Purdue will be without its leading tackler from 2012 when the Boilermakers go up against No. 21 Notre Dame on Saturday in West Lafayette.
Coach Darrell Hazell told reporters Tuesday that junior safety Landon Feichter underwent surgery on a broken leg in the morning. The Bishop Dwenger graduate, who had 80 tackles and was an honorable mention All-Big Ten honoree last year, will miss six to eight weeks as he recovers.
Feichter is eligible for a medical redshirt. He was tied for fourth on the team with eight tackles this season before breaking his leg against Indiana State on Saturday.
He’s fantastic back there as a safety for us as far as getting guys lined up, Hazell said. He’s got great range – smart, heady player. So we’re going to miss him.
Sophomore defensive back Anthony Brown and redshirt freshman Evan Feichter, Landon’s brother, will step in at safety. Brown will be leaned on heavily as the Boilermakers (1-1) prepare to take on the Irish (1-1).
He’ll do a good job for us, Hazell said of Brown, who has six tackles – one for a loss – this year. He’s played quite a bit for us in our first two weeks. He’s athletic. And we need him to really step up and fill that big void there with Landon leaving.
Feichter entered the game against the Sycamores with broken bones in both hands. It’s a blow to a secondary that Feichter said had a lot of promise in the preseason.
Honestly, I think we can be contenders for the best secondary in the Big Ten, he said Aug. 4, the second day of camp in West Lafayette. We’ve got three returning starters and obviously Frankie, who played a major role last year. It would be a disappointment if we weren’t.
If the Boilermakers are going to avoid a letdown, they’ll have to do it without the 6-foot, 189-pound Feichter.
The Purdue defense has shown improvement in its first two weeks.
A unit that was second-to-last in the Big Ten and gave up 415.8 yards per game in 2012 is seventh so far this season, with 360 yards given up per contest. The Boilermakers are fifth in the conference with three interceptions and second in sacks with six.
The defensive line and secondary are the strengths of the Purdue defense. One of those units – perhaps the most important one in a Big Ten full of good quarterbacks – just got thinner.
Hazell expects his veterans to carry the weight in Feichter’s absence.
If we can be in the zones and break on the ball and do a great job tackling back there, then we’ve got a chance to be pretty good, he said. There’s some skilled guys who are in our secondary right now with (senior cornerback) Ricardo Allen and (sophomore defensive back) Frankie Williams back there.
Note: Hazell said sophomore receiver Danny Anthrop has recovered ahead of schedule from a medial collateral ligament tear suffered in an Aug. 17 scrimmage, and he hopes to get Anthrop on the field Saturday.