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September 2, 2010At Purdue, Lou Anarumo's been asked on several occasions now to get young or new players ready to go in a short period of time.
But this preseason might have been his tallest order yet, as the Boilermaker secondary coach welcomed four true freshmen and two junior college transfers into a corps of defensive backs that lost all its starters from last year and returns very little playing experience.
Wednesday, GoldandBlack.com caught up with Anarumo to see how it went.
GoldandBlack.com: Of all the positions on your team, you might have had the most teaching to do this preseason because of your lack of experience in the secondary. You feel OK going into this weekend?
Anarumo: "The guys did a great job this summer and it carried over into the preseason and this week of preparation's been really good. They'll just go out there and play fast and use the techniques we've taught them and they'll be fine."
GoldandBlack.com: So was your first day of practice like, "This is a football ...
Anarumo: "Again, thank God so many of them were here this summer. We don't get to be with them at all, but they get to watch video and do things like that. They did a great learning some basics and some fundamentals through the summer on their own. As we got them here (in practice), we were able to jump right into with a running start."
GoldandBlack.com: Are you going to be kind of nervous this weekend, like you're dropping your kids off at school for the first time?
Anarumo: "The good news is I've been through this a couple times. I'll be anxious to go see them play. I'm confident they know what to do and they feel good about themselves. Whatever happens happens, but I know going in that they're prepared, they're confident and they're looking forward to the challenge."
GoldandBlack.com: We've heard stories about Ricardo Allen's obsessive work ethic.
Anarumo: "He's a gym rat, the old gym rat. He's always talking and wanting to learn football, a football junkie. He has a great football IQ for a freshman. He's well beyond his years. He's like a sophomore or junior with his football IQ."
GoldandBlack.com: Sounds like Max Charlot is going to be in position to help you at safety. How's he done?
Anarumo: "He moves well and he's smooth and athletic. He started as a true freshman out there at Fullerton (Community College in California), the same J.C. as Dwight Mclean. I like how he moves and he's a tough kid and he's picked up things great so far, so we'll see."
GoldandBlack.com: Keith Smith keeps talking up the camp Charlton Williams had. Would you concur?
Anarumo: "Yeah, absolutely. Charlton's been here three years now, so I'd expect that from him. He's a big guy with some athleticism, and it's his time to shine. He's had a good camp."
GoldandBlack.com: Was it more a matter of his improvement or simply the opportunity finally coming along?
Anarumo: "He's improved, but we lost those four guys. It's both. It's his turn."
GoldandBlack.com: Have Albert Evans and Williams taken leadership roles as your two most experienced guys?
Anarumo: "Albert did for sure and Charlton certainly helped along the way. But Albert really took the bull by the horns and led them along the way, which was good to see."
GoldandBlack.com: Mike Eargle isn't necessarily new since he was here in the spring, but can he step right in and help?
Anarumo: "He's steadily improved each day and he brings a ton of athleticism. He can really jump. He plays with a lot of confidence. He's an older kid so he's been through it a little bit already."
GoldandBlack.com: Right now, does it look like Ricardo will be the only true freshman who'll play Saturday or might someone else sneak in there?
Anarumo: "It's still kind of up in the air a little bit, but Ricardo will be out there playing, that's for sure. As for the other guys, I'm not too sure yet."
GoldandBlack.com: What is it about Logan Link that's put him in position to maybe be a starter?
Anarumo: "First of all, he's changed his body. He was in the 220s and now all of a sudden he's in the low 200s. He's dropped a lot of weight and it's made him a faster, more agile athlete. He's got a great motor and he never stops running to the football. And he's a smart kid who picks things up quick. All that stuff has allowed him to be in the mix to play."
GoldandBlack.com: Have you been able to simulate Michael Floyd and Kyle Rudolph in practice while preparing for Notre Dame?
Anarumo: "It's like when you play any great player, you try to get the best guys who can match up physically and athletically, but you can never really simulate what you're going to see on Saturday.
"You've got the big, tall guy in Floyd and the bigger, taller, faster guy in Rudolph. We try to do the best we can just in making our guys aware of where they are at all times."
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