WEST LAFAYETTE – What we saw, what we learned and what to watch on Day 5 of Purdue practice:
What we saw
▶ Backup tight end Garrett Miller is done for the season after suffering a knee injury in Monday's practice, the Journal and & Courier has learned. Didn’t see the injury, only Miller laying on the ground. He was helped up and placed on the medical cart and taken inside the facility. Payne Durham remains No. 1 but Paul Piferi now moves to the No. 2 position.
Purdue depth chartBuilding depth at tight end focus during spring practice
▶ Downfield passing continues in the favor of the offense. Piferi had a long catch and run down the middle of the field. Charlie Jones moved behind the secondary and hauled in a long pass before falling down. Even quarterback Michael Alaimo had a long run through the defense.
▶Jones, TJ Sheffield, and Andrew Sowinski were fielding punts. Even cornerback Reese Taylor was involved. Taylor, a transfer from Indiana, played quarterback at Ben Davis.
▶ Receiver and running back Tyrone Tracy didn’t participate in a lot of drills. He was in attendance.
▶ The offensive linemen continue to have the upper hand in one-on-one drills with the defensive linemen. More up-downs for the defense.
“We’ve got to keep watching film and keep getting better,” defensive tackle Branson Deen said.
▶ Defensive end Khordae Sydnor has long arms.
“I can get my hands on offensive tackles quicker than they can. I’m thankful for my length,” he said.
▶ The top cornerbacks – Cory Trice, Jamari Brown and Tee Denson – continue to undergo rehabilitation drills under the watchful eye of the strength and conditioning staff. Same for safety Sanoussi Kane.
▶ The LEO position (defensive end/linebacker) will be a strength this season. With Kydran Jenkins, Murray State transfer Scott Humpich and Yanni Karlaftis, the Boilermakers have enough personnel. Humpich worked with the No. 1 defense on Monday.
“He can give you juice off the edge; he knows how to rush the quarterback,” defensive line coach Mark Hagen said. “We put him out there with the 1s and that’s not a knock on KJ. We wanted to get our best Leo out there from a pass rush standpoint.
“It’s one example of great competition. He wants to be the starter and KJ has played a lot of football for us. He’s proven he can play and play very well.”
▶ Freshman defensive end Nic Caraway could become one of the team’s top players on special teams, in particular on kickoff and punt coverage. He’s fast and loves to hit.
Purdue football practice report Day 4What we saw, what we learned, what to watch for
What we learned
▶ During an 11-on-11 session on Friday, Jenkins and Humpich combined to sack the quarterback five times, according to Hagen.
▶ Deen said don’t sleep on Purdue’s offensive line. He goes against the group every practice and sees the transformation.
“I think they’re more technically sound, they’re physical and guys want to get after you after the play,” Deen said. “It’s a testament to their coaches and they’ve been receptive to their attitude. I think it’s a good group.”
▶ Deen and defensive tackle Lawrence Johnson play side-by-side but they’re also roommates. Johnson was cleared last week after two offseason surgeries.
“He’s kind of like my Robin – he’s got my A gap and I’ve got his B gap and the backers have a good time off of us,” Deen said.
Does that make Deen Batman? In his mind, yes.
“He’ll probably tell you otherwise,” Deen said.
Purdue football position breakdownLack of depth won't hold safeties back
Cole Brevard spent two seasons at Penn State before transferring to Purdue in the offseason. The Carmel native gives the Boilermakers another option at nose tackle.
"Cole's been in a college system for two years," Hagen said. "He understands what he’s got to do inside. He's good with his eyes and his hands and he's very strong, one of our strongest guys. We knew that coming in; Penn State told us he was one of their strongest guys. That’s going to be an interesting deal at the nose position. I think he’s a big, strong, run defender and not sure what he’s going to give us in pass rush other than a push-the-pocket type of deal.
What to watch for
Tuesday is the first day in full pads.
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 practice report Day 5: No. 2 TE Garrett Miller suffers season-ending knee injury