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Purdue coach fine with bye

Danny Hope believes this week’s bye is coming at the right time for his Purdue football team.

“We had the summer workouts, we had the fall camp and then we had three weeks where our team has really put a lot into it and really gave their all,” Hope said during the Big Ten teleconference Tuesday. “We were becoming a bit of a tired football team in some way, not just physically, but mentally tired. They put in long days with school and football, it was a lot like working two full-time jobs.”

The Boilermakers are using the bye to stress fundamentals.

“We want to tackle better, we want to block better,” Hope said. “We want to get better with our offensive line, pass protection-wise. We want to get our quarterbacks back to playing on the cutting edge. We need to make some improvements in a lot of areas with our football team.”

Purdue practiced “a little bit” on Sunday and went over the game film from Saturday’s 54-16 victory over Eastern Michigan.

Some of the younger players got a little extra attention at the end of Monday’s practice. The players will have “no football responsibilities” Thursday, Friday and Saturday while the coaches are recruiting.

The team will get back together Sunday to start to prepare for the Sept. 29 home game against Marshall.

“They are a high-octane offense and hyper-speed type of offense. They average 90-something plays a game. We will take some time (this week) preparing for Marshall and their style of offense and their attack and at the same time emphasize on fundamentals,” Hope said. “I don’t want to overtrain our football team. Our practices will be brief, but intense.”

Purdue is in the top three in the Big Ten in scoring offense (third, 39.7 points per game), scoring defense (second, 14 ppg), total offense (third, 470.3 yards per game) and total defense (second, 293 ypg).

“We have greatly reduced the number of penalties,” Hope said. “We’re in the upper half statistically in most major statistical. We’ve played pretty well compared to other teams in our conference, and we have lots of rooms for improvement.”

Purdue has turned the ball over nine times.

“Right now we have to do a much better job in ball security,” Hope said. “We’ve turned the ball over several times already this year, but we’re manufacturing a lot of takeaways (8) on the defensive side. … But ball security is an issue we have to get a handle on.”

lpope@jg.net

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