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September 12, 2007

Purdue Weekly Review

Throughout football season, GoldandBlack.com take a weekly review of Boilermaker football in its Weekly Purdue Review.

Today, we take a look at things coming out of the Boilermakers' 52-6 Week 2 win against Eastern Illinois, in advance of their home contest against Central Michigan in Ross-Ade Stadium at noon Saturday.

Who's hot

Curtis Painter: A 10:0 touchdown-to-interception ratio to start the season has been a veritable best-case scenario. Now, the hope is that Painter's consistency doesn't waver as the level of competition spikes.

Greg Orton: Now more consistent and more physical, the junior receiver has been Purdue's foremost deep threat, scoring on 34- and 20-yard down-the-sideline throws, with both coming against close press coverage to start and with defenders on his hip to finish.

He's now scored in six consecutive games.

The story around Orton thus far has been his demeanor, it's said.

"From the spring to now," Orton said, "I've just tried to carry myself like a professional in everything I do, and I've really looked at it like a job. I've tried to tried to get better and do my best to be the best I can be."

Jake Standeford: It was an abnormal number of interview requests for Standeford this week, as the senior's not only become a reliable receiving option, but has continued to be a fine blocker.

"He just does good things when you're not expecting them coming," Orton said. "He's just a hustler."

Not that kind of "hustler," mind you.

Dustin Keller: Is there are more dangerous tight end in the country running after the catch?

Anthony Heygood: Heygood's 2-for-2 now on leading the team in tackles, having now registered 18 through two games, with three for loss.

Not a bad start for a guy who's now played in all of two games at the position.

"He goes sideline to sideline," defensive end Cliff Avril said, "and he's pretty much in on every play."

Ryan Kerrigan: He's playing in a reserve role, much of his playing time coming in second halves of blowouts, but it seems like whenever you focus in on the freshman defensive end, he's doing something.

Keyon Brown: Just as he was apparently emerging into a real player, the sophomore D-end went down with a sprained ankle.

Before getting hurt, though, Brown was really coming on, Coach Joe Tiller said.

"I'd say he's the most surprising player this early in the season," Tiller said. "We thought he'd help us this year in a reserve role, because you have to remember he missed all of spring (with an injury to his other ankle). We really didn't have an idea of how he was going to do until fall camp came around, and he had a good camp. … He's an improving player."

What's not-so-hot

Punter Jared Armstrong may be "pressing," Tiller said.

The senior is averaging 38.3 yards per boot, down from 43.1 a year ago. Though that drop-off may not sound dramatic, it's been clear the kicker hasn't been hitting the ball as well as he'd like.

"He's pretty hard on himself. As far as a kicker is concerned, he has about as good a work ethic as I've ever been around," Tiller said. "He punted and worked extremely hard this summer. You know how we all visualize, fantasize or whatever about things being a storybook year and I think he may have had that in mind. It hasn't gone that way for him the first couple games, but it certainly isn't for lack of preparation or lack of work getting ready. He'll relax and things will start clicking for him."

Tiller has also been displeased with his team's placement on its kickoffs. He said that a couple new players will be worked into coverage.

Don't just catch the ball

Purdue's wide receivers - not just Standeford - have been doing a virtually exemplary job blocking this year, downfield and on the boundary.

"It's like Coach (Bill) Legg told us," Orton said, "that even when we're not open, we can do a lot from a receivers standpoint to make big plays happen for anybody."

Orton also credited receivers coach Brian Rock for finding ways to make sure the message is getting across.

Opening things up

Much was made in the preseason of the NCAA's moving of kickoffs back from the 35 to the 30-yard line, the thinking being that the extra five yards would make for fewer touchbacks and more opportunities for big returns.

The results for Purdue thus far: The Boilermakers are averaging a swollen 38.4 yards, more than double their average of 18.7 last year. And Dorien Bryant scored a 91-yard TD at Toledo.

"People are starting (drives) at like the 30, 35, 40," Bryant said. "It creates more opportunity."

As a result, teams, Purdue included, have resorted to more strategic kicking, relying as much on placement as trying to kick into the end zone.

"It's making special teams even more valuable in a game," Bryant said.

Spreading it around

Purdue completed passes to 12 receivers against Eastern Illinois, a Tiller Era record for a game.

Orton said it's further proof that the Boilermakers have a lot of offensive weapons.

"It's like pick your poison," he said.

It should be noted, though, that the one-sided nature of Purdue's first two games created opportunities for some who may not have had such chances in a more competitive game.

A minor personnel note

Tiller said that senior starting cornerback Terrell Vinson is now Purdue's nickel back.

So when Purdue goes into a five- or six-DB set, Vinson moves from his corner spot to the nickel role, with David Pender coming in for him at cornerback.

For the best Purdue team and recruiting coverage out there, click here.

Copyright, Boilers, Inc. 2007. All Rights Reserved. Reproducing or using editorial or graphical content, in whole or in part, without permission, is strictly prohibited. E-mail GoldandBlack.com/Boilers, Inc.

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