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It's March, but Ryan Walters' game face is on: 'Nobody wants to go 4-8 again'

On3 imageby:Tom Dienhart03/26/24

TomDienhart1 Video: Ryan Walters, Spring Practice No. 4 - Sd 480p

To say Ryan Walters is motivated to improve on his 4-8 debut in 2023 would be an understatement. He already has his game-face on … and it’s only March.

“We were sitting at home on the holidays, so their asses better be eager to go because nobody wants to go 4-8 again,” he said on Tuesday after Purdue’s fourth spring practice and second in pads.

“We hear all the noise, all the talk about being 18 out of 18 (in the Big Ten) and all the projections and all that stuff out there. So, if they weren’t eager to be out here, they wouldn’t be in a locker room, I can promise you that.”

Walters hit the portal hard looking to upgrade the roster, adding 15 players who are on campus for spring drills. There also are 11 early enrollee freshmen, as well as two JC transfers. Add it all up: Purdue has 26 new faces on the field.

And Purdue saw 26 players transfer out.

“I think we addressed some of (our weaknesses) by just through some of the additions we’ve made,” said Walters. “And we’ve addressed some of those through some subtractions that we’ve had, if I’m being honest.

“I thought we got bigger where we needed to get bigger. I thought we got faster where we needed to get faster. And I thought we added more depth to positions that we were really thin.”

Another key: Having all of the new faces already on campus.

“It is pivotal,” he said. “That’s why I was excited about all the guys that we brought in were able to get here at mid-year. Where a year ago, we didn’t get them until June …

“We did a lot of team-bonding, team-oriented activities away from the building to sort of give opportunities for organic friendships and camaraderie to sort of foster those relationships. I like where our team is at right now in terms of playing hard, playing physical but still taking care of each other.”

MORE: Deep Dive, spring practice No. 4

It’s difficult to glean much from the first four spring workouts, but some players have stood out.

“They’ve all flashed,” said Walters. “There’s been some guys where you’re like, ‘OK, I see what the hype is about them.’ And guys, also, those nine weeks of workouts and being here a year now in the program has paid dividends.”

Purdue will hold its first scrimmage on Friday, battling inside Ross-Ade Stadium.

“But, right now, we can’t really worry about depth charts,” said Walters. “If I’m a player, you got to worry about technique, fundamentals, knowing the call and the scheme and reacting accordingly post-snap. The depth chart will take care of itself. But there’s a lot of healthy competition.”

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