Coach: Joe Tiller (83-54 @ Purdue, 106-73-1 overall)
2007 Record: 8-5 (3-5 Big Ten)
I am really looking forward to September 13, when
When I first started to think about Purdue, I assumed them to be a very mediocre team. From what I’ve read since then, this appears to be an accurate assumption. NYTimes preview had them pegged at 43. And while their senior QB (Curtis Painter) has received a lot of hype, he seems to be the team’s only decent player. Phil Steele’s rankings agree: he ranks Painter #2 in the nation, but ranks every other offensive and defensive unit in the latter half of the Big 10. Really, there are no standouts on the team besides Painter.
Many others have done a more adequate job of breaking down Purdue, and I will not go into that detail. The always great Brian over at MGoBlog has an extensive breakdown that shouldn’t be missed, and Travis over at the OffTheTracks has been previewing all of Purdue’s positions, with very little prejudice. Both previews are worth a read.
Instead, I am going to focus on how
In all likelihood, the Purdue defense line will not be improving. They lost their best player (defensive end Cliff Avril) to the 3rd round of the NFL draft, and none of the replacements (or players still around) seem likely to significantly improve the 54th rushing defense in the country. At linebacker, Purdue lost three of its top four backers. The two names to remember are Jason Werner and Anthony Heygood. Both should be solid linebackers but will not be blowing anyone away. Basically, the front seven of Purdue is incredibly mediocre. This trend continues into the secondary, with a couple of juniors that have been torched early in their careers, and could progress, but it’s hard to predict.
What this means is that
They will be forced to react to the
Granted, we could see the offense implode, but in my mind, this is not likely.
Curtis Painter has garnered much praise. But at this point, he’s a lot like Matt Ryan, and in my opinion, that’s not a good thing. He has a great arm, looks like a pro QB, and puts up gaudy numbers. But, he also throws too many interceptions and has a low pass rating. Though improved last season, this was exaggerated by a horrendous schedule, which included powers like
In the big games, Painter didn’t fare well, with numbers falling across the board. In games against
The rest of the offense is mired in mediocrity as well. Purdue no longer has the strength of receiver they had last season. They have a fairly solid running back tandem, but run the ball less than 40% of the time. Their receivers are nothing to write home about and will have trouble gaining separation downfield from
To move the ball, Purdue will rely on short passes, which may be allowed by the
When I came into this game, I thought it would be fairly close. But as I looked into it, I have very little confidence in any of the positions. The strength and weaknesses of the Purdue team will be able to be exploited by this