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Old Gold Free Press Update For 4-24-2002

Spring Game Tomorrow in Fort Wayne!!!

Date: 4/25/2003
Author: TexasBoiler
© TexasBoiler

    Hello again, everybody. Once again, I've been gone for awhile, yet I'm still hoping to get back to putting this together 1-2 x's per week soon. To bring you up to speed on some of the latest happenings in Purdue Football and Basketball news I've attached several article notes and links for you below.

    Here's my version of what has been newsworthy since the last edition:

    1. Keady's kids met many fans' expectations by blowing out first round opponent LSU and losing a close game to #1 seed and eventual Final Four participant, Texas. Accordingly, I think Coach earned another year to prove that he can do even better next year. We have a very solid nucleus of talent coming back and Melvin Buckley showed that he is certainly one to watch as a starter at the small forward position next year. The kid can flat out stroke the 3 ball when given the opportunities. Without Willie Deane, many are hoping that we will have an even more balanced scoring attack next year. Some keys to making a run for the Big 10 title and getting to the Sweet 16 and beyond next year are:

    A. Kenny Lowe must fully recover quickly from yet another shoulder surgery. No question he is the de facto leader and that he needs to be pushing the others by example in practice over the summer and in the fall
    B. Big men Chris Booker and Ivan Kartelo have to get stronger and develop better pass catching skills this summer. Both turned the ball over way too much this past season. Booker has the potential to be our best big man since maybe Melvin McCants, he just needs to get the work in this offseason in the weightroom, etc.
    C. McKnight must assert himself as a scorer more
    D. Ije Nwanko, the freshman recruit, needs to be the frosh post impact player we have been craving for years. At 6-7, 260 lbs, with the endurance of a cross country runner, extra long wingspan, and surprising quickness - he could be a very nice addition to the squad
    E. Kiefer must get stronger while Buscher and Carroll must show they have improved
    F. Same thing for Teague and Buckley in terms of strength and overall progress

    Former Purdue Assistant and current Southern ILL head coach Bruce Weber is a serious candidate for the Illinois HC position.

    2. Purdue Spring Football has been one characterized by many injuries with studs like Standeford and STU sitting out the whole time. Projected starting OT David Owen has been injured but RS Frosh Mike Otto has looked impressive and appears to the starting LT today. The rest of the o-line looks like this RT Kelly Butler, RG Tyler Moore, C Nick Hardwick, LT Matt Turner.

    Sophomore DT Dontrey Flemings was coming on strong until he broke his leg and he has an 8 week recovery ahead. RB Brandon Jones, LB Jon Goldsberry, LB Landon Johnson, and DE Anthony Spencer have had nagging injuries. DE Shaun Phillips appears to be having his way in practice. The starting SS right now appears to be Deaunte Ferrell as John Lampert has been battling injuries. R-FR Jeremy Burnett has looked good at SS too.

    WR's Taylor Stubblefield and Ray Williams have been impressive as have Jamaal Wilson, Andre Chattams, and Kevin Noel. However, the Tiller era problem of dropped passes continues to be an enigma.

    RB Jerome Brooks has impressed many with his quickness and moves, though he weighs just a 180 lbs. Joey Harris has had many good moments too. The new RB's coach has placed considerable emphasis on ball protection

    At QB, Kyle Orton seems to be the clear #1 QB because the coaches feel he has a much better command of the offense. Tiller has said that he expects Kirsch to play too next year.

    Finally, ST play at the kicker position continues to be spotty at best. Ben Jones, a transfer from Butler has a stronger leg than Berin Lacevic but both have struggled with accuracy.

    OH YES, we already have 2 verbal recruits for next year's football class - power lifting champion, OT Jordan Grimes from Plainfield HS (6-3, 290 lbs) and LB/DE/TE Dwayne Holmes from Detroit, MI! We also appear to have a strong chance of landing a stud basketball player named (PG/SG) Xavier Price from Illinois, he's ranked the #45 player for 2004. Robert Vaden is ranked #39 and I caught him in action briefly last weekend while in Indy...

