2013 College Football Preview: Purdue Boilermakers (VIDEOS)

By Dean Pantazi - 21Alive
By Tommy Schoegler - 21Alive
By Eric Dutkiewicz - 21Alive

August 29, 2013 Updated Aug 29, 2013 at 11:18 AM EDT

WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. (21Alive) - A proverbial new era has once again started again with the Purdue football program.

Despite a bowl appearance, the Boilermakers fired Danny Hope as head coach, replacing him with Darrell Hazell.

Hazell comes from Kent State, a MAC Championship team who earned a BCS bid in 2012. He now tries to bring a Purdue team back from the bottom half of the Big Ten Conference of recent years.

"We had a lot of installation the first eight or nine practices," Hazell says. To capture it even better, you got to be able to execute defensively. We have to understand, we got to run to the ball every play. If we do that, we create turnovers, and good things will happen."

Injuries have plagued the Boilers the past few seasons. As a result, a wide array of the roster has seen on-field action.

Competition in practice has been fierce, too. Fifth-year senior quarterback Rob Henry beat out freshman Danny Etling and redshirt freshman Austin Appleby for the starting job. Henry will be joined by running back Akeem Hunt and wide receiver Gary Bush to run Hazell's spread offense.

"The coaches have done a good job of pushing us to stay in our playbooks," Henry says. "It's really paying off for us. People are really starting to really play fast, because they are comfortable with our offense."

Purdue's defense stresses its line as its anchor, but has a talented secondary, namely corner back Ricardo Allen and safety Landon Feichter of Bishop Dwenger, that will see a lot of passes come their way.

"Intensity is the main one that we're fixing The defensive line is a lot more intense, and a lot more physical," defensive tackle Ryan Watson says.

"Our defensive line coach [Rubin Carter] tells us every day that you either the hammer or you're going to be the the nail," defensive end Jalani Phillips adds. "He preaches everyday that the D-line should be the hammer, and we all should be physical. We all need to play more physical."

Hazell has changed the culture in West Lafayette. Now the Boilers look to translate that in the win/loss column. Purdue opens at Cincinnati at 1 p.m. Saturday.

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