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Posted: Thursday, August 29, 1996 12:00 am

It's been a long time since Purdue had a quarterback worthy of much praise.In 1985, Boilermaker and current New Orleans Saints quarterback Jim Everett threw for 3,651 yards and 23 touchdowns, but only guided his troops to a five-win season.

Creeping up on Everett's monumental passing records is an almost nameless southpaw that is making a profound impression on his coach. Quarterback Rick Trefzger is third all-time in completion percentage, seventh in both yardage and conference pass efficiency and eighth in conference total offense.

Purdue coach Jim Colletto is elated to have him around and Trefzger is hoping he and his accolades live up to more than just a five-win season.

"Quarterback is probably one of the strengths of our team," Colletto said. "What we want to do is have Rick make some big plays. We've got to have some 30-, 40-, 50- yard plays."

click here for information on last years Purdue football team

Besides Trefzger, the Boilermakers feature two other quarterbacks hoping to make an impact, but injury has prevented them from playing. Senior Billy Dicken is finally healthy coming back from shoulder injuries and junior John Reeves didn't practice this spring due to meningitis.

Last season the Boilermakers rode fullback Mike Alstott to the top of the rushing list. Alstott helped Purdue lead the conference in rushing, a feat Colletto would like to repeat. This season, top returning rusher Edwin Watson will move from tailback to fullback, opening up his previous slot for Lee Johnson or Kendall Matthews.

"Last year we led the Big Ten in rushing," Colletto said. "We've got to continue to do that. I think the running game is in good shape."

Purdue's defense early last season was somewhat suspect. But things picked up for the lowly Boilermakers, and by late season, the defense was much improved.The secondary will be the most experienced unit of the team, returning four starters. Defensive back Derrick Brown heads the veteran pass defense and holds the most experience with 14 career starts.

The line should be solid up front, but lacks depth. Lineman Jon Krick stands out as one of the conference's premier tackles, leading his teammates with 21 starts. Krick is a two-time All-Big Ten selection and recorded 31 tackles last season.

"I'm just going to work hard and play my role within the defense and do the best that I can," Krick said, adding that the defense suffered some last year due to youth. "We had a lot of inexperienced guys last year, and that hurt us."

The Boilermakers enter the season against conference opponent Michigan State Saturday, and Colletto is optimistic about the game and future of football at Purdue.

"If our defense keeps progressing like it did at the end of last football season," Colletto said, "I think we'll have the chance to have a real solid football team."

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