Big Ten: Ken Plus

Opening camp: Purdue

August, 6, 2010
8/06/10
2:00
PM ET
Schedule: Purdue will hit the field for its first practice at 4:25 p.m. ET Saturday.

What's new: The Robert Marve era is under way, as the Miami transfer enters camp as Purdue's clear-cut starting quarterback. Marve has done everything right off the field, and after admittedly being concerned about his surgically repaired knee this spring, he should be able to push himself in camp. Purdue made an important staff change during the offseason, as former assistant Gary Emanuel returns as co-defensive coordinator/defensive line coach. Emanuel will play a big role in trying to boost the Big Ten's worst rushing defense. The Boilers also have a completely new-look secondary as all four starters depart.

Sidelined: Starting running back Ralph Bolden is out indefinitely following ACL surgery in early May. Head coach Danny Hope hasn't ruled out Bolden's return this season, but this is Bolden's second ACL injury in the past five years. Also, defensive tackle Kevin Pamphile, a projected starter after the spring, will be out until October after surgery to help a stress fracture in his foot.

Key battle: The secondary and the offensive line are the two position groups to watch this month. Safety Albert Evans is Purdue's lone returning defensive back with legit game experience, so there will be major competition at both cornerback spots and one safety spot. Purdue has two returning starters along the offensive line in left tackle Dennis Kelly and right guard Ken Plue, but the other three spots are wide open. Keep an eye on junior Nick Mondek, who tops the preseason depth chart at right tackle despite only switching from defensive tackle this spring.

New on the scene: Defensive tackle Bruce Gaston has impressed the coaches with his speed and will compete to fill Pamphile's starting spot during his recovery. Also keep an eye on two high school teammates from Florida -- wide receiver O.J. Ross and defensive back Ricardo Allen -- who could see the field early.

Back in the fold: After a year-long suspension from school, Justin Siller is back with the team and poised to make a big difference this fall. Michigan fans certainly will remember Siller, who started three games at quarterback in 2008 and also played some running back. He's listed as a wide receiver and could be a dangerous No. 2 option behind All-Big Ten selection Keith Smith. Purdue will find a way to get the ball in Siller's hands.

Breaking out: Al-Terek McBurse was a heralded recruit who took a little longer to make an impact last fall because of some initial eligibility issues. McBurse will get the first shot at running back after showing impressive burst on kickoff returns in 2009, averaging 24.6 yards per runback with a touchdown. Everyone knows about defensive end Ryan Kerrigan, but keep an eye on Purdue's other D-linemen, namely Gerald Gooden and Kawann Short.

Quotable: "When he came to Purdue, it was as a transfer from Miami, and a lot of things [were] written about him, a lot of controversy. He's done a great job fitting in. The team has embraced him. His teammates love him. Exceptional player and exceptional athlete and great teammate. We like everything about Robert Marve, and we certainly think he has the potential and talent for us to win on Saturday." -- Purdue head coach Danny Hope

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