WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. — Purdue is just one month away from the start of the 2022 college football season, and the team kicked off fall training camp on Tuesday at the Bimel Practice Complex.
It marked the first of 18 practices throughout the month of August that will lead up to the Boilermakers' season opener against Penn State on Sept. 1 inside Ross-Ade Stadium.
Purdue coach Jeff Brohm believes the team came ready to practice for the first day of camp, but he would have liked to see a stronger finish. As the Boilermakers continue to get into the swing of practice, the intensity is poised to rise alongside the daily competition.
"I think they understand the importance of getting better every day," Brohm said. "We've got to continue to just push ourselves to get better. If I had to assess it, just like I told the team, I thought we looked pretty slow overall and lacked some finish. Now, sometimes that happens on Day 1 without pads, but we've got to make sure we're pushing ourselves to play harder, to play faster and to finish."
Here's a look at some of the topics Brohm covered following the Boilermakers' first day of fall training camp:
Purdue Football Utilizing Guardian Caps
The Purdue football players were not fitted in full pads on Tuesday, but nearly every player practicing donned an extra layer of protection over their helmets. These soft shell helmet covers known as guardian caps are being adopted by teams across all levels of play, including the NFL.
While they aren't required by the NCAA, Brohm and the Boilermakers decided to put the equipment to use after considering them over the past few years. Purdue's offensive and defensive linemen, as well as linebackers, running backs and tight ends will continue to wear them throughout training camp as a measure to help prevent potential head injuries.
"Anything that can help safety-wise take off some hits, possibly help with limiting concussions, we want to make sure we see if this can help us," Brohm said.
Transfers Kobe Lewis, Charlie Jones Finding Their Way
The Boilermakers brought in a slew of transfers on the offensive side of the ball, spearheaded by a do-it-all weapon in former Iowa receiver Tyrone Tracy. But when you look away from the hype he has generated leading up to fall camp, there are other players that are looking to find their mark for Brohm.
Redshirt junior running back Kobe Lewis — a transfer from Central Michigan — will look to compete in the backfield with King Doerue, who returns for his senior season with Purdue.
Lewis missed the entire 2021 season with the Chippewas due to an injury but registered 468 yards on the ground in just six games the year prior. As a sophomore in 2019, he rushed for 1,074 yards and scored 12 touchdowns.
"He'll push King (Doerue) there in the backfield. We just got to kind of get him up to speed on terminology and how we practice and those type of things," Brohm said. "But I think he has talent, he's played a lot of football. He did sit out last year over an injury, so he's just got to get back into flow once again."
The Boilermakers have averaged less than 100 yards per game on the ground in each of the last three seasons.
Another Iowa transfer receiver, Charlie Jones, is also in the mix early on during fall camp. Purdue's receiving corps is not at full strength, giving an opportunity for the All-Big Ten return man to make an impact on offense.
Jones has tallied 764 yards from scrimmage and six touchdowns across three seasons before landing with the Boilermakers.
"We're going to use him a lot of different ways — on the outside, on the inside, returning kicks," Brohm said. "He's got good receiving skills, he can run good routes, he understands football. He'll definitely be a big factor for us."
Quarterbacks Look Sharp
Brohm said that starting quarterback Aidan O'Connell has continued to put in the work this offseason to hopefully build off of what was a strong finish to the 2021 season. Behind O'Connell, Austin Burton is "a reliable backup" and both Michael Alaimo and Brady Allen continue to improve as well.
"I think that we're going to need them all at some point, whether it's this year or beyond," Brohm said.
Depth Along the Offensive Line
At the early stages of fall camp, Brohm feels as though the team is developing depth along the offensive line. The unit returns starters Gus Hartwig, Spencer Holstege and Eric Miller.
The goal is to be able to have eight or nine players ready to rotate in at a moment's notice, with three or four more continuing to progress throughout the season.
"They've got to do all the dirty work, they get no credit — just get a lot of blame if things don't go well," Brohm said. "But it's a good crew, led by some veterans."
Tee Denson Still Working Through Injury
Kansas State transfer cornerback Tee Denson suffered a double sports hernia that wasn't operated on until he got to Purdue. He was unable to participate with the team during the spring, but Brohm said he will work through camp in order to have a chance at being ready for the start of the season.
"He's got good size. Obviously, he needs to get in better shape because he hasn't been able to run as much, but I do think at some point he can help us," Brohm said. "Even if it's not the beginning, hopefully by mid-season for sure."
Stories Related to Purdue Football
- Purdue football announces 2022 fall camp schedule: Purdue football opens fall camp on Tuesday, Aug. 2, and will have 18 practices before its season opener against Penn State. Here's the full schedule breakdown for practices open to the media and public. CLICK HERE
- 2023 four-star QB decommits from Purdue football: Rickie Collins, a 2023 four-star quarterback out of Baton Rouge, Louisiana, announced his decision to decommit from the Purdue football program. CLICK HERE
- Purdue surpasses 36,000 season tickets sold for 2022 season: Purdue football has sold more than 36,000 season tickets before the start of the 2022 season, the most since 2008. The team opens against Penn State at Ross-Ade Stadium on Thursday, Sept. 1. CLICK HERE
Big Ten Daily
- Aug. 2: Indiana redshirt senior linebacker Aaron Casey was selected to honor George Taliaferro's legacy by wearing No. 44 for the Hoosiers during the 2022 season. Also, Ohio State Basketball will play in the 2022 Maui Invitational and Michigan football earned a four-star commitment after BBQ at the Big House event. CLICK HERE