Our esteemed colleague at Hammer and Rails has given a short blurb about the stories and expectations that will dominate Spring Practice in West Lafayette. Combined with our own preview, this deluge of information should be enough to tide Purdue fans over for the moment.
"Hammer and Rails:
The biggest story this spring for Purdue football is change. Danny Hope
has now officially taken over for Joe Tiller
, and offensively this will be a whole new team. 5th year senior Joey Elliot
t is recovering from a severely separated shoulder suffered against Northwestern last season. He will battle redshirt sophomore Justin Siller
for starting quarterback duties. Coach Hope has even stated that redshirt freshman Caleb Ter Bush
could get in on the fight, as well as incoming freshman Rob Henry
when practice starts in the fall.
Purdue also has questions at running back, where 5th year senior Jaycen Taylor
is not yet 100% after missing last season with a torn ACL. The star of the latest recruiting class, Al-Terek McBurse, has enrolled in school early to participate in spring practice, but has yet to be cleared by the NCAA. He could start from day one at running back. Junior Dan Dierking
will also add depth. Purdue is also very thin at wide receiver. The Boilers have just three scholarship receivers left from last season in Aaron Valentin, Keith Smith, and Waynelle Gravesande.
Defensive players Royce Adams
and Tommie Thomas
have switched sides to offense, but most of Purdue's depth will come when some promising freshmen land on campus in the fall.
Honestly, I think this could be a very good thing for Purdue. The offense will be inexperienced at the skill positions, but the Boilers are healthy along the line. They never were at any point last year and a 4-8 season was a result. I believe there is enough talent offensively to get at least 6 wins and return to a bowl.
Purdue does better with lowered expectations, and this is one of those years. Defensively the entire secondary is back after leading the Big Ten in pass defense a year ago. Of course, we led in pass defense because we couldn't stop the run, but that is a different story. If Jason Werner
is finally healthy Purdue should be much better at linebacker. Joe Holland
and Chris Carlino
are projected to start with him, while freshmen Antwon Higgs
and Dwayne Beckford
actually give us depth. After years of being a weakness the defense should be a strength on this team and give the offense some time to grow.
Going into the season, I label Toledo, Northern Illinois, Northwestern,
and at Indiana
as absolute must win games. Call me crazy, but I really like our chances out at Oregon
. We took them to double-OT in West Lafayette last year and the Ducks must rebuild their O-line to get the running game going. They also have a difficult non-conference schedule that includes a trip to Boise State and a home game against Utah, so who knows what they will do against us. As for the rest of the schedule, I don't see any game that I can say with confidence is a sure win, but if things come together I don't see one that is an automatic loss short of Ohio State
coming to Ross-Ade. I would also count Michigan
as an automatic loss because we haven't won in Ann Arbor since 1966. Even our good teams have gone up there and played like crap. I won't believe we can win there until it happens."