If you commit a crime, you have the right to a trial before a jury of people too stupid to get out of jury duty.
It's time for the Purdue Boilermakers to stand trial for their crime of being a member of the Big Ten. It is my job as a fake lawyer to persuade you that the new coaching staff is competent and that 2013 will be a good one for the Boilers. It is your job as members of the fake jury to decide on a sentence.
Will it be another 6-6 season with a cruddy bowl game? Will this be the year that Purdue breaks into the upper echelon of the conference and goes 10-2? Mayhaps the Boilermakers bottom out and go 2-10? (They will definitely not go 1-11. That is crazy talk.)
Enough introduction, let's get into the topic everyone has been waiting all summer for: Purdue Boilermaker Football!
I. Case History/Opening Statement
A. Case History
2012 was a frustrating year for Purdue football. Teams that were better than Purdue, but not that great (Wisconsin, Michigan, Penn State, Oklahoma State) absolutely dominated Purdue. Teams that were better than Purdue and great (Notre Dame, Ohio State) barely beat Purdue. Teams that were the bottom of the barrel in the conference (Iowa, Illinois, Indiana) lost to Purdue.
Last season was Danny Hope's best chance at a quality season. After beating an FCS team, an awful MAC team and playing a close game in South Bend, people were pretty bullish on the Boilers. Then Michigan destroyed the Boliers at home. Some still said, "Hey, Wisconsin has been playing bad this year. Purdue still has a chance to make the B1G Championship game." Then Wisconsin's RBs ran for approximately 4,000 yards in the pouring rain.
The Boilers would go on to inexplicably play Ohio State to their toughest game of the year, but there weren't too many other highlights. Beating the "I" schools was nice, but they were awful last season.
So now Hope is gone and Kent State's Darrell Hazell was hired to take his place.
B. Opening Statement
Ladies and gentlemen of the jury, I think that Purdue is on the right track. If not the right track, then certainly a different track than they have been on. The Danny Hope track was full of bad PR and seemingly crazy game decisions (always two QBs, etc.). The Darrell Hazell track is so far full of good PR. We will have to wait and see how the games turn out. Let's take a look at who Hazell has to work with.
One major change that Hazell has made is to actually decide on a starting QB. Senior Rob Henry was named the starter over the weekend. He is a tall guy who is pretty fast. He was thrust into the starting role in 2010 after Robert Marve tore his ACL and Caleb TerBush couldn't play due to academic issues. He showed some promise as a zone read runner, and ran all over a decent Northwestern team. He was the #1 guy going into August 2011, but then he unsurprisingly tore his ACL. Hopefully he has developed into a better passer over the last three years.
The offensive coaching staff is not going to run a spread, but a pro-style offense with a bunch of crazy motion at the line. The new OC is the much-maligned John Shoop, who was not a popular man while he was OC of the Bears a long time ago. I don't know whether or not this offensive style will be successful, but a change was in order. Purdue's offense has been pretty bad for a while.
On defense, there are a fair amount of good players returning. Bruce Gaston, Ryan Russell, Ricardo Allen, Landon Feichter and Frankie Williams are probably the best of the bunch. None of the players I mentioned are linebackers; that was a problem area last year, and it will remain one this season. Hopefully the new coaches can better utilize the players so that drubbings like the Wisconsin and Oklahoma State games don't happen in 2013.
A. What We've Written About Purdue State This Off Season
B. What We Can Learn From Pop Culture
I am pretty terrible at trying to tie pop culture type things into the Purdueniverse, so bear with me here. Purdue has a brutal schedule this year (except for the last game of the year; that one is always easy). It is filled with tough game after tough game, just like Sideshow Bob and the rakes. After stepping on one, there will be another one right after it.
III. Emotional Plea
Please bear with Purdue this year. As I mentioned earlier, the schedule is tough and the Boilers aren't exactly loaded with talent. Hopefully the new coaching staff has the team headed in the right direction, but it might not be reflected in the final standings. Most of the Purdue fans I know seem to be on board with Hazell so far; I hope they still are after the Boilers win the Bucket this year but still fail to go bowling.
And one last thing, ladies and gentlemen of this imaginary jury, please protect your ACLs at all times.
IV. The Verdict
While I said that 2013 might be a rough one for the Boilers, I think some of the other writers are a little too pessimistic. Here are their predictions:
|Jonathan Franz||4-8 (1-7)|
|Jesse Collins||4-8 (2-6)|
|Graham Filler||2-10 (1-7)|
|Hilary Lee||4-8 (3-5)|
|Ted Glover||4-8 (2-6)|
|C.E. Bell||2-10 (1-7)|
|Mike Jones||4-8 (2-6)|
|Brian Gillis||4-8 (2-6)|
|Aaron Yorke||3-9 (1-7)|
|OTE Staff Average:||3.6-8.4 (1.7-6.3)|