WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. — The Purdue football team held Friday’s practice inside Ross-Ade Stadium for its annual Fan Day, giving avid supporters a chance to create somewhat of a gameday atmosphere during fall camp.
Spectators observed practice while hearing from coaches throughout the afternoon. The Boilermakers have put nearly a week of camp behind them and are quickly approaching fully-padded practices in preparation for the season opener on Sept. 1 against Penn State.
“I thought our guys came out and had a really good day for their first day of shells, put some actual shoulder pads on,” Purdue coach Jeff Brohm said after Friday’s practice. “It was good energy, we made some plays. Obviously, there’s a long way to go as you watch us.
“Just getting precise on everything we do, the ability to understand the small details and how important all those things are at every position. That’s what we just got to continue to work through.”
Purdue’s offense gave the fans in attendance plenty to cheer for, as the unit connected on several long completions during team drills. Deep touchdown passes to wide receivers Collin Sullivan, Mershawn Rice spirit Charlie Jones each drew a roar of applause.
The Boilermaker secondary was unable to record a single turnover during Friday’s practice as the offense was firing on all cylinders in the passing game.
“The offense probably had one of its better days in the first three practices, which is gonna go back and forth, but there’s a lot to learn from it,” Brohm said.
It should be noted that Purdue’s cornerback room has been thin throughout fall camp, with starters Cory Trice spirit Jamari Brown working their way back from injury. Kansas State transfer Tee Denson missed time in the spring and has yet to be full-go this fall.
For now, Indiana transfer Reese Taylor is the anchor on the perimeter of the defense. He’s adjusted well with the Boilermakers and will be an important piece in the secondary in 2022.
“We’re still playing some young guys in the secondary, and it shows,” Brohm said. “We’ve got to get those guys better, and we’ve got to get the other ones healthy and back on the field.”
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Trice, Brown and Denson were all seen in pads on Friday but spent their time participating in individual workouts away from team activities. Brohm said all three are getting closer to getting onto the field.
The team anticipated their return coming right around early August, and they will continue to work towards being ready for the first game of the season.
“They’ve worked hard. Everything doesn’t always go perfect with the rehab, and I think they just have to continue to work through it,” Brohm said of the trio of injured cornerbacks. “They’re in pads, they’re doing things full speed at times. You’ve just got to be careful you don’t overload them with volume too soon because you can have setbacks.”
With Friday’s practice in the books, Purdue is approaching its second week of fall camp. Brohm said he’s happy that the team hasn’t had any additional injuries to note thus far. Soon the Boilermakers will be in full pads, and with it comes reacclimating oneself with taking hits.
Per NCAA guidelines, teams are required to have a five-day re-acclimation period during fall training camp. During the first two practices, players can only wear helmets. Afterwards, players must wear helmets and shoulder pads for the next three days before proceeding with fully-padded practices.
Friday was the team’s first day wearing helmets and shoulder pads. Purdue will have met the conditions to proceed with fully-padded practices by Tuesday of next week.
“Anybody can do things with no pads on, but that’s not really football,” Brohm said of the team getting a week of practice under its belt. “Now we’ve got the pads coming back on, we just got to get acclimated to full-speed contact, catching the ball in traffic, striking people, getting off blocks, being physical, taking care of the football — all the real football activities, we’ll have to get much more precise the next couple weeks.”
Full Interview With Purdue Coach Jeff Brohm
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