Purdue spring wrap

2009 overall record: 5-7

2009 conference record: 4-4 (T-6th)

Returning starters

Offense: 6, defense: 6, punter/kicker: 1

Top returners

RB Ralph Bolden, WR Keith Smith, TE Kyle Adams, DE Ryan Kerrigan, LB Jason Werner, DE Kawann Short, LB Joe Holland

Key losses

QB Joey Elliott, C Jared Zwilling, WR Aaron Valentin, DT Mike Neal, CB Brandon King, CB David Pender, FS Torri Williams

2009 statistical leaders (*-returners)

Rushing: Ralph Bolden* (935 yards)

Passing: Joey Elliott (3,026 yards)

Receiving: Keith Smith* (1,100 yards)

Tackles: Torri Williams (84)

Sacks: Ryan Kerrigan* (13)

Interceptions: Brandon King (3)

Spring answers

1. Marve ready to lead: The concerns about quarterback Robert Marve's maturity have disappeared, as the Miami transfer conducted himself well this spring and showed flashes of his significant talent. Marve shared the team's Newcomer Award and performed well for most of the team's scrimmages. He has a big arm and will have the weapons to use it this fall.

2. Help for Kerrigan up front: Purdue knows what it has in Ryan Kerrigan, but the Boilers need to develop other pass-rushing threats around him. Kawann Short answered the bell this spring and recorded two sacks and a pass breakup in the Black & Gold Game. Defensive ends Robert Maci (2 sacks) and Adam Brockman (INT, sack) also stepped up. Along with Gerald Gooden, Purdue should have some depth up front when Kerrigan draws double-teams.

3. TerBush hanging tough: Marve remains the front-runner for the top quarterback spot, but as offensive coordinator Gary Nord predicted, Caleb TerBush isn't going away. TerBush pushed Marve throughout the spring and outperformed him in the spring game, completing 13 of 18 passes for 147 yards and two touchdowns. Purdue needs a solid No. 2 option at quarterback, and TerBush is stepping up.

Fall questions

1. Running back: Injuries were a major problem for Purdue this spring, and the biggest hit came at running back as Ralph Bolden suffered a torn ACL in his right knee, the same one he injured in high school. Head coach Danny Hope is optimistic that Bolden can return sometime this season, but Purdue realistically needs sophomore Al-Terek McBurse to claim a featured role. McBurse dealt with an arm injury this spring. Purdue needs to keep its backs on the field in preseason camp.

2. Rebuilding the secondary: Purdue must replace all four starters in the secondary, and its lone returnee with experience, safety Albert Evans, sat out spring ball following ankle surgery. The Boilers signed junior college safety Max Charlot late in the spring, which reinforced the need for help at that spot. No cornerbacks truly emerged in the spring, and there will be plenty of competition there in camp.

3. Team's overall health: It's better to have injuries in April than October, but Purdue fans have to be a little concerned with all the health issues this spring. The Boilers need players like Kerrigan, McBurse and wide receiver Keith Smith to come back strong, and they can't afford many more injuries to crop up in preseason camp. Purdue had 20 players and 10 starters miss part or all of spring drills.