, according to Hope.

"Certainly, I knew coming into it there'd be competition," said Griggs, Rivals' fifth-best placekicking prospect in the '12 class. "Any competition is good. I think what Sam and I are doing now is only going to make both of us better.

"But with kicking, it's not so much like linebacker or running back or something, where you're physically going up against another guy and hitting. (As a kicker), you're doing two separate things, and then those things are being compared. It's not like we're squaring off head-to-head to see who's the strongest or fastest. It's not an arm wrestle.

"I've been having a good time (with the competition)."

That said, Griggs would like to win the job. He says he's felt good in practice, although he didn't anticipate the amount of time required, between work on the field and in the film room, and everything in between.

"As specialists, we watch technique when we watch film," Griggs said. "And Coach (J.B.) Gibboney has been really good about helping me look at my form and say 'Hey, we should try to tweak this.' So I think I've really gone out and everyday had something to work on and executed that."

So who will win the job?

That's tough to say. Earlier this week, Hope suggested that Purdue could use both Griggs and McCartney during the season if neither separates himself in the next couple weeks.

"I think everyone is here to help Purdue win games," Griggs said. "In high school, I did all three jobs (kicking, kickoff and punting).

"… Any (split of duties) would be weird, but weird isn't necessarily bad. They're going to make the best decision and we're all here to help Purdue go to bowl games, and maybe the Rose Bowl."
- Kyle Charters

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