Notes: Focus on the little things

On day two of spring drills, the Boilermakers used the mantra of their new head coach as motivation; get five percent better each day. Purdue worked to build off its first day of work. Boiler Sports Report offers a detailed practice report of Thursday's workout.

-- The message from coach Darrell Hazell was amped up on day two of the spring: keep improving. The Boilermakers' new leader stresses improving five percent each day of work, and that was the emphasis moving from the first practice to the second.

-- While each position was divided into its individual drills, Hazell roamed around the field, taking in as much of the action as he could. The spring offers his first chance to see the entire team live in action, and he is taking advantage of the opportunity.

-- John Shoop's primary role is as offensive coordinator, but he is also the quarterbacks coach, too. It was very interesting to watch Shoop work with the Purdue quarterbacks. He emphasizes the little details, from proper footwork to vision. With each dropback, the quarterbacks have their eyes centered; not directed toward the receiver. "He has only been here for a short while, but I've learned more than I thought in such a short time," quarterback Austin Appleby said of Shoop.

-- Shoop has been equally impressed by the Purdue quarterbacks, too. "They're working their tails off," he said. Early on, I have been most impressed by Austin Appleby, whose game has greatly matured from his senior season of high school.

-- Appleby explained some of the teachings Shoop has used, which includes film from some of the NFL's best quarterbacks. Often times, video of Peyton Manning is used to demonstrate various lessons of the position. "If we're trying to be the best, we've got to learn from the best," Appleby said.

-- Purdue worked on certain special-teams drills, including punt return. It appears Akeem Hunt and Taylor Richards are among the frontrunners to return punts this season. Raheem Mostert could also be an option. Running backs coach Jafar Williams was leading the drills. It's also worth noting that Williams has a great approach with his players, and there appears to be a genuine connection.

-- Later on, Williams had his running backs work on catching passes, and he happens to throw a bullet which caught the players a bit off guard. Throughout the drill, Williams worked on the basic technique—keeping eyes locked on the ball; not leaving the ground to make a catch; being prepared to run upfield.

-- Mostert has been very impressive early on in the spring. After practice, Appleby was asked where the speedster could play in the offense. The response? "Anywhere."

-- The Boilermakers return to the practice field on Friday afternoon for their third workout of the spring. Stay with Boiler Sports Report for continued coverage of Purdue's spring practices.

Chris Emma has covered recruiting, college athletics and professional baseball for FOX Sports Next since 2009. Emma covered the Nebraska Cornhuskers and Northwestern Wildcats, and currently covers the Purdue Boilermakers. A Chicago native, he resides in West Lafayette.
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