    My first observation was..."he kind of looks like one of the Duany boys in terms of his facial profile."
    Second observation..."he really elevates well on his 3 pt jump shot and has a very smooth stroke (reminded me of Woody Austin)"

    Third observation..."oh my!...he just knocked down 3 consecutive trifectas and then got a steal and converted a 3 pt play after getting fouled on an acrobatic lay in."

    Perhaps I saw Robert's best stint of the Saturday night game at North Central HS as I was watching my friend's nephew (PG Blake Snodgrass) in the auxillary gym for most of the time period. I heard some chatter about Bill Self offering Robert a scholarship at Kansas (this even before he officially announced that he was leaving ILL) and that Robert would be very interested in KU.

    No college coaches were around as I guess this is a no contact period? In any event, though I only saw a few minutes of Robert in person, I think he would push Teague or Buckley for the starting small forward position at Purdue next year if he were eligible. Robert is very well built for a HS senior to be and it seems like he can flick a switch at any time and ignite his team on offense.

    For those heading to The Fort tomorrow for the game, temps are expected in the 60's. Have a great time and please send me your reports or post them on the football forum at Old Gold Free Press.



    Football Spring Game Rosters Set
    Other details announced

    April 25, 2003

    2003 Spring Game Rosters in PDF Format
    Download Free Acrobat Reader

    "WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. - On Thursday evening, the seniors-to-be on the 2003 Purdue football team drafted teams for the annual Spring Game under the watchful eye of acting commissioner Don Coller, director of football operations for the Boilermakers.

    Captains, randomly picked out of a hat by sports information director Tom Schott, were selected first, with strong safety Deaunte Ferrell and linebacker Gilbert Gardner getting the honors. Ferrell had the first pick and chose senior defensive end Shaun Phillips. Gardner then selected senior center Nick Hardwick.

    All seniors had to be chosen before underclassmen, with coaches and staff following.

    The Spring Game will be played Saturday at D'Arcy Stadium on the campus of the University of Saint Francis in Fort Wayne, Ind. Kickoff is set for 1 p.m., with the gates opening at noon. Tickets are $5, and nearly 2,500 already have been sold. "


    Otto fills void on offensive line

    Freshman making impact at left tackle; Jones No. 1 kicker

    By Tom Kubat, Journal and Courier

    "Mike Otto and the rest of the youngsters in the offensive line have Purdue coach Joe Tiller breathing a little easier these days. The line, which lost three starters from last season, is a top priority during spring practice, but Otto and Co. have pleased the coach so far.

    "I'll say this about our offensive line, coming off (Saturday's) scrimmage, I thought all those guys did a nice job," Tiller said. "And I think we're going to prove to be maybe the best line athletically since the 2000 season.

    "I'm not as concerned about it today as I was two weeks ago."

    Otto, a redshirt freshman from Maconaquah, has looked so good this spring that the coaching staff has decided not to switch junior starter Kelly Butler from right tackle to left tackle."


    Red-shirt freshman works for starting position
    By Mike Deak
    Staff Writer§ion=sports&storyid=ottoprofile

    The rim was no match for Mike Otto's tremendous size and power when he took the ball to the hoop in a 3-on-3 basketball game in high school. The monstrous dunk he threw down didn't just intimidate his opponents ó it brought the entire goal down.

    At that point, his family knew that Otto would be a special athlete.

    "I think thatís a little bit special," said Brian, Otto's older brother and former Purdue football recruit. "We did have to keep the rim; itís in the garage."


    Running backs collaborate to provide anchor for team
    By Doug Elish
    Sports Editor§ion=sports&storyid=runningbacks

    I think we are pretty much a more together unit than the rest of the offense," said Void. "Everyone is coming together. But we have new people on the line; we have a few new wide receivers and this group has been together for a solid year. So I think we can pretty much be considered the anchor of the football team."

