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Landon Feichter is a Purdue veteran safety with one big priority: staying healthy.
If he does, he can regain the form that enabled him to share the Big Ten lead in interceptions (four) and the team in tackles (80). If the former Bishop Dwenger standout can't, well, he's the last guy coach Darrell Hazell wants to see standing with him on the sidelines.
So as Feichter begins his final college season, as he looks to help the Boilers bounce back from last season's 1-11 misery, he spent some time talking about season prospects with The News-Sentinel.
The News-Sentinel: How is the team coming along?
Feichter: We like what we've seen so far, but there's always room for improvement. We're not satisfied with what we've done or put on film.
N-S: As the most experienced defensive back, do you take the younger secondary players aside to help them with the defense and upcoming challenges?
Feichter: It happens. Everybody asks questions. I'm trying to get in the playbook as much as I can. I try to be like a defensive coordinator with the playbook. I'm thankful people come up and ask me questions. That means I've got to know the playbook better than everybody else to answer those questions.
N-S: Do you know the playbook that well?
Feichter: I know it pretty well. I try to be the top guy knowing the playbook.
N-S: Is it the same playbook as last year?
Feichter: There are a lot of things that are the same, a lot that are different. Most is the same. There is a little different terminology. We're playing some defense a little different than last year.
N-S: What do you like about this defense?
Feichter: I like how we're running to the ball. We're running fast. We're looking fast. We still need to be more physical. That will come later, but we're up for the challenge. We have to keep getting better. We'll look at the film, fix what we have to fix and come at it again.
N-S: What's a realistic goal for this team?
Feichter: The goal is if you don't have the optimism that you're going to be a Big Ten champion, or you don't have that competitive nature to win a championship, you shouldn't be on the field at a D-I school. We're looking at a Big Ten championship. That's what we think is a realistic goal.
N-S: The offense struggled last season, with a Big Ten-worst 14.9-point average. How much better is it?
Feichter: It's looking pretty good. I'm excited to play against them. It makes us better, and the defense makes them better. We have to balance each other out. When the defense isn't hot, hopefully the offense is hot. If the offense isn't hot, then hopefully the defense is. We're trying to get the balance where we're both hot at the same time.