July 27, 2006

Training Camp Preview: The safeties

Today, GoldandBlack.com continues its in-depth, position-by-position look at the 2006 Boilermaker football team heading into training camp. The Boilers are scheduled to report to campus for preseason practice on Aug. 6.

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When Torri Williams went down with a broken leg in the spring of 2005, no one could have predicted the impact it would have on the following season. Then, when other injuries hit the safeties during the season, the Boilermakers had virtually nowhere to turn for help. Needless to say, upgrading at safety was one of Purdue's biggest off-season priorities.

Key Player

Torri Williams: There's probably no proper way to express the importance of Williams' return to the Boilermaker lineup. After missing last season with a pair of injuries, Williams is the main player in Purdue's effort to rebuild the secondary.

Impact Newcomers

Justin Scott: The Purdue coaching staff was ecstatic when Scott, its apparent No. 1 safety target during the recruiting season, signed in February. The JUCO transfer did so knowing he'd get an immediate shot at playing time, if not a starting job. Scott is said to be an excellent athlete and fierce hitter.

Brandon Blackmon: Still a relative newcomer to the secondary, the JUCO transfer was shifted from cornerback to safety in the spring. But it was a somewhat bumpy transition. He's done well in the weight room, however, adding much needed pounds since his arrival.

Best Competition: Almost by default, Blackmon exited spring practice as Boilermakers' No. 1 free safety, but he'll likely be pushed immediately by Scott during training camp. For the Boilermakers to have any chance at improving in the secondary for '06, this position needs to be solidified.

Lowdown: Assuming Williams stays healthy for the entire season and Scott lives up to his pre-season billing, then the Boilermakers should be set at safety. Of course, if injuries again bite the Boilers, Purdue's lack of depth at the position would once again come into full view.

The Roster Rundown

• Brandon Blackmon - 6-0, 194, Jr.
• Brandon Erwin - 6-2, 180, Fr.
• Pat Kohtz - 6-1, 211, Sr. (5)
• Paul Long - 6-2, 194, Jr.
• Justin Scott - 6-0, 200, Jr.
• Torri Williams - 6-2, 204, So.
• Adam Wolf - 5-11, 201, R-Fr.
• Pete Zavagnin - 6-1, 203, R-Fr.

Previous Position Previews:
The linebackers
The defensive tackles
The defensive ends

For the best preseason Purdue football coverage available anywhere, sign up for GoldandBlack.com's Ultimate Ticket .




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