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August 15, 2007

Orton sets priorities

He may not always draw the same notoriety as some of Purdue's other receivers, but receiver Greg Orton is eager to be noticed in 2007.

The best means to that end, he thinks, is consistency.

"I just want to be more consistent," Orton said. That's the main thing I worked on this summer, being consistent in my workouts and with my work ethic. Hopefully it pays off."

In his first year as a front-line player, as a true sophomore, the 6-foot-3 now-junior enjoyed a solid season, catching 58 passes for 790 yards and five touchdowns.

But a season many receivers would have been plenty satisfied with left Orton wanting more.

"He had a great off-season," receivers coach Brian Rock said. "He's become much stronger. Greg's always been very athletic, and I think he has good hands and good upper-body strength.

"He's become very focused - not that he wasn't focused before - and very technically-minded. He's taken a very serious interest in becoming a technically good football player, which is a great thing to see."

Orton may have exhibited his potential for improvement late in the '06 season, closing with three strong games.

After catching just one pass at Michigan State, then being shut out at Illinois, Orton bounced back by torching Indiana with six catches for 112 yards and a touchdown. He then caught four passes for 69 yards at Hawaii, with a dazzling 28-yard score on which he tip-toed the out-of-bounds line to reach out and grab a long ball from Curtis Painter.

In the Champs Sports Bowl, Orton was one of Purdue's few bright spots, as he snared eight balls for 95 yards, with a 12-yard touchdown just before halftime, good for the Boilermakers' only points.

"I thought I was a little more consistent toward the end of the season, scoring touchdowns, catching balls and not having many drops," said Orton, whose biggest game came at Northwestern, where he caught 13 passes for 144 yards. "I've really wanted to carry that over to this season."

As coaches have urged their wide receivers - their entire offense, really - to become more physical, Orton hopes to answer the call. He believes he has the size and desire to do so, and brought his body up to around 205 pounds in the summer after playing last year around 195.

"(Cornerback) Terrell Vinson's helping me, putting his hands on me a lot," Orton said, "so I'm pushing off a lot more, putting my hands on DBs a lot more, and just using my body. Being more physical's a big thing for me, especially in the Big Ten."


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