It's interesting watching defenders try to tackle Curtis Dukes head on because they almost always get bulldozed back at least a yard or two by the 6-foot-1, 235-pound behemoth of a running back.
Dukes, though, is trying to get even better at running over people.
"I have to learn to lower my shoulder more and keep my legs driving," the redshirt sophomore said. "So with me lowering my shoulder, a lot of defenders don't want to tackle you."
Dukes began the season as the third-string tailback behind Silas Redd and Brandon Beachum but moved into the backup role with Beachum's foot injury. He has gained 184 yards on 27 carries, averaging 6.8 per attempt, and had 60 yards on nine carries last week against Iowa.
"Silas is a lot quicker and [more] speedy guy than I am," Dukes said. "I'm more the powerful guy."
Purdue should see a lot of that 1-2 punch this week, since Moye is out and the Lions will try to establish control on the ground.
Dukes appears to be a bigger threat running the ball than Beachum, but he has struggled in one key area that has cost him more playing time.
"The biggest issue I had was pass blocking," he said. "That's one of the issues I'm dealing with, learning how to pick up blitzes and learning what type of defenses you're dealing with."
The coaches have worked with Dukes on using his hands more and staying balanced while blocking.
"I think Dukes is going to be a good running back," Joe Paterno said. "He's got to get where he understands you've got to block, too. He's never done any of that. Came out of high school, a small high school, and a very dominant football player. He's just got to spend a little more time worried about his technique blocking.
"He's got good hands, but he doesn't quite understand timing on passing and things like that. But he's got a chance to be really good. And you've got to like the kid. He's very, very, he's an easy guy to be around. He's easy to coach."
Dukes understands how he can become a better blocker.
"I have a tendency not to use my hands and like to use my shoulder more," he said, noting that makes it easier for defenders to make a move and slip past him.
Former Penn State star Curtis Enis was on the Lions' sideline at Indiana two weeks ago and was giving the players some tips. Dukes said Enis told him "just to really be patient and to set up my blocks and make the right reads and hit the hole hard."
Dukes noted he's had a tendency to just get the ball and run into the line rather than waiting for blockers to do their jobs.
"The hole's going to open up," he said. "All you've got to do is just be patient and let the holes open and keep your legs driving."