Notes: Tuesdays with Darrell

Darrell Hazell met with the media for his weekly Tuesday luncheon, addressing several topics of his football team and looking ahead to Saturday's game with Illinois. Boiler Sports Report offers the latest on the Boilermakers.

-- The biggest story from Purdue's Tuesday press conference is that senior tight end Gabe Holmes will return for his fifth year of eligibility, taking a medical redshirt this season. Holmes injured his wrist just two games into the season. This is a huge boost for the Boilermaker offense.

-- Saturday's game is Senior Day for the Boilermakers, and coach Darrell Hazell knows the sensations that come with it. "It'll be an emotional situation for them," Hazell said. "We'll have to get them recomposed after they go out and meet with their families."

-- Give credit to the Purdue senior class, which has stuck together through adversity in its final year. Said Hazell: "They're fighters. They've gone through a lot of hard situations and they've managed to stay together as a group and fought hard for the new staff that's come in. … They work hard and put it in for the Boilermakers."

-- When asked specifically about senior defensive end Bruce Gaston, Hazell said, "He has been a staple for this football team."

-- While the day will be all about the seniors, the game itself will be about the Boilermakers' young crop of talent. This is a rebuilding year, after all. "We've got to come out and show the future of the program," said Hazell. "That's what's important right now."

-- Purdue's offense had its best work against Penn State, and Hazell felt it was the best execution of the season. He added: "We've got to continue to stretch the field, horizontally and vertically."

-- Much of Purdue's ability to move the ball on offense stems from the leader, freshman quarterback Danny Etling. Hazell said one of the biggest differences from last Saturday to games prior is that Etling was very vocal on the sidelines, and was spending more time on the headset with offensive coordinator John Shoop. "You can see the progression of that guy getting better from week to week to week," Hazell said of Etling.

-- It would be easy to lose confidence in a struggle of a season like this one, but Hazell hasn't wavered from his talk of building a championship team. He called this year "A work in progress" but added, "It's going to be a great program." It takes a winning mindset to fight through adversity, and that's exactly what Hazell has brought the Boilermakers this year.

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.
Facebook | Twitter| E-Mail |

Boiler Sports Report Top Stories