    How well the backs get along with each other may be a little surprising to some people, considering that the offense runs almost exclusively with single-back sets, meaning at least three of the backs are on the sideline at all times. "


    Running backs conform to new coach's method
    By Danielle Mitchell
    Senior Writer§ion=sports&storyid=mitchellprofile

    Old school. That's the way some Purdue running backs would describe the coaching style of new running backs coach David Mitchell.

    Senior running back Joey Harris said that Mitchell takes the Boilermaker running backs back to the basics.

    Mitchell said that one of the things he is trying to emphasize in his coaching of the Purdue running backs is holding on to the ball.

    "We had a little bit of a problem last year with holding on to the ball, so we're just trying to eliminate that."


    Davis relishes opportunity

    Sophomore tops tight end depth chart

    By Tom Kubat, Journal and Courier

    "If one man's garbage is another man's treasure, then one man's setback can be another man's opportunity.

    That's the situation at tight end on the Purdue football team.

    Three concussions last season ended Mike Rhinehart's career. Sophomore Charles Davis hopes to fill the void."


    Passers motivate each other, exhibit progress
    By John Jeanguenat
    Staff Writer

    "When spring football practice began April 2, junior Kyle Orton was the No. 1 quarterback with sophomore Brandon Kirsch not far behind.

    Three weeks later, both quarterbacks have improved, but not much has changed.

    "In our opinion right now, Kyle Orton is clearly the No. 1 guy, but Brandon has had an improved spring," head coach Joe Tiller said."


    Redshirt may benefit safety hopeful

    Huddleston's spring improvement not enough to unseat senior-to-be

    By Beth Hlavek, Journal and Courier

    It's looking more and more like the only real job opening for a starting position on the Purdue defense won't be filled until the Boilermakers return for preseason camp in August.

    The defense lost only two seniors from last year's starting lineup, outside linebacker Joe Odom and strong safety Ralph Turner.

    Gilbert Gardner, a former starter at linebacker who returned last year from a broken leg, is slated to step in at Odom's spot.

    "Right now, (senior Deaunte) Ferrell's taking all the snaps, so we'll see," Purdue coach Joe Tiller said after Monday's practice. "The guy we needed to have in there hasn't been in there, and that's (redshirt freshman John) Lampert."


    Boilers respond to Tiller's challenge

    By Tom Kubat, Journal and Courier

    "Purdue coach Joe Tiller said the football team's closed scrimmage Saturday at West Lafayette's Leslie Field was a mixed bag, which was good since both the offense and the defense had their moments.

    "I thought our offense did a good job of exploiting some of their man coverage today and scoring on some big plays," Tiller said. "Otherwise, the defense did a good job of getting after them and coming up with some big plays."

    Perhaps the highlight of the day was that several players that Tiller said needed to have a good scrimmage answered the bell."


    Williams seeks more prominent role in offense

    Orton believes receiver can be a big contributor

    By Tom Kubat, Journal and Courier

    "With the return of senior John Standeford and junior Taylor Stubblefield, the Purdue football team will have two veteran, productive wide receivers this coming season.

    In fact, with Standeford catching 75 passes for 1,307 yards and Stubblefield finishing with 77 receptions for 789 yards last season, they will be the top two returning wideouts in the Big Ten Conference.

    But if the Boilermakers are to live up to high expectations and challenge for conference and national honors, they need a third and fourth receiver to step up.

    Enter Ray Williams, 6-foot-2, 190-pound sophomore from Scotch Plains, N.J."


    Boilermaker offense feasts twice

    Winning unit treated to steaks

    By Tom Kubat, Journal and Courier

    "A steak dinner, or hot dogs and beans. Maybe not as important as winning or losing against Notre Dame, but the stakes were plenty high on the practice field Wednesday for the Purdue football team.

    The practice ended with a 30-minute situational scrimmage. The winner dined on steaks at the training table afterwards. The losers ate hot dogs and beans.

    In what everyone agreed was a bit of an upset, the offense won 8-6.

    "I don't think it's about steak and beans, it's about beating the defense," quarterback Kyle Orton said. "The defense likes to talk a lot. They know what we do, and we have to be at our best to beat them.


