Purdue defense preparing for the unknown

The Boilermakers will learn on Saturday who will start for Cincinnati. This week in practice, they prepare for the unknown.

WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. – For months now, Purdue has been logging hours in the film room to prepare for the opener against Cincinnati. The game is days away and the Bearcats' offense remains a bit of a mystery.

New Cincinnati coach Tommy Tuberville has yet to name a starter at quarterback, with seniors Brendon Kay and Munchie Legaux battling for the top spot. Add the fact that the Bearcats are running a new offense from past seasons and Purdue faces quite a challenge.

"You prepare for almost anything," junior defensive end Ryan Russell said.

Purdue has weeks of preparation under its belt and is prepared for Kay, Legaux, and just about anybody it will face this season. The Boilermakers aren't fretting to figure out their plan for Saturday.

"We're not going to prepare for both," head coach Darrell Hazell said. "But we understand that if we're in our right gaps and we stay over top the deepest receiver, we'll be in good shape."

Kay has appeared in 17 career games, including 11 last season, posting 10 touchdowns and just two interceptions in his career.

As for Legaux, a dual-threat option under center, he has 29 games of experience under his belt, including 11 in 2011 and 2012. The senior has thrown for 18 touchdowns and 13 interceptions while averaging 5.4 yards per carry. However, he has only carried the ball 96 times in the past two seasons. That could change under Tuberville's leadership.

Tuberville has suggested that both quarterbacks could be worked into action against Purdue.

"They're very good quarterbacks," said junior linebacker Joe Gilliam. "We'll have to prepare very well for game day."

One advantage Purdue does have in getting set for Saturday is that its offense is quite complicated, giving the defense a similar look to what it will see in Cincinnati. The Boilermakers' system mixes all types of looks, but it features several quarterbacks in practice.

"We prepare for everything," said senior cornerback Ricardo Allen. "We've been doing a good job with our offense, which is a very complicated offense. Coach Shoop will have us prepared for the game."

As the Boilermakers continue to work for their trip to the Queen City, they aren't concerned with which Bearcat quarterback will be under center. Their sole focus is being fundamentally sound. Cincinnati's quarterback decision will play itself out.

"It's all about getting our techniques down," Allen said. "I think we'll be very good come Saturday."

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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