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B1G 2015 // Purdue Cocktail Party Preview

OTE's B1G 2015 preview series starts with Purdue week.

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Spring is here! As the saying goes, "April showers bring May B1G 2015." And so the prophecy has been fulfilled with this, the first article of B1G 2015 (if you don't count the preview article). As always, the B1G series starts with the worst team from last season. Congratulations, Purdue! For the second straight year the Boilermakers get to lead off the series.

Each week starts with the Cocktail Party Preview, which is designed to give non-fans enough knowledge of the team in question so that they can hobnob with well-heeled fans of the team at cocktail parties without seeming like they don't belong.

About last season

The good news...

The earth did not crash into the sun...and Purdue beat two bowl teams, including a Big Ten team! There was an improvement of two wins from the previous season!

There were even flashes during the season of competent offensive play!

The bad news...

The Boilers went 3-9 (1-7) in 2014, which is pretty terrible. After a flash of decent games in the middle of the season, the team regressed back to 2013 levels of incompetence and awfulness. The season ended with two pathetic performances against Northwestern and Indiana that overshadowed any progress the team had made in Darrell Hazell's second year as coach.


A play in the End Zone during the Spring Game

On the Offensive Side of the Ball

The good news...

There is a lot of experience at the quarterback spot, with Austin Appleby and Danny Etling both returning. Appleby replaced Etling as starter midway through 2014, after Etling started the last half of 2013. David Blough, who impressed with his scrambling ability in the Spring Game, should also challenge for the starting spot.

In the running back department, Keyante Green has the most experience, as he had a couple of nice games last year backing up Akeem Hunt and Raheem Mostert. Freshman and Indiana Mr. Football Markell Jones, along with DJ Knox and David Yancey should be in the mix for carries.

On the wideout front, Purdue hopes Danny Anthrop can return to last season's form, as he was very effective last season. Dre Hart, DeAngelo Yancey, Cameron Posey, and converted QB Bilal Marshall will all fight for playing time in 2015.

The bad news...

While the returning quarterbacks have experience, most of that experience has been running an anemic offense. Appleby delivered a jolt of energy after he replaced Etling, but that faded as the season went on. QB play will need to improve for the Boilers to even get to the point where the offense could be considered competent.

The running game was one of the bright spots of last year, but the two leading rushers, Akeem Hunt and Raheem Mostert, are gone. They were both speed backs with the potential to break long runs, with Hunt being the more effective of the two. Hunt receiving passes out of the backfield was also a big part of the offense last season.

Danny Anthrop, who led the team in receiving last season, suffered an ACL injury with three games left to go in the season. He should be back in time for the season to start, but who knows how effective he will be. Third leading receiver, TE Justin Sinz, graduated, and there isn't much experience to replace him. WR BJ Knauf, who had some good games in the 2013 season, retired due to numerous injuries.


David Blough throws a pass in the Spring Game

On the Defensive Side of the Ball

The good news...

There are some decent returning players on the defense this year. Sophomore Ju'Whan Bentley gained a lot of hard knocks experience last season at middle linebacker after an injury to Sean Robinson. Gelen Robinson returns for his second season; he should be able to get some pressure on the quarterback this season. Frankie Williams had three interceptions last season and a lot of tackles out of his DB spot. Other returning players who should make an impact on the line are Ra'Zhan Howard, Jake Replogle and Ryan Watson.

The bad news...

The defense wasn't exactly lights out last season, and a few key members of that squad are no longer around. DE Ryan Russell was drafted by the Cowboys last week; he was a pretty solid pass rusher. S Landon Feichter will be tough to replace; he had five interceptions last season and was one of the leading tacklers on the team.


Paul Griggs kicks a FG during the Spring Game

On Special Teams

The good news...

Purdue returns both its kicker and punter from last season. Paul Griggs had a good 2014, hitting on 16/20 field goal attempts, including 3/3 on 50+ yarders. Thomas Meadows did a decent job last season replacing the almighty Cody Webster, but he definitely has room to improve this season. Hopefully he doesn't have to punt quite as much as he did last year.

The bad news...

Akeem Hunt and Raheem Mostert will not be back to return kicks, where they were both effective throughout their careers.

On the Schedule

Sept 6 @ Marshall
Sept 12 Indiana State
Sept 19 Virginia Tech
Sept 26 Bowling Green
Oct 3 @ Michigan State
Oct 10 Minnesota
Oct 17 @ Wisconsin
Oct 31 Nebraska
Nov 7 Illinois
Nov 14 @ Northwestern
Nov 21 @ Iowa
Nov 28 Indiana

The good news...

Purdue gets to play Indiana State, an FCS team, as well as Illinois and Indiana. The Boilers don't have to play Ohio State.

The bad news...

The schedule is brutal. The Boilers start out playing at Marshall on a Sunday, and face transitive-property national champions Virginia Tech and transitive-property SEC East champions Bowling Green at home.

Phil Steele rates the Purdue schedule as the sixth toughest in the country. What makes it worse is that Purdue is not good at football, so even an average schedule would be tough. So a tough schedule to a bad team seems extra tough. In 2013, the Boilers had a tough schedule and it was an absolute disaster of a season. Boiler up!


via PFTCommenter

If you're talking to a Purdue fan, don't mention:

Football in general, ACL injuries, quarterbacking, defense, the schedule, lights, attendance, the Old Oaken Bucket, that Purdue is either 12th or 13th in winning % for all sports in the conference.

Do mention:

Two-time national champion diver as a freshman Steele Johnson, the Purdue Cannon, basketball games against Indiana University, Tom Crean, agriculture, the weather, therapy, Mike Alstott, Drew Brees, AJ Hammons, Orville Redenbacher, the moon.


MONDAY | Cocktail Party Preview

TUESDAY | Personnel Files

WEDNESDAY | Purdue Potluck

THURSDAY | Wildcard

FRIDAY | Hate or Get Real