Notes: Lunch with the Boilermakers

Purdue is feeling upbeat with a new look, led by Danny Etling. The Boilermakers met with the media on Tuesday, addressing the changes in personnel and looking ahead to Nebraska. Boiler Sports Report offers detailed notes and quotes from the media session.

-- Purdue's record currently sits at 1-4, but you wouldn't know it from the effort in practice. The Boilermakers are feeling upbeat and rejuvenated after the bye week. Coach Darrell Hazell is encouraged by what his squad has shown. "Our guys have been running around with a lot of energy the last couple of days," Hazell said in his opening statements of Tuesday's press conference. " … I think our team is really juiced up right now."

-- One of the main reasons for those good vibes is the switch at quarterback, with freshman Danny Etling taking over as the starter. Hazell said the Boilermakers' offense will have a different look with Etling, a much stronger passer than previous starter Rob Henry. He even went as far as to say it wouldn't have a pro-style look anymore.

-- The switch at quarterback was the hottest topic of Tuesday's presser. Last week, Hazell met with the two quarterbacks, first informing Etling he would be the starter. Then, he told Henry, who requested a position switch. Now, he's a safety. "Rob is a very unselfish guy, and that's why he's our captain," said Hazell. His response was, I'm all in. He was great about it. And that's what you need; unselfish guys who can help you win football games."

-- Hazell offered plenty of praise for Etling's preparations, which has helped him progress from the beginning of the season. "He prepares like a nine-year veteran in the league," said Hazell. Etling discussed his methods, which often include live simulations of game action while watching film alone. He goes as far as yelling pre-snap checks and reads. "Hopefully, not too many people see it," Etling joked.

-- Etling made the first of many press conference appearances, and if he plays anywhere as well as he handles the media, he will be very successful. The freshman was comfortable and hilarious, discussing everything from the playbook to childhood stories. His best line came while discussing how his campus anonymity has since gone away, where before, he didn't have that football look. "People thought I look like a tall eighth grader," he said.

-- How did Etling benefit from arriving early on campus? "Coming in, I got to feel more comfortable with everyone," he said. "They don't look as me as a freshman, because I came in with all the coaches. I feel comfortable with the offense, comfortable with my teammates and they feel comfortable with me."

-- Another fun nugget from Etling: as a child, he was a tennis player whose mother didn't want him playing football. However, Danny made his mom promise to sign him up if he won a tennis tournament, not thinking he would win. The rest is history.

-- Growing up as a quarterback, Etling idolized Peyton Manning, then the quarterback of the hometown Indianapolis Colts. He said: "My childhood was consumed with being like Peyton Manning."

-- There was more than just Etling talk. The Boilermakers face a tough Nebraska team on Saturday. After being run over by Wisconsin's seventh-ranked rushing attack, the Cornhuskers' ninth-ranked unit will be another challenge. However, Nebraska has a different look than the Badgers. "They're a little bit more deceptive than Wsiconsin," Hazell said, "where Wisconsin is a little more downhill."

-- An update on the injury front, where Purdue gets safety Taylor Richards and cornerback Frankie Williams back to the lineup. Defensive end Greg Latta is questionable , and must practice on Wednesday to show he can play. Also, safety Landon Feichter may be able to return before the Ohio State game.

-- Not to be outdone, defensive tackle Bruce Gaston was quite entertaining, too. On his spot at the 3-technique, Gaston said, "I'm at home, it feels safe. … That's my little area."

-- What did Gaston do with his Saturday away from football? "It just hurt me watching everybody play," he said. "I didn't really know what to do on Saturday."

-- Gaston did give an honest assessment of his play through five games, which he wasn't pleased with. "I realized that there's nothing stopping me but me," he said. "I plan on going out and playing like Bruce Gaston is capable of playing."

-- Nebraska is currently without starting quarterback Taylor Martinez, whose status for Saturday remains uncertain. Hazell said that the Boilermakers are preparing for backup quarterback Tommy Armstrong, who has started the Huskers' past two games—both of those being wins.

-- With a new look on offense, you'll see some new pieces. The freshman Etling will have some other freshmen to throw to, with Dan Monteroso, Cameron Posey and Deangelo Yancey likely serving as his main targets. Purdue's future is beginning now. "It's going to be fun here," Etling said, "for the next duration of our careers, to learn together, grow together, and make mistakes together."

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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