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July 26, 2006

Training Camp Preview: The linebackers

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.

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

Though the linebacker corps may be the Boilermakers' most talented and experienced defensive group, there are still many questions to be asked. The chief among them: Who goes where? How those roles are settled will go a long way toward deciding the unit's success.

Key Players

Dan Bick: Perhaps one of the more intriguing questions heading into camp surrounds Purdue's starting middle linebacker position. Will Bick, who took over the starting job in the spring, be able to hold off George Hall, the two-year starter who's coming back from suspension? Even if Hall wins back his job, Bick is a likely opening-day starter somewhere.

Stanford Keglar: The Boilermakers have waited two years for Keglar to capitalize on his athleticism. Now, it's time for him to prove he deserves a spot in the starting lineup. If Bick moves back to the weakside, though, he could end up being the odd man out.

Cliff Avril: After two seasons jumping in and out of the starting lineup, Avril should have the position all to himself. He didn't have a particularly good spring, however, being limited by a back injury.

Impact Newcomers

Jason Werner: Though Werner's not a newcomer to the team, he is to the position, moving from safety during the off-season. He's probably a year away from major contributions, but has taken to the change nicely.

Kevin Green: A highly touted recruit, Green has an opportunity to make an early impact, though a redshirt year might be more likely, especially considering the Boilermakers' depth at his position.

X-Factor

George Hall: After being suspended during the spring for several off-the-field incidents, Hall has much to prove to the Boilermaker coaching staff to fall back into favor.

Best Competition: In a unit where competition will be the focus of training camp, the biggest battle will be at middle linebacker. What happens there affects everyone else.

Lowdown: With four players who have prior starting experience, the unit should be the defense's best, provided it stays healthy. That wasn't the case last season when linebackers missed a combined 11 games due to injury or suspension. The shuffling of players didn't do much for their performance on the field.

The Roster Rundown

• Cliff Avril - 6-3, 240, Jr.
• Dan Bick - 6-1, 218, Jr.
• Andy Deeds - 6-3, 221, Jr.
• Mike Durrett - 6-0, 226, Jr.
• Josh Ferguson - 6-3, 234, Jr.
• Kevin Green - 6-2, 215, Fr.
• George Hall - 6-2, 243, Sr. (5)
• John Humphrey - 6-1, 210, Fr.
• Stanford Keglar - 6-2, 240, Jr.
• John Lampert - 6-3, 219, Sr. (5)
• Jeff Lindsay - 6-4, 210, Fr.
• Al Royal - 6-0, 228, Sr. (5)
• Jason Werner - 6-4, 208, So.

Past Position Previews:
The defensive tackles
The defensive ends

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




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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