Preview: Purdue Defense

Floyd beat Allen for this leaping grab in 2010

A look at Purdue's defensive starters and key personnel for Saturday night's contest vs. the Irish.

Purdue Defensive Personnel

The Boilermakers defense limited Notre Dame to less than 385 total yards in both of the team's last two meetings.

DE: Gerald Gooden – 6'4" 235-pound 5th-year senior enters the contest with 17 tackles for loss and eight sacks as a four-year contributor. Gooden had five solos in last year's matchup and recorded a sack in the 2009 game at Ross-Ade.

DE: Ryan Russell – 6'5" 264-pound redshirt freshman starter has five stops including one for loss over his first three contests.

NG: Kawann Short – The unit's top player, Short demands interior double teams, packing run-stuffing power in his 6'3" 310-pound frame. A team captain in 2011, Short has 20 career tackles for loss and broke up eight passes at the line of scrimmage last season. His 107 total tackles rank third among active Purdue defenders.

DT: Bruce Gaston – Former Charlie Weis recruiting target emerged early as a starter for the Boilers, contributing 26 tackles including 4.5 for loss as a true freshman last fall. The 6'2" 303-pound DT has 2.5 TFL in Purdue's first three contests this year.

ILB: Joe Holland – Enters his fourth season as a starter and leads the defense with 257 career stops, including 14.5 for lost yardage. The 6'1" 229-pound Indiana native excelled in 2008-09 matchups with the Irish, totaling 21 tackles but was held in check last year (6). Holland is a former high school teammate of Irish offensive tackle, Zack Martin. He began the season with 24 tackles over the first two contests before ceding playing time in a blowout of Southeast Missouri in Week Three.

OLB: Dwayne Beckford – Finished with 84 tackles last year, including 3.5 for loss. The 6'1" 228-pound junior has two passes defended and an interception already this season.

ILB: Will Lucas – Already halfway to his tackle total last season (43), Lucas has two tackles for loss over his last two contests as a true sophomore. The Lakeland, Fla-prospect is one of nine Florida natives in the Boilers' recruiting class of 2010.

FS: Albert Evans – 6'0" 208-pound junior from nearby Gary, IN, finished with four TFL last season and has seven tackles vs. the Irish over the last two seasons. Posted a career-best 10 tackles vs. state-rival IU last season.

SS: Logan Link – Former walk-on recorded 91 tackles last season including five with a fumble recovery vs. the Irish. At 6'1" 208, the 5th-year senior serves as the heart of an underrated secondary in West Lafayette.

CB: Josh Johnson – Redshirt-sophomore corner produced 10 big plays last season: 3 forced fumbles, a fumble recovery, 6 passes defended and an interception. The 5'11" Johnson has broken up two passes this season, recording nine stops on the outside.

CB: Ricardo Allen – Among the best freshman corners in football last season, Allen fared well in his matchup with AFloyd, limiting the massive target to five receptions and 82 yards in Notre Dame's 23-12 victory last September. Allen returned two of his three interceptions last season for scores and has been largely avoided this season by Purdue's opening trio of opponents. The 5'9" 176-pound competitor placed among Notre Dame's 10 Opponents to Watch in our pre-season magazine preview.

Key Reserves: LB Chris Carlino, CB Charlton Williams.

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