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Boiling Point

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Football: Spring game notebook

Quarterbacks credit new position coach

Freshman quarterback Danny Etling learned plenty this spring, his first with Purdue.

He knows he has plenty left to learn, as well. And he's very excited to do so.

Especially with Boilermakers' quarterbacks coach John Shoop helping him along the way.

"It's been a pretty productive spring for me learning for me, and I hope that I can continue to grow," Etling said. "I've probably learned more this spring than in my entire life with football leading up to this point. (Head) coach (Darrell) Hazell and coach Shoop have been big with me."

Shoop, who is also Purdue's offensive coordinator, got plenty of credit from the quarterbacks Saturday after the Boilermakers' spring game. The coach has brought in a new way to work, senior Rob Henry said, and his methods have spurred improvement up and down the depth chart.

"We're all learning right now, and I think we're getting better. Coach Shoop is doing a great job, no doubt about that," Henry said. "Just the overall demand, I know specifically from coach Shoop ,that was placed on the quarterbacks, was something that we all needed. It's something that really helped us progress during the practices that we had this spring."

While some struggled, the two-deep quarterbacks – Henry and Etling – performed well in the spring game despite a heavy emphasis on the run game. Henry, the No. 1 throughout the spring, went 6 for 9 for 75 yards and a touchdown. Etling was 5 for 7 and also gave up an interception.

Despite the vanilla offensive sets, execution on passing plays was impressive for the most part, Hazell said.

"I thought they did a good job taking care of the football," he said. "When you're limited the way we were, there's not a whole lot you can do, but I thought what was called was executed pretty well."

D-Line, O-Line show out in finale

The offensive and defensive lines showed out at different times throughout the spring game. By the end, it was difficult to tell which side of the trenches performed best.

The Black team offensive line set up blocks well in the run game, allowing running back Akeem Hunt to rush for 134 yards on19 carries. The Gold defensive line proved no slouch, either, with two sacks

The Black defensive front got three pass breakups, as well as an interception and a sack to edge the Gold offensive line, although the Gold squad's sack was the only tackle for loss allowed.

After the game, the skill players were quick to give credit where it was due.

"I felt like I played great, but it was because of the offensive line," Hunt said. "They had a mindset coming in the game that we was gonna rush for over 300 yards. That's what they told me, and I was right along with them."

Hazell said at the final scrimmage before the spring game that he thought the offensive line might be one of the team's best units come fall. He, too, was pleased with the competition in the trenches Saturday.

"When you mix up guys, first team and second team, you never know what you're gonna get," he said. "I thought both sides of the ball, with both squads, played pretty hard. … Nothing's set in stone. As I said earlier I think there's a long way to go, but I think we'll get there with the determination that these guys are practicing with."

A lineman learns to run

Michael Rouse III put together one of the more entertaining sequences of the game when he caught – surprisingly – an interception off a deflected pass from Austin Appleby.

We'll let him give you the play-by-play:

"When the ball popped out and I saw it, my eyes got really big. I caught it, luckily, and from there, you know, it was kind of like a blur.

"I didn't know which way to go. I just saw a crowd of people on the ground – I figured I had to jump over them. I saw some of my teammates in front of me.

"I'm like, 'Alright. I've played enough video games to know that you've got to be behind your blockers.'

"So I tried to stay behind them and tried to get into the end zone. It turned out as well as it could, so I'm happy about it."

Along with the interception, Rouse earns "Quote of the Spring" honors for his performance.

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