Purdue football is so sad and terrible, that I really haven’t wanted to write about it or watch it or be associated with it or think about it more than I have to. That’s probably not a great attitude for a person who said they would write about Purdue football for OTE.
Anyway, I think I have some thoughts about this whole coach firing business. They’re not organized well, and really just boil down to “Hazell was a bad coach, and he was fired because he was a bad coach.”
The inevitable finally happened, as it always does by definition. Darrell Hazell is no longer the Head Football Coach at Purdue University. New AD Mike Bobinski decided to pull the plug on a football team that was in a coma from three and a half years.
Hazell inherited a program that was headed towards a cliff, and, rather than trying to hit the brakes or turn around, accelerated Thelma and Louise style into the Grand Canyon. Some rebuilding teams bottom out during a rebuild and then slowly crawl out of the hole and into mediocrity or even greatness.
Purdue under Hazell bottomed out almost as hard as possible in his first season, and then decided that it wasn’t so bad down there, and man that looks like it might be hard to get out of here. Remember The Simpsons episode where Homer inadvertently tries to jump Springfield Gorge on Bart’s skateboard and fails? I think maybe Hazell saw the part where the helicopter is lifting Homer out of the bottom of the gorge and Homer keeps bumping into the cliff, and then thought, “It’s not worth it to even try to get out of the gorge. Even if we do, it would hurt a lot if we happen to fall back in.”
I don’t really know what the point of all of this rambling is; I just can’t think of anything to say that is interesting about Darrell Hazell. He is just not a good college football coach. Was he alright as an assistant at a blue blood program where recruiting is as easy as offering a kid? Yeah, he was pretty good as an assistant under Jim Tressel.
Was he alright as the head coach at Kent State for two years? Yeah, he was actually pretty good. Although he didn’t recruit anyone there, and the last coach left some pretty good players, and his assistant coaches were pretty good. There’s no way of knowing for sure, but I would guess that if Hazell stayed with the Golden Flashes for a few more years, that his great 2012 season would be seen as an aberration. Kent State has been awful since he left; I would be surprised if they would have done better if Hazell had stayed.
Darrell Hazell got lucky in 2012. He had a great player in Dri Archer, and he turned a great season into $12 million dollars or so. He was never an interesting coach who had a lot of neat ideas; he coached at OSU with superior talent, and then did the same with Archer at Kent State.
When he arrived at Purdue, he no longer had superior talent. In fact, he had the opposite. And what did he do about it? According to some reports, not much. He apparently didn’t concern himself with recruiting as much as lower tier football teams need to do.
In summary, Darrell Hazell was a disastrous football coach at Purdue. He didn’t have talent, didn’t try to outwork others to get the talent in recruiting, coached games like he did have superior talent, and consequently lost almost every game he coached in at Purdue.
Sorry for the rambling, but it is hard for me to write a coherent article about Darrell Hazell. Like almost all Purdue fans, I have become pretty apathetic about football. It was bad enough getting blown out by any team with a pulse during Danny Hope’s tenure, but, with Hazell, blowouts were par for the course, even against meh or even bad teams.
Iowa is struggling this season? Let them play Purdue, they’ll score 28 points before the Boilers even get a first down (not sure if that is true, but it feels like it must be). Is Maryland any good this year? Well, they beat Purdue like a donkey eating a waffle. But, to answer the question, Maryland is not good this year. How about Cincy at the start of the season? Down 31-7 in the fourth quarter, end up scoring some garbage time points to make it 38-20. So the Bearcats are pretty good for a non-Power Five school though, right? No, they suck. 0-3 in the American Conference.
Purdue’s conference wins (3 in 3.5 years) seem like minor miracles at this point. The losses are so definitive, just blowout after blowout after blowout, and the few wins are by the skin of their teeth.
Purdue football is awful, and it was not going to get better under Darrell Hazell. Will it get better without him? The odds are that it will, since it is hard to remain this terrible for a long time.
Would it have been better to get one of Larry’s brothers named Darrell rather than Hazell? Yes.
Who will Purdue get to replace Darrell Hazell? I don’t know, but I really hope it is someone who has shown some sort of aptitude in being different. Like a guy who runs a weird offense or decides to never punt or something. I’d rather have a weirdo that fails than a normal guy who takes no chances and doesn’t seem to care (and of course fails miserably).
Happy trails, Coach Hazell. I wish that Purdue was good and you were the reason they were good, but that didn’t happen.