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August 15, 2006

Tuesday scrimmage report

Purdue conducted its second training camp scrimmage Tuesday afternoon, with the defense(s) winning 11 out of 18 series out of a pair of situations.

"It was competitive," Coach Joe Tiller said, "and that's what I liked."

Tiller and Co. put their team in two scenarios: Goal line, with the offensive coming off its 3 needing two first downs; and red zone, with the offense starting at the opponent's 25 needing to score a touchdown.

In goal-line scrimmage work, the defense won five of seven.

On the first-team series that opened the drill, the starting offense got into third-and-five at the 8, when QB Curtis Painter hit Kory Sheets in the flat.

Sheets, though, was met right at the sticks by the defense and forced to reverse field, retreating in hopes of turning the opposite corner. But the defense had none of it, swarming to Sheets, who was ultimately cut down by Torri Williams and Josh Ferguson for a big loss.

The 2s then came up and went three-and-out, with Jeff Benjamin and Nick Cavallo chipping in on a sack of Joey Elliott.

The third team then came up under the direction of freshman Keith Smith, one of the pleasant surprises of camp to date.

Coming off a Sunday scrimmage performance in which he directed two touchdown drives in as many series, Smith once again impressed.

With the third team, Smith engineered a win, though it was Dario Camacho that did most of the work, carrying four times for 20 yards, before Smith kept the ball on third-and-one to notch the victory.

That brought the starters back out, and after two carries by Jaycen Taylor of seven and four yards, respectively, Painter hit Selwyn Lymon on a screen for one yard, before Taylor got five more.

Facing third-and-four, Painter hit Dorien Bryant for a substantial gain and a win for the offense.

But the defense quickly reclaimed control with three consecutive wins.

Elliott came back out with the second team (though personnel was mixed and matched), but after he hit Desmond Tardy for 11 yards, running back Dray Mason was stuffed by linebacker George Hall and corner Fabian Martin for a six-yard loss, essentially stalling the drive.

The starters were then sent off the field by defensive tackle Ryan Baker, who recovered a Sheets fumble, which came off a bobbled pitch.

A three-and-out from the Elliott-guided second team closed the drill with the defense winning five of seven in a situation very much favorable for the D.

The scrimmage moved on then to a situation more favorable to the offense - red zone - and it took advantage, winning five of nine.

Starting at the near 25, the starters got going with Painter hitting Bryant for 18 yards, then finding Lymon for a six-yard TD pass.

On the scoring play, Painter faked a handoff, then found Lymon, who cut across the field in the end zone in front of cornerback Aaron Lane, who could do little to stop the 6-foot-5, 210-pounder as he jumped gingerly to easily grab the pass with two hands.

After a bad snap from center was ruled a turnover against Elliott and Co., the second-team offense went three-and-out, with Jared Zwilling nearly intercepting an Elliott screen pass that hit the defensive tackle in the chest.

Frank Halliburton put the offense back in control on the next series.

With the third-team offense, the redshirt freshman fullback carried for five yards on his first carry before breaking free for a 20-yard score on his second.

With the competition knotted at 2-2, Taylor made it 3-2 offense, breaking off a 25-yard scoring run on the first play for the first-team offense. He'd flip-flopped with Sheets, who'd later take the field with the second team.

After the one-play drive, the coaches ordered the ones back on the field. And the defense responded.

Stanford Keglar nearly picked off Painter on first down and Dan Bick sacked him on third to generate a three-and-out.

Tied 3-3, Smith assumed the reins of the second-team offense, and thanks in large part to a 16-yard pass to freshman tight end Kyle Adams, he got the offense down to the 1.

Like Smith, Adams has been a very pleasant surprise for Purdue thus far, after he hardly ever caught the ball at Austin Westlake, in Texas, where his high school ran the ball almost exclusively.

"I would say that it's fair to say that now after a week of (practice)," Tiller said, "that the guy who's better than we'd thought he'd be is that rascal. He's caught the ball well.

"You know, that's one of the problems with evaluating high school players, when you get a guy in a system where they don't throw the ball much. You see him catch about six balls," - Adams caught 17 passes passes total his final two seasons at Westlake - "and you think he can catch, but you really don't know. Then you get them out here and throw it to them a lot and sometimes you throw them 30 and they catch six. Or you throw them 30 and they catch 26. He's caught the 26."

But three straight stuffed running plays later, the defense had tallied a dramatic goal-line stand and taken a 4-3 lead.

The offense would win going away, however.

After two completions to Greg Orton and a five-yard run by Camacho, Painter guided the ones to a win by hitting Anthony Heygood for a seven-yard touchdown.

Finally, the drill ended with Smith - again with the second string - hitting Adams for 20 yards, then rolling out and finding Tardy for a five-yard TD, capping a two-play drive.

In two scrimmages, Smith has led his group to touchdowns on three of four drives, with the lone failure stalling out at the 1.

"Really, we recruited Keith because of his athleticism," Tiller said. "… We figured he'd be raw, but he was a very good athlete, and he demonstrates that. If there's a surprise, and I'm not saying there is, it's that he's a better thrower than we thought he'd be, and that's encouraging.

"He can create with the ball, and that's always good."




Copyright, Boilers, Inc. 2006. 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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