August 30, 2007

Opportunity knocks

Ryan Kerrigan might not see the field Saturday, but the fact that it's a possibly has the freshman eagerly anticipating his debut.

With senior Mike McDonald out because of an ankle injury, Kerrigan finds himself as a backup defensive end in Purdue's opener at Toledo, which might have seemed like an unlikely scenario when training camp began.

"I really couldn't have imagined this," said the Muncie Central graduate. "Injuries at my position have kind of forced me into that role, but I'm going to be ready when they call my name."

Kerrigan, a 6-foot-5, 240-pounder, beat out two other freshmen for the early chance at playing time, adapting more quickly to Purdue's system than either Nickcaro Golding and Gerald Gooden. Kerrigan's done so with a broken hand, suffered while engaged with an offensive lineman during practice, that he keeps wrapped up. He says it's not affecting his play.

"With Michael McDonald getting hurt so early it forced some of those freshmen in the two-deep," defensive line coach Terrell Williams said, "and Ryan's the guy who jumped in and showed the most improvement.

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