Here are some more news and nuggets from Purdue coach Danny Hope's meeting with reporters on Tuesday:
Starting linebacker Dwayne Beckford and third-leading receiver O.J. Ross were both suspended from the Little Caesars Bowl, but both will be back on the team this fall if they take care of business off the field. Beckford was arrested on a DUI charge and is currently suspended but can work his way back. Hope said Beckford is less than a year away from graduating and he isn't about to give up on him. Ross was suspended for academic reasons but has been working out with teammates so far this offseason.
Purdue has moved Robert Kugler to center. Kugler came in last year as a freshman tight end weighing 244 pounds. Hope said he has the body type to put on more weight, adding that "you don't have to be massive to play center. Some of the better centers here weren't so massive." Hope also said a couple of other tight ends could cross train at offensive tackle this spring because the Boilermakers are light in numbers on the offensive line.
The Boilers are finishing up interviews for their vacant defensive line coaching position and hope to announce a hire in the next week or so.
Hope had glowing words for senior defensive tackle Kawann Short, who passed up a chance to enter the NFL draft this winter. He said Short has made tremendous strides in conditioning and now weighs 330 pounds. "Kawann has an unbelievable ceiling," he said. "He looks better at 330 than he has at any point in time at his career at Purdue. He can get himself in great shape and be one of the elite big men in college football. ... He's potentially one of the great players at his position on a national level."
Hope shot down the idea of Raheem Mostert, who led the Big Ten in kickoff returns as a freshman, moving to defensive back. Mostert is too valuable of a playmaker, he said. " We have to think of more ways to get the ball in his hands."
Frankie Williams and Doug Gentry were singled out as players who redshirted last year who could have a big impact this season. Hope said he wishes he had played Williams, a defensive back, in 2011 and that he has a chance to be an important part of the secondary and special teams. Gentry needed to develop his body but should get plenty of reps and opportunity at running back, which is a little thin with Ralph Bolden out because of a torn ACL and Reggie Pegram's transfer.
While the roster should have more depth this season as Hope brings in his fourth class of recruits, Purdue needs to fix some areas to take the next step as a program. Hope said the Boilers "have to become a much more disciplined football team," especially when it comes to penalties and mistakes, to rise above mediocrity. But he said the experience of going to and winning a bowl game should help. "We gained some confidence," he said. "It made us a hungrier team. I think you'll see even greater things in the near future."