Hazell after practice

Purdue coach Darrell Hazell talks to the media after the Boilermakers' practice on Wednesday.

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Boiling Point

Defensive practice

Defensive linemen keep low during a drill at Wednesday's practice in West Lafayette.

Quarterbacks practicing

The six quarterbacks run through drills during Purdue's practice Wednesday.

Practice observations

WEST LAFAYETTE - It was around 5:30 p.m. when Purdue's first-year football coach Darrell Hazell raced to one end of the field and motioned for his team to follow him.

That's how the first practice ended - sort of.

There was the finale, when players took turns carrying a teammate piggy-back to the other end of the field. They switched places, and came back.

It was a business-like practice. The offense rushed in and out of the huddles quickly, but, as Hazell said, not as fast as he would like.

The guy seems genuine and focused. He spoke in short sentences, but to the point. And from what I gathered from the players, they like him, but they also know they can't cross him, and that he already owns their respect.

The trick is finding the kind of talent that can compete in the Big Ten. If Hazell has that already, the Boilermakers should be better than last year's 6-7 record. If not, it could be a building project.