Football Tour: Previewing Purdue practice

The BTN bus heads south down I-65 toward West Lafayette, Ind., to watch Purdue practice Wednesday. Check out the Purdue Preview Show at 10 p.m. ET Thursday on BTN/BTN2Go.

Danny Hope’s fourth Boilermaker squad may be his best. Purdue has a Big Ten-high 19 returning starters. I can’t wait to get a load of the defense, which could be among the Big Ten’s best. New coordinator Tim Tibesar’s 4-3 defense will feature the ability to morph into a 3-4. What other wrinkles will we see?

[BTN.com: 10 reasons for Purdue to be excited in 2012]

I want to check out the line, which could be terrific. Tackle Kawann Short is a force and has a nice partner inside in Bruce Gaston. But I want to see end Ryan Russell, who looks like he could be a pass rushing force as a sophomore. I also look forward to watching corners Ricardo Allen and Josh Johnson. This could be a very good tandem.

The offense has more unknowns. How does the three-quarterback system look with Caleb TerBush, Robert Marve and Rob Henry? Speaking of Henry, how many different positions will he play?

[BTN.com: View all of our football tour coverage]

I also want to see how the receiving corps and running back units look. Who are the playmakers? And is the line getting a push after losing two players (Dennis Kelly and Nick Mondek) who were selected in the NFL draft? I also will be sure to check out the kicking with Carson Wiggs and his cannon leg gone.

BTN.com senior writer Tom Dienhart is on Twitter and Facebook, all of his work is at btn.com/tomdienhart, and you can subscribe to it via his RSS feed. Also, send questions to his weekly mailbag using the form below.

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