WEST LAFAYETTE – What we saw, what we learned and what to watch for on Day 7 of Purdue practice:
What we saw
▶ Another serious injury. Damarjhe Lewis, a key piece to the defensive line, was carted off after a severe ankle injury during a period that featured the No. 1 defense going against the scout team. An ambulance was waiting for Lewis outside the complex. That’s never a good sign. Lewis is scheduled to undergo surgery next week and is expected to miss the season. Earlier this week. assistant coach Mark Hagen said Lewis was showing improvement and is a “better nose (tackle) for us than 3-technique.” Minutes before the injury, Lewis had made a stop near the goal line, corralling running back Dylan Downing. The good news is the Boilermakers have depth on the defensive line, but the concerning news is Lewis, a transfer from Indiana before last season, had developed into a reliable contributor and replacing that game experience won’t be easy. Purdue has already lost backup tight end Garrett Miller to a season-ending knee injury.
▶ Jalen Graham, the star of the defense, didn’t practice Thursday. That wasn’t a surprise. Graham suffered a slight strain (hamstring) on Tuesday. There’s no need to rush Graham back on the field.
▶ Antonio Stevens, who tweaked his hamstring on Tuesday, also sat out Thursday’s workout.
▶ Cornerbacks Cory Trice, Jamari Brown and Tee Denson are doing more drill work and team situations with each practice. They’re being eased back and with three weeks before the opener, the trio appears to be on pace to contribute against Penn State. All three had offseason surgeries.
▶ Receiver Broc Thompson, the MVP of the bowl game victory over Tennessee, was more active in Thursday’s practice. He participated in more 11-on-11 situations than in previous practices. Thompson dropped a pass and immediately started doing push-ups.
▶ At one point, Thompson and the two Iowa transfers – Tyrone Tracy and Charlies Jones – were on the field together. If healthy, those are likely the starters for the opener depending on the formation.
▶ Very little change to the No. 1 offensive line since preseason practices started. From left to right, Eric Miller (tackle), Spencer Holstege (guard), Gus Hartwig (center), Marcus Mbow (guard) and Cam Craig (tackle).
▶ King Doerue and Kobe Lewis produced more long runs.
▶ Receiver Mershawn Rice was back on the field and caught a long touchdown pass.
▶ Receivers Abdur-Rahmaan Yaseen and Preston Terrell were wearing non-contact red jerseys while going through drills.
▶ The No. 1 defense kept the No. 1 offense out of the end zone during an end-of-the-game drill. However, the No. 2 offense scored on Austin Burton’s long pass to tight end Paul Piferi to slip past the No 2 defense. Burton lofted a nice pass to Piferi, who got behind the cornerback.
What we learned
▶ Sixth-year linebacker Kieren Douglas plans to coach after his playing career is over.
“I definitely want to be around the game of football, whether that be as a player, whether that be as a coach,” Douglas said. “I'm trying to learn the game as well as I can as a player but also in the future as a coach. Hopefully, I'll be able to find a graduate assistant spot here or somewhere else.”
▶ Clyde Washington’s grandfather – also named Clyde - played for the Boilermakers in the late 1950s and the linebacker has been looking to follow in his footsteps. Washington is expected to play an increased role this season.
“I come out here trying to do the best I possibly can,” said Washington, who is from New Jersey. “I think about him every day, even though I didn't really get to meet him. But it's more motivation to me and doing what I need to do to show what the Washingtons are about.”
▶ Several NFL scouts were in attendance for Thursday’s practice. Washington, Chicago, Los Angeles Rams, New York Jets and Buffalo were among the teams represented.
The scouts were focused on quarterback Aidan O’Connell and Trice. They were planning on watching Graham, but Tuesday’s injury took him out of the mix. The scouts were also intrigued by Jones in the return game.
▶ Whoever was in control of the music Thursday receives a "Thumbs Up." During stretching, a song from Motown was playing.
What to watch for
▶ Friday is the final open practice (9:45 a.m.) and is expected to be a walkthrough leading up to Saturday’s closed scrimmage.
Mike Carmin covers Purdue sports for the Journal & Courier and USA Today Network. Email firstname.lastname@example.org and follow on Twitter and Instagram @carmin_jc
This article originally appeared on Lafayette Journal & Courier: Purdue football: Ankle injury expected to sideline Damarjhe Lewis