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PURDUE BOILERMAKERS
MALLORY RUBIN
August 16, 2011
The team may have lost its Superman, but it will need to emulate his invulnerability to avoid another season shorthanded by casualties
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August 16, 2011

Purdue Boilermakers

The team may have lost its Superman, but it will need to emulate his invulnerability to avoid another season shorthanded by casualties

QB

ROB HENRY*

ROBERT MARVE

RB

RALPH BOLDEN

AKEEM SHAVERS

WR

JUSTIN SILLER

NORMONDO HARRIS

WR

ANTAVIAN EDISON*

KURT LICHTENBERG

WR

O.J. ROSS

GARY BUSH

TE

GABE HOLMES

STERLING CARTER

LT

DENNIS KELLY*

JACK DE BOEF

LG

RICK SCHMEIG

ERIC MCDANIEL

C

PETERS DREY*

AUSTEN MORET

RG

KEN PLUE*

JAMES SHEPHERD

RT

NICK MONDEK*

TREVOR FOY

HEADING INTO 2010, PURDUE HAD TO REPLACE 21 LETTERMEN, plus a slew of projected starters who had been sidelined by injury. By comparison the six starters lost this off-season should seem like no big deal.

Except, of course, that one of those departed Boilermakers is All-America defensive end Ryan Kerrigan, the Big Ten Defensive Player of the Year and No. 16 pick in the NFL draft who in 2010 had 12½ sacks, five forced fumbles and a nation-best 26 tackles for loss.

Coach Danny Hope acknowledges that replacing the player nicknamed Superman by teammates is among the team's biggest challenges. But Hope has, well, hope. "We're not as good at defensive end because we don't have a Ryan Kerrigan, but no one else has a Ryan Kerrigan either," he says.

At least Purdue brings back more starters on defense than any of the Big Ten teams it will face this season. Hope is particularly excited about his secondary (which exceeded expectations last year thanks largely to some eye-catching play by freshman cornerback Ricardo Allen) and about the defensive tackle position, where rising star Kawann Short anchors a still developing line.

Maturity won't be a concern for an O-line with four returning starters nor for a special teams unit led by big-footed kicker Carson Wiggs and All--Big Ten honorable mention punter Cody Webster. And while the Boilermakers received a blow when the NCAA denied receiver Keith Smith a sixth year of eligibility, Antavian Edison emerged this spring as a potential game-breaking wideout. Edison and Justin Siller should form an effective one-two receiving punch and take pressure off running back Ralph Bolden, who's back after shredding his knee in the spring of 2010.

Which brings us to Purdue's non-Superman-related challenge: staying healthy. The Boilermakers hired 49ers assistant Duane Carlisle in February to overhaul strength and conditioning across the athletic department, and he wasted little time working with the snakebit football team, focusing on developing movement and agility. "[Carlisle helped] us a lot with our off-season training," says Rob Henry, one of four QBs who started last season at the injury-ravaged position. "If we can stay healthy, we're going to shock a lot of people and make some noise."

THE VITALS

COACH Danny Hope (3rd year) 9--15 (6--10 in Big Ten)

OFFENSIVE COORDINATOR Gary Nord

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