Football tour notebook: Fun takes from Purdue fall practice

Football tour notebook: Fun takes from Purdue fall practice

WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. — Jeff Brohm is continuing to hone his lineup as Purdue transitions into game prep soon. The arrival of Brohm has injected hope to a program that hasn’t been to a bowl since 2013 and has been to just two bowls since 2007.

[ MORE: Dienhart: 5 things I learned at Purdue practice ]

Here are some fun takes from Monday’s practice.

Most impressive player: LB Markus Bailey. The 6-1, 235-pound sophomore turned heads last season. And he could be poised for bigger things this fall. Bailey is a quick athlete who also likes to hit. He moves well in space and is a key part of a linebacking unit that is the strength of the Boilermaker defense.

Top specimen: S T.J. Jallow. The 6-2, 200-pound JC transfer is as well put together as any player on the roster. And Jallow has made a splash with his big hitting ability. (Think Jack Tatum.) He will be a difference maker. Jallow had at least one big hit today. He needs to be careful about getting flagged for targeting.

Loudest coach: Jeff Brohm. Yep, the head coach is ultra-intense. With neck veins bulging, Brohm isn’t shy about expressing his—ahem—displeasure when players don’t do what they are supposed to. Love the passion and intensity.

Impressive newcomer: WR Corey Holmes. The grad transfer from Notre Dame has injected much-needed speed into the wideout unit. He has dealt with a hamstring injury in camp, but looks to be getting back on track. Holmes could be a key player. He better be.

On the rise: RB D.J. Knox. He is the ultimate warrior who plays much bigger than his 5-7, 210-pound listed height and weight. The junior missed last year with a knee injury. But he could be a big part of this offense for a running back slot that is one of the strongest on the squad.

Nagging question: Will the offense come together? For most of camp, the defense has dominated. But the offense just hasn’t clicked. A big key will be the line, which must get a push.

Under the radar: DT Eddy Wilson. He is a junior, but the 6-4, 295-pounder has been inconsistent for most of his career. But Wilson looks motivated. And he is in shape. He could have a monster year playing alongside Gelen Robinson (Glenn “Big Dog” Robinson’s son), who has moved from DE to DT.

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NOTES

The staff has raved about true freshman TE Darius Pittman, who probably will play even though Purdue has a nice tandem at tight end in Cole Herdman and Brycen Hopkins.

Purdue is putting the finishing touches on a new football performance complex that will have locker rooms, weight room, sports medicine, sports nutrition, meeting rooms and more. The price tag: $65 million.

Purdue recently finished installing lights in Ross-Ade Stadium. Michigan State and Purdue were the last Big Ten teams to install lights.

Mike Alstott’s son, Griffin, is a true freshman QB.

Jeff Brohm’s staff has brought in five grad transfers: WR Corey Holmes (Notre Dame); OT Dave Steinmetz (Rhode Island); LB T.J. McCollum (Western Kentucky); DB Josh Okonye (Wake Forest); OL Shane Evans (Northern Illinois).

Keep an eye on Baylor transfer kicker Spencer Evans. The guy has a cannon leg. During two seasons at Baylor, Evans served as a kickoff specialist and recorded 55 touchbacks.

Purdue’s staff includes two former head coaches. Co-defensive coordinator Nick Holt was head coach at Idaho (2004-05). Special teams coordinator/co-offensive coordinator Tony Levine was head coach at Houston (2011-14).

I am told Purdue will have a new promotion at the end of the first quarter during games this year. Stay tuned. Fans should enjoy it.

Fans should also enjoy this:

Tom Dienhart, BTN.com Senior Writer

About Tom Dienhart: BTN.com senior writer Tom Dienhart is a veteran sports journalist who covers Big Ten football and men's basketball for BTN.com and BTN TV. Find him on Twitter and Facebook, and send him questions to his weekly mailbag.

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