    Flemings suffers broken leg

    By Tom Kubat, Journal and Courier

    "Add a couple more Boilermakers to the Purdue football team's injured list.

    Sophomore Dontrey Flemings, No. 2 defensive tackle, broke a bone in his lower leg about midway through Wednesday's practice. Redshirt freshman defensive tackle Uche Nwaneri injured his left knee during a practice-ending situational scrimmage.

    "It's very similar to Rob Turner, but not as severe as Gilbert Gardner when he snapped both bones in his lower leg," coach Joe Tiller said of Flemings' injury."


    Freshman comes from family of athletes
    By Jessie Ruppel
    Staff Writer§ion=sports&storyid=NwaneriProfile

    "You can blame genetics for male pattern baldness, cancer and for getting your dadís bushy eyebrows, but you canít blame them for giving you the build of an athlete, the desire to compete and a nagging sense that youíre going to make it.

    Freshman Uche Nwaneri, one of last year's defensive tackle redshirts, was born with all three.

    Hailing from Garland, Texas, Nwaneri comes from a family of athletes.

    "I think itís in the blood ó there has to be something in the blood," said Nwaneri. "My cousin, Ike Diogu, is a starter at Arizona State in basketball and both of his brothers, Eddie and Eric, were starters at Texas and Tennessee. Our family is just rich with athletes. Thereís a lot of natural talent in the family and it just happens that itís in sports. Everyone has the natural body build so we just go for it."


    Plainfield's Grimes commits to Purdue

    By Michael Pointer
    April 20, 2003

    "Jordan Grimes' dream was to play college football at Purdue. He didn't wait long to accept when the Boilermakers coaching staff offered him a scholarship.
    The Plainfield High School lineman made an oral commitment to the Boilers on Saturday, becoming the first member of Purdue's 2004 recruiting class.

    "I've liked Purdue ever since I was a little kid," Grimes said. "I fit in perfect there. I fit in with all the guys and the work ethic everyone has up there is like mine."


    Assistant's departure irks Tiller

    By Michael Pointer
    April 23, 2003
    The original published version of this story contained an error which has been corrected.

    "WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. -- Joe Tiller understands why three former assistants resigned from his staff during the off-season.

    But he remains upset that Greg Olson left as Purdue's recruiting coordinator and tight ends coach to become quarterbacks coach for the Chicago Bears.

    "He wanted to go back into the NFL, which he originally told me he didn't want to do," said Tiller, whose once-close relationship with Olson has been strained.


    Purdue changes staff but keeps philosophy
    Tiller adds 4 experienced coaches
    By Michael Pointer

    April 23, 2003
    WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. -- Bill Legg and the three other new members of the Purdue football staff are accustomed to making decisions.

    But when they joined the Boilermakers, coach Joe Tiller didn't need to put a "Check your egos at the door" sign in their office, Legg said.

    "We're not coming in to reinvent the wheel," said Legg, a former West Virginia offensive coordinator who is Purdue's offensive line coach.


    Deane voted MVP again

    By Jeff Washburn, Journal and Courier

    "Ever the basketball philosopher, Purdue senior Willie Deane chose to discuss a bigger picture Tuesday night after being selected the Boilermakers' Most Valuable Player.

    Deane, a first-team All-Big Ten Conference selection who averaged 17.8 points and 5.1 rebounds, smiled as he talked about his role in Purdue's 19-11 record and first NCAA tournament appearance in three years.

    Along with fellow senior Darmetreis Kilgore, Deane was the leader of a turnaround from a 13-18 record in 2001-02.

    "That's definitely the milestone that I will take with me," Deane said of this season's restoration project. "I was just happy to be a part of that. Everything that was within my power to change, I did.


    Future excites Keady

    Coach says Big Ten title a realistic goal

    By Jeff Washburn, Journal and Courier

    "More often than not, the next several days after a basketball team is eliminated from the NCAA tournament are difficult ones.

