September 16, 2008

Tuesdays With Tiller; Purdue football notes

Jason Werner's back is going under the knife again.

But this is good news, Coach Joe Tiller said Tuesday, while announcing that the junior linebacker will undergo surgery this week to remove a small fragment of loose bone that's "rubbing against a nerve."

"If they remove that," Tiller said, "he could be pain-free. So we look forward to that.

"He could make a fast recovery after this."

The news on tight end Kyle Adams is equally positive, after the junior underwent minor surgery on his knee last week.

"I don't think we'll have him this week but we'll have him next week," Tiller said.

Offensive guard Jared Zwilling is expected back this weekend after an ankle injury suffered in camp sidelined him for the first two games of the season.

The junior practiced Sunday.

He was projected as a starter toward the end of camp, but now might be worked back in slowly.

"It's really hurt him," Tiller said. "If those other guys go out there a couple games then all of a sudden they've separated themselves from you or vice versa and it makes it tough. I think he's got an up-hill battle here."

Junior Eric Hedstrom has been starting at the left guard position Zwilling had been slated to occupy.

Against Oregon, senior offensive tackle Sean Sester played 20-some snaps in reserve after missing the season opener against Northern Colorado.

Tiller said he hopes Sester will play 40 or more snaps against Central Michigan Saturday.

Wanting more

Tiller said its matchup with Oregon's elite secondary will benefit his new-look corps of wide receivers.

"I think it really helped them," Tiller said. "I think it's certainly
one of the better secondaries we've ever seen. I think playing against good competition helps you elevate your own game."

The Boilermaker coach singled out Desmond Tardy as having "grown up a lot" against the Ducks.

"I think that's the first time since he's been here that he really looked comfortable to me on the field," Tiller said of the fifth-year senior. "And I just hope that'll carry over now. You know, it's really his first playing time, extended playing time.

"And I think between he and Keith Smith, we've got two very capable inside receivers. And I think we need to get the ball to them even more."

The coach, though, is waiting for touted junior college transfer Aaron Valentin to announce his presence.

"I think he has way too much talent," Tiller said, "for the amount of productivity we're getting out of him right now."

Valentin has not yet caught a pass.

More to worry about

Whether Justin Siller will take another snap at quarterback this season remains to be seen.

But like with any trick, Tiller knows opponents now at least have one more thing to worry about after Purdue used the redshirt freshman QB-turned-running back for a handful of snaps under center Saturday.

"We may or may not do that again the rest of the year, but teams have to practice it now," Tiller said. "Oftentimes, it's a little chess game that you play.

"And sometimes some of the things that you do, you do simply because it forces your opponent to spend more time from a preparation point of view. Then they might get away from defending some of the basic things that you really are going to lead with in a game."

More

Tiller on ...

Kory Sheets' 180-yard game against Oregon: "I think what's different about Kory now is that he's maturing. And I think with the advent of Jaycen Taylor being injured, I think he's playing with a greater sense of urgency today than he ever has since he's been at Purdue. And I think you combine that sense of urgency with maturity and you get the type of performance we saw Saturday."

His team's offense vs. Oregon: "I thought the offense didn't play as well as they will play as they move along."

The offensive line's improvement from Week 1 to Week 2: "I made the comment to Coach (Danny) Hope, 'By the time we get to the Big Ten play, we've got a chance to have a pretty effective offensive line."




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