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September 15, 2010

Options emerging at receiver

With Keith Smith out for the season, Purdue needs some other wide receivers to elevate their games.

According to Boilermaker offensive coordinator Gary Nord, two have this week.

"There are two kids I've seen a noticeable difference in this week since Keith got hurt, and Antavian Edison is one of them and Gary Bush is the other," Nord said. "Both see a window of opportunity here and they both picked it up and stepped up.

"Thank goodness they have, because we're going to need both of those guys ... to play a lot more and be involved a lot more."

Edison, a sophomore, replaces Smith as Purdue's No. 1 slot receiver; Bush, Nord said, can back up any of the Boilermakers' three receiver positions. Though the redshirt freshman has primarily been an outside receiver, he will also be trained in the slot, Nord said.

Right now, Nord said, Waynelle Gravesande and T.J. Barbarette are second and third, respectively, at Purdue's inside receiver position.

In the spring, Purdue toyed with backup quarterback Rob Henry in a variety of different roles, at a couple different positions, including receiver.

So with Smith out, does Purdue re-visit that experimentation with one of its best overall athletes?

"I'd love to," Nord said, "but the thing that's different between now and the spring is that Caleb TerBush is no longer with us."

TerBush, a sophomore who was slated to be Purdue's second-team QB, remains on the team, but is academically ineligible.

That elevated Henry to second on the depth chart behind Robert Marve. Henry has seen action in each of Purdue's first two games.

"When you have both of your quarterbacks on the field at the same time, it's a little scary," Nord said. "You would like to (move Henry around) and try to get the ball in his hands some, but we still have to be smart for the future of the program here for the rest of the year."

Nord said the 6-foot-2, 205-pound Henry could play "any of our skill positions."

"He runs faster than probably any wide receiver we have other than (O.J. Ross), he catches the ball well and understands the offense," Nord said. "So he could line up and play any perimeter spot we have."


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