    Coaches and players "What if?" themselves. Seniors realize they've worn the uniform for the final time. Fans sometimes lack diplomacy, frustrated that they've lost workplace bragging rights.

    But as Purdue's Gene Keady reflected Tuesday in his Mackey Arena office, the dean of Big Ten Conference coaches was upbeat, discussing the 2002-03 season and looking ahead to 2003-04."


    Purdue team fails to reach former glory
    by Doug Elish§ion=sports&storyid=bballcolumn

    "For a team that was predicted to finish eighth in the conference, the men's basketball team didn't perform poorly, but don't say Purdue is back. In the second round of the NCAA tournament, the Boilermakers put up a fight against a Texas team that was supposed to cruise past Purdue. Two days before, the Boilers crushed an LSU team that was a trendy pick for the Elite Eight or better.

    But fans shouldn't be satisfied yet."


    Pieces in place for sweet 2003-04 run

    By Jeff Washburn, Journal and Courier

    "It has been six years now, but I remember the taste of the cake Gene Keady was offering to those who visited his office two days after Purdue lost to No. 1 seed Kansas in the NCAA tournament.

    A fan ordered a sheet cake -- chocolate with white icing -- and had it delivered to the basketball office as a way of saying "Thanks."

    As much as Keady attempted to guard his enthusiasm, he couldn't contain his anticipation for those who would return for 1997-98."


    Youthful confidence needs better support from big men

    By Jeff Washburn, Journal and Courier

    Melvin Buckley isn't promising 20 points a game, but the Purdue freshman is confident his NCAA performance against Louisiana State is a snapshot of what Boilermaker basketball fans should see in 2003-04.

    "We have a lot of people coming back, led by what will be a strong senior class," Buckley said Tuesday. "Our freshmen got a lot of experience this year, so we're definitely excited about next year."

    Of the 13 Boilermakers who saw action this season, 11 will return, including six who will have senior athletic eligibility.


    Purdue's Lowe scheduled for surgery

    By Michael Pointer
    March 27, 2003
    "Shoulder surgery is fast becoming as common for Kenneth Lowe as a trip to the mall.

    The Purdue guard and the Big Ten's Defensive Player of the Year, will undergo surgery on his left shoulder on April 15 at Methodist Sports Center. Lowe twice has undergone surgery on his right shoulder, one of which forced him to miss the 2001-02 season.

    "After evaluating him following the NCAA tournament, it was evident that the risk of another dislocation was pretty high,'' Purdue trainer Larry Leverenz said. "The operation should give him a better chance of getting through his senior season without any problems.'


    Purdue fans' site calls a technical on outrageous Big Ten referees

    By Ken Thompson, Journal and Courier

    "Big Ten men's basketball officiating was aggravating to watch this season from a coaching, player and fan point of view.

    But that's old news to brothers John and Tom Rice, who are in charge of the Hoop Refs page at Since the 1995-96 season, the Rice brothers have charted how the Boilermakers have fared with each of the Big Ten officials.

    Even though a picture of Johnnie Cochran greets viewers on the home page, this is no ordinary fan rant toward the men in striped shirts."

As news organizations move their stories to an archive, some of the links listed above may become inactive

OGFP_Staff -Career Blocked Shots Rankings
Bob_Richards -Women's Recruiting Update: Liza Clemons No. 1
Steve -Opponent #11: University of Wisconsin
MDC -NCAA: (5 seed) Purdue 76 - (4 seed) Washington 74
Capri_Small -Purdue 76, Western Illinois 44
Jimmy_D - Gazing into the Crystal Bubble, Part III: SEC / Big Ten / PAC 10
Brad_Jewell -Introducing Purdue Sports News via Facebook
Bob_Sienicki -Nike Camp: Elena Delle Donne Interview
Bob_Sternvogel -Nike Camp Report #1 (Sparks and Monarchs)
Guest_Columnist -Gazing into the Crystal Bubble, Part III: The SEC/Big Ten/PAC 10
Others -Purdue Sports Info
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