Notes: Boilers start up spring drills

Purdue is looking to build confidence with its spring drills. Boiler Sports Report offers notes and quotes from day one from the Mollenkopf Center.

-- Following a 1-11 season, coach Darrell Hazell hopes Purdue's 15 spring practices build confidence. For a program looking to build itself back up, the spring brings an important opportunity.

-- The hope for Hazell is that Purdue can enter the summer feeling good about its future. "The main thing is getting confidence," Hazell said. "Getting our guys out here and understanding what they're doing, how fast they can do it, and coming out of here after 15 practices feeling really strong about our base on offense, defense and special teams."

-- Purdue seemed to have great movement and energy throughout practice. It was an up-tempo, high-intensity workout, and the players appeared ready to roll.

-- The most important story to come from day one of spring practice is that Purdue is holding an open competition at quarterback. Sure, Danny Etling is the incumbent, but Austin Appleby and David Blough will have the chance to beat him for the top spot. "We're going to give everybody an opportunity," Hazell said. Added offensive coordinator John Shoop: "None of [Appleby and Blough] signed up to be a caddy."

-- Etling looked sharp and confident with each of his throws, proving to be a leader on offense. His improvements were certainly noticeable. "Definitely feel a lot better," Etling said, comparing to his first practice one year ago. "I'm more comfortable with the offense and things are moving faster," said Etling.

-- The first rep for David Blough didn't go as he had hoped. Backing out from under center, the turf monster caught him and the freshman fell to the ground, drawing laughter from the other quarterbacks. "I think it's going to be a great story for years to come," joked Blough. Added Etling: "I'm sure we'll replay that on the film a lot, and put that up on social media."

-- Appleby was asked if he considered transferring, rather than taking on the loaded depth chart at quarterback. He quickly denied that. "This is where I want to be," Appleby said. "This is the school that I chose. This is the school I fell in love with. And I want to help this team win a championship.

-- Purdue running back Raheem Mostert—fresh off a Big Ten title in track—received plenty of first-team reps. It may shape out that he's a feature back in the Boilermakers' offense, where weapons like him are needed.

-- With B.J. Knauf and Cameron Posey sidelined for the spring with an injury, Dan Monteroso and Deangelo Yancey saw the majority of reps at receiver.

-- Dolapo Macarthy, now wearing 21 on his jersey, appears to be a bit larger. He has certainly added some muscle to his 6-foot-5 frame. He'll be a solid complement to Justin Sinz and Gabe Holmes.

-- It's likely that Corey Clements and either David Hedelin or Bearooz Yacoobi get starting spots at tackle. Without any of the three newcomers on campus, Jack Deboef worked in at left tackle and J.J. Prince served at the other tackle spot. As expected, Robert Kugler worked at center while Jordan Roos and Jason King took reps at guard.

-- Darrell Hazell confirmed that senior Ryan Russell is back to being a full-time defensive end, that after working in at ‘Jack' linebacker last season.

-- New defensive backs coach Taver Johnson is certainly a vocal type. He had the secondary out to work before period one of practice, working them through the basics. His voice could be heard throughout Mollenkopf all during the afternoon. Cornerback Frankie Williams appeared to be in great shape and was moving quickly throughout each drill.

-- The Boilermakers never broke to scrimmaging or anything out of the ordinary for a first day of practice; it was just sticking to the basics in position groups. What was evident is that there's a bit of swagger for this team. It's just day one and working in shorts and shirts, but there were plenty of positives to take.

-- Practice reopens on Friday, when the Boilermakers return to the Mollenkopf turf. Stay with Boiler Sports Report for continued coverage of spring drills.

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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