Posted by: marcmwm | May 30, 2009

Big Ten four downs: Purdue

 

A mob of Iowa and Purdue plays leap for a last second Purdue pass into the endzone at the end of the fourth quarter at Kinnick Stadium in Cedar Rapids on Saturday, November 15, 2008. The pass was incomplete and allowed the Hawkeyes to escape with a 22-17 victory. (Cliff Jette/The Gazette)

A mob of Iowa and Purdue plays leap for a last second Purdue pass into the endzone at the end of the fourth quarter at Kinnick Stadium in Cedar Rapids on Saturday, November 15, 2008. The pass was incomplete and allowed the Hawkeyes to escape with a 22-17 victory. (Cliff Jette/The Gazette)

QUICK LOOK BACK: The Boilermakers said goodbye to Joe Tiller, who, arguably, could be called Purdue’s “Hayden Fry.” Tiller ushered in success in what could be called the new era of college football. Yes, it didn’t end well, but Tiller’s teams were always a tough out for Iowa and Kirk Ferentz, who compiled a 5-3 record against Tiller. Tiller brought the “basketball on grass” spread philosophy to the Big Ten. New coach Danny Hope seems to be in line with the spread, but the Boilers’ skill positions emptied out, with QB Curtis Painter, RB Kory Sheets and WRs Desmond Tardy and Greg Orton gone. The ’09 looks to be one of those “lay the foundation” years in West Lafayette.

FOURTH DOWN — CONCERNS: Purdue might have a problem at QB. Joey Elliott is finally getting his shot after three seasons as a backup, but he might be No.1 through default. Justin Siller, who performed well at the end of last season, was dismissed from school because of an academic policy violation. He would’ve pushed Elliott, who’s coming off shoulder surgery, if not won the job outright. Elliott’s charge is showing that it’s not a default situation. Without Siller, there’s not much competition at the position, with freshman Caleb TerBush being next in line. Perhaps there’s a shift in the Purdue paradigm coming. The Boilers are potentially loaded at running back, with senior Jaycen Taylor coming back from an ACL. Miami (Fla.) transfer Robert Marve will have to sit a year.

THIRD DOWN — STRENGTHS: It could very well be running back. Taylor suffered the ACL in training camp and sat out last season. He’s got a resume with the No. 1 bullet point being his 5.62 yards a carry, fourth on Purdue’s career list. The Boilers will also have heralded freshman Al-Tarek McBurse available. He enrolled early but wasn’t able to participate in spring practice because he wasn’t certified by the NCAA eligibility center. He rushed for 2,238 yards and 23 TDs as a senior at Winter Springs (Fla.) High School. Sophomore Ralph Bolden had 420 rushing yards during spring scrimmages. DE Ryan Kerrigan will carry the banner on defense. He had seven sacks last fall.

SECOND DOWN — THE TALK: “Last year Joey competed with Curtis Painter for his job during the season. A lot of people, they’re only aware of what (Elliott) hasn’t done. He hasn’t thrown for 10,000 yards. He was injured, and we were concerned where his shoulder was at. We were very pleased where he was at when spring started and we’re very excited where he was at when spring ended. He has a lot of zip on the ball.” — Purdue coach Danny Hope on QB Joey Elliott.

“With the knowledge and the information I’ve learned through three different quarterback coaches here at Purdue, and two different offensive coordinators and two different head coaches, I feel I’ll be equipped for all different things when I get out there.” — QB Joey Elliott told ESPN.com’s Adam Rittenberg.

FIRST DOWN — THE PLAY: The Boilers finished 4-8 and have a new coach. This is a retooling, pure and simple. But is it a philosophical shift? This Purdue team is built to block and tackle, not pass and pass. The O-line returns four starters; the D-line has two back but a pretty good two (Kerrigan and DT Mike Neal). The defense has a shot to be a stable. The offense might be a tough go with so little experience among the skill players. Hope seems to have the same steam that Ron Zook used to pump Illinois from 2-10 in 2006 to 9-4 and the Rose Bowl in ’07. He’s feeding enthusiasm and energy into the system and, judging from interviews, Purdue players seem to be buying in. That’s good for the future. Right now, there are too many holes.

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