Notes: Boilers get back to work

Purdue had a productive, physical practice in its return to the field. Boiler Sports Report offers the latest from Mollenkopf.

-- Just a few days ago, Purdue players were away on spring break, either spending time with family or perhaps enjoying some sunshine. Tuesday's welcome back to the practice field must have felt like hell. The Boilermakers went through a fast-paced, grueling practice in their return to Mollenkopf.

-- First, some bad news. Sophomore tight end Carlos Carjaval injured his knee during full-contract drills late in practice, and was carted off the field. He was being evaluated for a knee injury, and no word has been given to his condition. "I didn't look good on the field, but those thigns never do," said Purdue tight ends coach Gerad Parker.

-- Jump right to the end of practice where things got heated. Pushing and shoving escalated during team drills. The coaches were quick to break it up, then got right to punishment. The players lined up on the sidelines and ran sprint after sprint.

-- During receiver drills, something interesting happened. It was a routine workout where the players push through the line to begin a route, but a couple players weren't using maximum effort. Sophomore-to-be Dan Monteroso stepped out and demanded more. "Do it right," he yelled. Coach Kevin Sherman, who asked Monteroso to become more of a leader for the young group, must have been pleased.

-- It's becoming more evident that the quarterback job is Danny Etling's to lose. Austin Appleby will provide steady competition, but I, personally, would be shocked if it wasn't Etling under center in the fall. The coaching staff appears committed to building Etling as their guy for the next few years.

-- Raheem Mostert has built more notoriety for his success on the track than the football field, but he's quickly become a solid running back. It's appearing more and more that Mostert will have a key role in the Boilermakers' rushing attack this season.

-- Going out there with this prediction: Robert Kugler will have a huge year on the offensive line. I believe the unit as a whole will see more stability, but it'll start with the anchor in the middle. Perhaps he could garner All-Big Ten honors.

-- A breakout star on the defensive line: sophomore defensive tackle Ra'Zahn Howard. At 6-foot-4 and 315 pounds, this guy is a monster that will eat up space up front. Purdue's pass rush starts with the big man in the middle. He'll cause problems for opposing o-lines.

-- It appears early on that LeRoy Clark is the favorite to start at cornerback, opposite of Frankie Williams. The sophomore from Miami has shown his skills early on in the spring. The real battle will occur during the fall as the freshmen arrive on campus.

-- The Boilermakers return to the practice field on Thursday afternoon. Stay with Boiler Sports Report for all the latest in Purdue's 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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