April 11, 2009
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WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. - Danny Hope challenged his defense to play better Saturday than it did a week ago.
Mission accomplished. The Boilermakers scrimmaged approximately 135 plays in Ross-Ade Stadium, and the defense performed at a higher level all around.
"They got after it, were physical and were flying to the football," Hope said. "That's what we hoped they would do, and they did. They had a much better showing, and that's important for our football team."
Among the defensive highlights were two sacks by end Ryan Kerrigan and one apiece by end Gerald Gooden and tackle Kawann Short.
"We did a much better job pursuing and running to the football today," linebacker Jason Werner said. "Our tackling was better. We were more physical."
Last week the defense kept things simple, but this time around jazzed it up with more stunting and blitzing.
"They made things more difficult for us," tight end Kyle Adams said. "It was a more balanced scrimmage today. But I thought as an offense, we played well, too."
Adams scored one of four touchdowns, a gorgeous 19-yard pass from Joey Elliott. Other touchdowns were scored by Ralph Bolden (1-yard run), Aaron Valentin (14-yard pass from Elliott) and Crosby Wright (35-yard pass from Chris Bennett).
Elliott completed 13 of 27 passes for 129 yards. Caleb TerBush
saw action with both the first- and second-team units and was 15 of 30 passing for 106 yards.
"We are much further along throwing and catching the football than I thought we would be at this point," Hope said. "We still have a ways to go, but we're making good progress. Joey has had a good spring, and Caleb is an important player for us. We want there to be competition at all positions, including quarterback."
Jeff Lindsay and Keith Smith both caught five passes, while Adams and Valentin had four apiece. Bolden rushed for 61 yards on 22 carries.
Carson Wiggs converted a pair of field goals, from 36 and 50 yards.
Hope continues to be pleased with his squad's toughness.
"We are developing into a physical football team," the first-year head coach said. "I really like what I have seen all spring from a toughness standpoint. There has been a lot of crisp hitting."
The Boilermakers have three spring practices remaining - next Monday, Wednesday and Friday - before the annual Black & Gold Game on Saturday, April 18, at 1 p.m.