Summer checklist: Purdue Boilermakers

The dreaded middle of summer has arrived, which means spring practice is nearly three months in the rear view but the start of preseason camps nationally remains nearly a month away. This week, as we look forward to August, it’s time to identify two key ways for each Big Ten team to maximize the final weeks of this offseason. Next up is Purdue.

Get ready for a QB race: Purdue has experienced too much inconsistency and indecision at quarterback of late. It continues through the summer as junior Austin Appleby and redshirt freshman David Blough continue to contend to start in 2015. Gone is junior Danny Etling, who started in 2013 and for the first five games last season; he has transferred to LSU. Blough has already spent part of his summer doing admirable work. With August near, there’s more to be done in West Lafayette. Purdue doesn’t have the luxury, of course, of knowing its starting quarterback, so both must prepare for the top job, and teammates need to ready for a stressful opening two weeks of practice. By the third week of August, coach Darrell Hazell is expected to name a starter. It’s best if the Boilermakers aren’t starting over at that point.

Keep those running backs in shape: This is Purdue, so we’re just going to stick to the offensive side. No, actually, the defense appears in decent shape to hit the ground running next month, led by a strong group of linebackers. So to the position that perhaps shined most in the Boilers’ offense last year and must do so again without the same kind of star power -- running back. Akeem Hunt and Raheem Mostert leave large shoes to fill. Sophomores D.J. Knox and Keyante Green shared time in the spring game and performed well. Freshman Markell Jones also enjoyed a nice spring. Like last year, Purdue will look to more than one back. They are essential to removing pressure from the quarterback. In this last month of the offseason, considering their lack of experience, the backs should do anything and everything to get ready for their increased roles.