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Toledo coach talks Purdue

Toledo's coaching staff popped in the tape from last year's season opener against Purdue on Monday.

And quickly stopped it.

Watching the Rockets allow 535 yards of offense in a 52-31 loss wasn't a pleasing sight.

"It was not what we wanted to see a Toledo Rocket football team look like," coach Tim Beckman said on the Mid-American Conference teleconference on Monday.

Both teams have some changes to their lineup since last season's matchup, namely new quarterbacks.

One thing that hasn't changed: Toledo must deal with defensive end Ryan Kerrigan again.

Kerrigan had seven tackles in the last meeting and has 8.5 tackles for a loss and three sacks already this season.

"I think he's an exceptional player," Beckman said. "I've been blessed to be coaching on a couple teams that have had great, great defensive ends that are now playing in the NFL. He definitely has those capabilities. He has a great first two steps. He comes off the football and creates problems. You're going to know where he is.

"I think both defensive ends are playing extremely well. I think (Gerald) Gooden is playing good, too. Definitely one of their strengths is defense. For Kerrigan, we know we're playing against one of the best of the country."

  • Beckman said one key for his team will be limiting big plays. In last season's loss, the Rockets allowed eight plays of at least 20 yards. Ralph Bolden's 78-yard touchdown run was the longest play.
  • The Rockets have two players from Indiana: starting defensive tackle Malcolm Riley from Fort Wayne and freshman defensive lineman Elijah Jones from Indianapolis. I asked Purdue coach Danny Hope about Riley, a junior who has two sacks.

    "He and all the other guys across the front, they're quick-footed," Hope said. "They have good size. They're 6-3, 280 on the inside. Their ends are athletic. They have athletic bodies that play hard and have good get-off.

    "Their defensive front is good. They're aggressive. They move their defensive front. They slant and angle their defensive front. They're doing a very good job with that."