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October 2, 2007

Tuesdays With Tiller: Purdue football notes

Since finishing off Purdue's win over Notre Dame Saturday with a couple of awkward spills to the turf - as opposed to your more traditional kneel-downs - Curtis Painter's been asked the question often: What's with the flopping?

As Purdue ran out the clock against the Irish, Painter would fall to the ground, then almost roll up in the fetal position, with the ball.

"It's one of (quarterbacks coach Ed Zaunbrecher's) little things," Painter explained with a chuckle on Tuesday. "If you fall down, you get to stretch the clock out a little bit more, making the referee come get the ball from you, stretching the clock out a little bit more. If you just take a knee, then you just get up and give him the ball and sometimes you don't run off enough time."

On the last snap, though, Painter had to take the snap, then run around for a couple seconds in the backfield.

"If I hadn't laid on the ground," he said, "I may have had to run around for a couple more seconds on that last play."

Coach Joe Tiller said, though, that Painter could have drained even more time had he not tossed the ball back to the official.

"He wins 'Ugliest Kneel-Down in America,' hands-down," Tiller joked. "He had a problem a year ago where he downed it too quick, and we had to tell him to actually go to the ground. He's taken it to a new level."

Both Tiller and Painter alike, though, will be plenty happy if the QB is asked to repeat that performance come Saturday night.

No Worries

Tiller talked again about Notre Dame's 19-point second half Saturday, re-asserting that the Irish were more responsible than was Purdue's defense.

"Our defense was in position to make plays," Tiller said. "… It seemed like every critical situation went (Notre Dame's) way until we shut them down at the end. If guys were out of position, then I'd be concerned."

Two of the Boilermakers involved in two of Notre Dame's more improbable plays - David Pender and Anthony Heygood - talked about the plays on Sunday.

Heygood, along with Torri Williams, occupied each side of tight end John Carlson, but the pass snuck through for a diving five-yard TD midway through the third quarter.

"I did everything I could," Heygood said. "I jumped up, I tried to get a hand in his face and I tried swatting at the ball, and he still caught it.

"I didn't actually touch the ball, but I was right there. I thought, 'Wow.'"

As for Pender, he was victimized on a 25-yard touchdown pass that photography from the game shows he practically had his fingers on as freshman Golden Tate made a lunging catch.

"I just mis-timed my jump a little bit," Pender said. "… I guess he just wanted the ball more. They really made some great catches."

Tiller has said that he was more disappointed with his offense in the second half. The Boilermakers bogged down for the majority of the half, until coming up with a key TD drive in the final five-and-a-half minutes.

"We came out and wanted to do too much," Painter said of the second half. "We really wanted to put it away, and we stalled ourselves. We got outside ourselves, and that's what we were disappointed about."

Good Health

When asked if there were any health situations he was worried about on his team, Tiller just said, "No."

There's been some good news, though, regarding running back Jaycen Taylor, who broke his arm against Central Michigan and was thought at the time to maybe be lost for the season.

The initial prognosis was a six-week recovery. But Taylor returned to the practice field Sunday, though only for some light running.

"He's chomping at the bit (to get back)," Tiller said. "He'd like to get going and do more than they're allowing him to do, and that's not a surprise.

"We might get him back even sooner than we thought. I don't know if that's true or not. But six weeks at the earliest was the original call on him, but maybe it'll be four weeks. If it were up to Jaycen, it would be two weeks, but it's not up to Jaycen. We'll see."

This and that

• Tiller on the offensive line: "I like the physicality of our offensive line now.(Robbie Powell) is playing the best of all of them, and Jordan Grimes) is really trying to become a more physical player."

• Tiller on Painter's experience now: "From this point forward, we'll see what kind of player he is, and what kind of label will be put on Curtis Painter."

• Tiller on wide receiver Brandon Whittington: "Brandon's an improving player, but it's slow, but sure. I wouldn't call it leaps and bounds."

• Tiller on Drew Brees' $2-million gift to Purdue: "Someone asked me if I was surprised Drew would make that kind of commitment and my response was … 'Nothing Drew Brees does surprises me.' He's one of those rare guys. I remember telling our coaches while he was here, 'Enjoy him while he's here, because you get one like this about every 15 years in coaching, so you can expect about two of them over the course of your career.'"


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