Notes: Boilers get down to business

The spring is nearing its finish. On Saturday, the Boilermakers took to the Ross-Ade Stadium turf for the first time since November and scrimmaged. Boiler Sports Report offers details of the action.

-- Purdue's offense will wear the home black jerseys for the remainder of the spring. That's the reward for their victory over the defense in Saturday's scrimmage. Using a modified point system, the offense earned a 51-50 win.

-- The final play of the scrimmage saw quarterback Austin Appleby connect to tight end Sterling Carter in the back of the end zone on fourth down. The score was worth six points and decided the contest.

-- The biggest story of the day concerned the quarterbacks. Fifth-year senior Rob Henry saw the most first-team reps, but freshman Danny Etling worked with the ones for much of the scrimmage. Coach Darrell Hazell said after practice that Henry and Etling are the top two quarterbacks for Purdue. "I think we can win with both of those guys right now," said Hazell.

-- Etling had the most impressive day of any Purdue quarterback. His highlight came on a 38-yard strike to receiver Charles Torwudzo on a perfect strike leading the receiver past the secondary.

-- Henry was impressive, too. His throwing mechanics appear much improved and he has been very mobile. However, Henry did turn the ball over twice. On one fumble, he was stripped from behind while standing in the pocket. He did chase down Normando Harris and force a tackle. Henry said after the scrimmage: "Physically, I feel fine. From a performance standpoint, there's always room for improvement."

-- Running back Brandon Cottom suffered an injury early in the scrimmage when tackled low. Hazell said after the scrimmage that it may be an MCL injury but could not confirm that information yet.

-- It wasn't a strong day for the offensive line. Between missed blocks and missed assignments, there were some issues on Saturday. However, the unit has made improvements throughout the spring.

-- The offensive line's issues weren't just mistakes, though. The defensive line had a great day creating problems all day long. Defensive tackle Bruce Gaston—now at full health—had a great day. "I felt good, I felt really good," Gaston said after the scrimmage.

-- For a new twist, the Purdue quarterbacks were not protected by their usual non-contact practice jerseys. Of course, the defense took notice of this. Gaston was eager for his chance to get after the quarterbacks.

-- Defensive end Ryan Russell got the best shot on a quarterback when he decked Rob Henry after a screen pass. Russell gave the senior a stare before walking away.

-- Paul Griggs continues to see the most action at kicker for Purdue, though Hazell indicated we shouldn't read into that too much. Griggs did connect on three field goals during the scrimmage.

-- The Boilermakers return to work on Monday and finish up their spring activities on Saturday when the scrimmaging gets real.

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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