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Purdue gets break with its break

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For more on Purdue athletics, follow Pete DiPrimio via Twitter at pdiprimio.

Bye week will help tired Boilers

Monday, September 17, 2012 - 6:07 am

WEST LAFAYETTE – A break? Landon Feichter will take a break. Football and school can produce an unforgiving schedule and Purdue's safety is ready for a little R and R.

To a point.

“I think getting some rest any time is good for the team,” he said. “We have strained our bodies all through the summer and camp, and through the first couple of weeks of the season. It will be good to get a break.”

Feichter is a former Bishop Dwenger standout who has gone from walk-on afterthought to key starter. His two interceptions lead a team built to force them.

Purdue had three interceptions during Saturday's 38-point Eastern Michigan victory, one by Feichter. That gives the Boilers six in three games.

“Any pick is significant whether we're winning by seven or losing by 40,” he said. “Making three picks says something about our defense and our secondary.

“You get one pick and it's a statement about our defense. You get three and it puts something on film that hopefully will intimidate our next opponents.”

The next opponent is Marshall (1-2) on Sept.29. That the Boilers are 2-1 with a late loss at unbeaten Notre Dame isn't ideal, Feichter says, but a sign that good things are coming.

“We wanted to show what we'll play like after we lose. The Notre Dame game was a tough loss. We showed we can bounce back and have no regrets.”

Coach Danny Hope wants no regrets about over-working the Boilers into mediocrity. He sees this bye, despite coming just three games into a 12-game schedule, has a chance to be a best-possible-world moment.

“We're a tired team and the open week comes at a good time for us,” he says. “They put in long days and hours. They go to school. They have football. They have school work. They study film.

“I come in here at 6 in the morning and a bunch of players are here. I leave at 11 p.m. and a bunch are still here. They're putting in 14 to 16 hour days. They're tired and they need some time off. The bye is coming at just the right time for us.”

Hope is changing the way he handles a bye week. Previously the Boilers took time off early in the week, then resumed work. Now he said the team will do light work and break down Marshall tendencies through Wednesday, then give the players Thursday, Friday and Saturday off.

“They'll have more days off. I think they'll be fresher than they were a year ago.”

Purdue was fresh enough to blitz Eastern Michigan for 54 points and 576 total yards. Its No. 1 defense allowed just a field goal (Eastern Michigan scored on an interception return for a touchdown and a late TD on the defensive reserves).

It's that offense-defense barrage, Feichter says, that will bode well once Big Ten play begins.

“The offense will do their thing and we'll do our thing. We know if one of the sides is struggling, the other side will step up.”

Stepping up is easier when you have enough speed for two teams. Hope's faster-is-better recruiting emphasis has delivered players such as Akeem Hunt (a 50-yard TD catch, a 56-yard TD run against Eastern Michigan), Akeem Shavers (a 40-yard TD run) and even Brandon Cottom (an 87-yard TD run), who rocked Eastern Michigan with big plays.

“We have a lot of playmakers,” quarterback Rob Henry said. “We have a lot of guys we believe in. You saw how fast Akeem Hunt is. Any time he gets in the open field, he can score. We have a lot of guys like that. They can go to the house at any time.”

Doing it against a winless Eastern Michigan is one thing. Doing it against Big Ten competition is something else.

“It was a good win, but we did a lot of things wrong,” Henry said. “There are a lot of things we want to improve on.”

It starts, but certainly doesn't end, with rest.