Purdue football plans to air it out, even with defensive-minded head coach Ryan Walters

INDIANAPOLIS — Ryan Walters is a defensive coach at a Purdue football program known for historically great offenses.
Don't worry, Walters assured everyone during Thursday's Big Ten media day at Lucas Oil Stadium.
Walters said, even with departures of Aidan O'Connell, Payne Durham and Charlie Jones to the NFL, he expects the Boilermakers offense to be that high-powered, throw-it-all-over-the-field style fans are accustomed to.
"I knew with my background as a defensive guy, in what I've been able to do on this side of the ball, to come to a place like Purdue that has been known historically for their offensive output," Walters said, "that it was important to hire an offensive coordinator that would attract quarterbacks and offensive skill guys."
More Purdue football: Versatile Tyrone Tracy moves to running back
It was important for Walters to not stray away from what Purdue football is.
That's why Graham Harrell was the logical choice to be the offensive coordinator, a former record-setting quarterback from Texas Tech with NFL experience, who has brought the Air Raid offense to West Lafayette.
"I feel like we got a lot of weapons from the transfer portal," said redshirt senior receiver TJ Sheffield, the team's top returning pass catcher. "Obviously you saw (running back) Devin Mockobee. We already know what he does out there on the field."
Mockobee rushed for nearly 1,000 yards last season despite his first start not coming until the fourth game, where he led an upset win at Minnesota.
Sheffield caught 46 passes for 480 yards and four touchdowns.
Beyond that, a combined six touchdowns returns — four from running back Dylan Downing and one receiving TD apiece from Mershawn Rice and Paul Piferi.
There's names you might not know, but soon will:
Deion Burks, who to this point is best known for exiting the Citrus Bowl with a late-game head injury.
Jahmal Edrine, a big-time pass catcher who transferred from Florida Atlantic, where he caught 39 passes for 570 yards and six touchdowns last season.
Freshman George Burhenn, who was the best high school tight end in Indiana last fall at Mt. Vernon.
The move of Tyrone Tracy from receiver to running back.
"All of our position skill groups are, honestly, really, really good," quarterback Hudson Card said. "From our receiver group with a lot of depth, we grabbed some guys in the portal as well who are going to help, a lot of guys that stepped up and took over in practices in the spring.
"And then our tight end room is really special as well and it's deep as well. I am excited for them to showcase and show the world what they can do this fall."
Card threw with receivers three to four times a week in the summer after spring practices commenced. What drew the Texas transfer to Purdue was the hire of Harrell as offensive coordinator and the sell job that Card would be throwing, and throwing a lot.
Purdue averaged a shade under 27 points per game last season, an average hindered by an abysmal offensive output with a depleted roster against LSU in the Citrus Bowl.
Walters believes Purdue can replicate that with, by and large, a whole new set of offensive weapons.
"It's going to be fast tempo, fast-paced," Card said. "It's not going to be overly complicated. For the guys on offense, you're going to know what to do and you're going to be able to play really fast and not think a whole lot."
Sam King covers sports for the Journal & Courier. Email him at sking@jconline.com and follow him on Twitter and Instagram @samueltking.

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