Checking in with ... Ed Zaunbrecher, Part II
Posted by ESPN.com's Adam Rittenberg
Here's the second half of my interview with Purdue offensive coordinator Ed Zaunbrecher:
You mentioned it's not one or two receivers handling everything, but Dorien Bryant, with the number of receptions he had the last few years, really stood out. Do you expect it to be more of a shared thing this year as far as receptions?
Ed Zaunbrecher: It might shift a little bit, but the position that a guy plays in the offense is going to dictate to a certain degree how many passes get thrown in that direction. But when you look at it, even though one guy may have had a bunch of passes, typically, all five of our positions are going to be at 50 catches or more. We had two running backs sharing the position, so one guy may not have had all of the stats, but when you add the stats up, all the positions get plenty of work. It's not a single guy. Defenses have gotten such where they can take guys away and do different things like that. But if you have the balance where you can hit the other guys, then that makes it a much tougher offense to defend.
I'm sure coaches around the league are happy to see Dustin [Keller] go. Is there a guy you see stepping in there, or is it impossible to replace the matchup problems he presented?
EZ: Dustin was a guy that made a lot of plays after the catch. We'll have to see if anybody else can do things. You don't get too many guys with that type of physical ability at that position. That means we might have to complete a couple extra passes to move down the field, but we can still move it down the field. The guys we have know what they're doing and can run the routes and catch the ball. We hope we're going to continue to be very productive offensive.
With [quarterback] Curtis [Painter], you mentioned his leadership. Is his next step performing better in big games, against some of the Big Ten's best teams?
EZ: You'd like for him to play well in every game. If a team is a great defensive team, that doesn't mean just because we're in the spread offense, they won't be a great defensive team. Our guys have to get open, catch the ball and protect, and everybody else has to do their job. I think it's more the entire offense than specifically Curtis that has to do better in that type of game.
With the running backs, those two guys [Kory Sheets and Jaycen Taylor] have been competing for a while. Are you comfortable going into the season with two guys, or would you like to see one of them separate himself in camp?
EZ: I hope they both get better because they're both going to be in there. You can't play with one guy, and we don't have the 250-pound running back to just line up and carry it 40 times in a game. That's not what we do. But if we have two guys that can make plays and stay fresh, that's the ideal situation.
For Kory, the fumbling has been kind of an ongoing issue for him. Is that what's preventing him from taking the next step in his development?
EZ: It's just been in certain spots that he's done that. It's kind of come in bunches, so if we just eliminate those bunches, or minimize them, he'll be a very productive player for us.
As far as the offense line, what have you heard about those guys as far as their health? How big of a concern is that after a spring with a lot of injuries?
EZ: Those guys are working hard, and they should be back. Missing the spring doesn't help, but the experience that they have will help them catch up quicker than if they were brand-new guys coming in.
How has coach [Danny] Hope done overseeing those guys? He's gone back to being a position coach after being a head coach, and obviously he'll be a head coach again after this year.
EZ: One of the things when you're a head coach, sometimes you miss the actual hands-on coaching that you don't get to do. So it's an opportunity for him to get another dose of that. It's something that he, obviously, enjoys, just watching him work, and he does a great job at it. He's had success for many years doing it.