While Brian Kelly doesn’t address the media until tomorrow, the two-deep depth chart for Purdue has been released.
Here’s the depth-chart on offense (returning starters in CAPS):
WR 7 TJ Jones 5-11 187 Fr.
18 DUVAL KAMARA 6-4 225 Sr.
WR 6 Theo Riddick 5-11 198 So.
19 Robby Toma 5-9 175 So.
LT 70 Zack Martin 6-4 290 So.
77 Matt Romine 6-5 292 Sr.
LG 59 CHRIS STEWART 6-5 351 Sr.
66 Chris Watt 6-3 310 So.
C 52 Braxston Cave 6-3 301 Jr.
51 Dan Wenger 6-4 298 Sr.
RG 78 Trevor Robinson 6-5 295 Jr.
57 Mike Golic Jr. 6-3 290 Jr.
RT 75 Taylor Dever 6-5 297 Sr.
76 Andrew Nuss 6-5 297 Sr.
TE 9 Kyle Rudolph 6-6 265 Jr.
80 Tyler Eifert 6-6 242 So.
WR 3 Michael Floyd 6-3 227 Jr.
81 John Goodman 6-3 207 Jr.
QB 10 Dayne Crist 6-4 235 Jr.
13 Tommy Rees 6-2 210 Fr.
RB 5 Armando Allen Jr. 5-10 205 Sr.
20 Cierre Wood 6-0 210 So.
Some quick observations:
* TJ Jones beat out Duval Kamara for the outside spot opposite Michael Floyd. Obviously, Kamara is still going to see the field, but this is impressive work by Jones, who obviously has done nothing but wow people since arriving on campus.
* It’s also a surprise to see Robby Toma’s name in the two-deep. Many were shocked when Toma worked his way into the rotation last season, and he’s done the same thing this season, continuing to outwork and out-perform some highly touted recruits.
* The battle for the back-up quarterback seems to have gone to Tommy Rees, who is listed behind Dayne Crist. Kelly’s been complimentary about Rees’ work, so this isn’t exactly a surprise, but I think this could be a week-to-week thing.
* Braxston Cave gets the nod at center, which Dan Wenger conceded last week when discussing his set back with a concussion. This is another job that I think still has a few twists and turns, and if Cave can’t master the mental demands of the position, expect to see Wenger on the field quickly.
* No Shaq Evans on the depth chart. There have been whispers that he’s frustrated, but he’ll have plenty of opportunities to find his way onto the field against Purdue in multi-wide packages. We’ll see what kind of football player Shaq is by how he deals with this.
Defense Depth Chart:
DE 90 Ethan Johnson 6-4 285 Jr.
94 Hafis Williams 6-1 285 Jr.
NG 95 IAN WILLIAMS 6-2 305 Sr.
98 Sean Cwynar 6-4 280 Jr.
DE 89 Kapron Lewis-Moore 6-4 283 Jr.
91 Emeka Nwankwo 6-4 290 Sr.
OLB 45 Darius Fleming 6-2 247 Jr.
55 Prince Shembo 6-2 243 Fr.
ILB 44 Carlo Calabrese 6-1 240 So.
54 Anthony McDonald 6-2 238 Jr.
ILB 5 Manti Te’o 6-2 245 So.
13 Danny Spond 6-2 225 Fr.
OLB 56 Kerry Neal 6-2 245 Sr.
58 BRIAN SMITH 6-3 243 Sr.
CB 2 Darrin Walls 6-0 190 Sr.
23 Lo Wood 5-10 178 Fr.
S 22 HARRISON SMITH 6-2 214 Sr.
15 Dan McCarthy 6-2 205 Jr.
S 26 Jamoris Slaughter 6-0 195 Jr.
17 Zeke Motta 6-2 210 So.
CB 4 Gary Gray 5-11 190 Sr.
12 Robert Blanton 6-1 192 Jr.
Some defensive observations:
* I’m not sure if it’s because of injuries, but Danny Spond’s name on the two-deep at inside linebacker is eye-popping. Here’s a 225-pound, true freshman that was a high school quarterback on the depth chart at the Mike ‘backer position. Brian Kelly called Spond a dynamic player, but this is pretty amazing.
* Another freshman finding his way into the two-deep is Prince Shembo. It’s interesting that both Shembo and Spond are backing up two of the defensive cornerstones, but it still means that both of these guys will be ready to play from day one.
* Kerry Neal has the starting spot ahead of incumbent Brian Smith, something that still surprises me, even though Kelly has been mentioning Neal’s name for the past week or two. I’ve got a feeling that Smith, Neal, and Steve Filer will be seeing plenty of the field this weekend.
* Carlo Calabrese is the starting inside ‘backer opposite Manti Te’o, and Anthony McDonald is on the depth chart as well, meaning he’s at least questionable for the game this Saturday. We’ll likely hear more about the injuries to both McDonald and Steve Paskorz, but if you’re looking for a position thin on depth, middle linebacker is one of them for sure.
* No real surprises in the secondary, but I’m interested to see how the DBs come out and play after the mediocre season they had last year. If there’s a position coach that I’m confident in, it’s Chuck Martin, and we’ll see if he earns his keep come Saturday.