Joe Pasquali, our college football analyst, is down to the last few Big Ten teams to preview. The Purdue Boilermakers are a far cry from the days of Drew Brees leading the team. Is 2012 a bounce back year for the men of West Lafayette?
Whoever the Purdue athletic trainers are should have been run out of West Lafayette halfway through last season, if not before then. This team, more than any other, was decimated at key positions all season by the injury bug making it nearly impossible to judge the quality of this team. Like a typical Purdue team they won of a game they should not have (Ohio State) and lost a game they should not have (Rice). Expect the same this year out of the little choo choo’s, thought I doubt they’ll be winning in Columbus.
Everyone and their brother got to play offense last year for the Boilermakers, as they saw three different quarterbacks and nine different players rush for a touchdown. It wasn’t out of scheme for these players to get the ball, but out of necessity due to injuries. Your guess is as good as mine to who will be starting under center. Rob Henry, Robert Marve, and Caleb TerBush will all be competing for the starting job. Only problem is none of them are very good. My guess is Terbush will be the starter. He is a team captain, a senior, and a ginger. All of those things are important to people in West Lafayette. The two Akeem’s (Shavers and Hunt) will be handling the running back duties after ending the 2011 campaign in impressive fashion. Antavian Edison and O.J. Ross lead a talented group of wide receivers, who if they get the ball, can make things happen.
Purdue has never been a program built on defense, of any kind, and I don’t see 2012 being much different. New defensive coordinator Tim Tibesar is bringing a 3-4 scheme to West Lafayette and with it you would expect some growing pains. Purdue’s strength is up front on their D-Line with players Kawann Short and Bruce Gaston who had a combined 9.5 sacks and 24 TFL. Putting these explosive players into a 3-4 makes little to no sense, considering Purdue has a great void of talent at linebacker. Only Will Lucas and Dwayne Beckford have experience at the LB position, not an ideal situation for a new scheme. Ricardo Allen and Josh Johnson lead a secondary that should be fairly strong. Both are ball hawks and can come up to stop the run.
Special Teams (C)
Thank the lord Carson Wiggs is graduated and on the Seattle Seahawks. If I had to hear another ESPN the Ocho announcer talk about how he can make a 70 yard field goal I was going to ram my head through a wall. Purdue will be relying on freshman Paul Griggs this year when it looks for three pointers. Cody Webster will be handling the punting duties; he averaged a respectable 42.9 YPK.
Most Purdue fans will be the first to tell you Danny Hope is the wrong man to be coaching in West Lafayette. Then again, most Purdue fans also have ridiculous expectations because Drew Brees ONCE helped a Boilermaker team win the Big Ten when every other power was in a down year. Purdue gets a D rating not because of Hope but because new defensive coordinator Tim Tibesar last coached in the Canadian Football league. And Canadians can’t play football.
2012 Win/Loss Prediction: 7-5 (5th in Leaders)