2011 Record: (7-6, 4-4 in Big Ten)
Head Coach: Danny Hope (51-43 All-Time, 16-21 at Purdue)
Last Bowl Game: 2011 Liittle Caesars Bowl: beat WMU 37-32
Must Win: 9/1 vs Eastern Kentucky, 9/15 vs EMU, 9/29 vs Marshall, 10/27 at Minnesota, 11/24 vs Indiana
Revenge: 9/8 at Notre Dame, 10/6 vs Michigan, 10/13 vs Wisconsin, 11/3 vs Penn St, 11/10 at Iowa
Swing Games: 10/20 at Ohio State, 11/17 at Illinois
Stat to Cheer: scored 7.2 more points in 2011 vs 2010
Stat to Fear: gave up 205 plays of 10 or more yards in 2011 (last in B1G, 106th in Nation)
Phil Steele’s Returning Starters: (Offense: 8; Defense: 7; Specialists: 1)
Key Defensive Returnees: LB Dwayne Beckford (90 tackles, 3 sacks), LB Will Lucas (81 tackles), DE Kawann Short (54 tackles, 6.5 sacks), CB Ricardo Allen (79 tackles, 3 INT), DT Bruce Gaston (29 tackles, 3 sacks)
Key Offensive Returnees: QB Caleb TerBush (13 TD, 6 INT), WR Antavian Edison (44 rec, 3 TD), RB Ralph Bolden (674 yards rush, 6 TD), RB Akeem Shavers (519 yards rush, 6 TD)
Inside Scoop with Boiled Sports:
CFBZ: Purdue had a two-QB system last year. Is that the plan again this year or will their be on guy calling the shots behind center for the Boilermakers?
Boiled Sports: All indicators point to TerBush and Marve both getting a share of the snaps this season. But, before this season, Marve hasn’t had a healthy off-season…and we think this will should quickly separate him from TerBush. Marve has always had a better arm and been a more-dynamic athlete…even when sub-100%, but TerBush made better decisions last season, and I think that kept Marve from becoming the starter in ’11.
For Purdue to be better than a Little Caesars Bowl-type of team, we believe one of them has to step up and become the clear #1…the problem is, right now, the coaches say it’s TerBush, and we just don’t see him as a guy that make plays when the team needs offensive punch. Game managing QBs are typically opposite defenses like the ’85 Bears…this Purdue defense has a ton of question marks, so it’s tough to see a super-conservative QB as leading this squad to Indianapolis.
CFBZ: What area do you see as the biggest weakness on the team right now?
Boiled Sports: While we like Danny Hope’s positive attitude, we still struggle with what we saw on the field last season. Stupid penalties and poor situational awareness ran rampant for our Boilers last season. We wanted to see changes in the off-season and many were made to the staff…we’re hoping a defensive overhaul will help this coaching staff improve, but that’s yet to be seen.
The LB corps is also a place where there’s a ton of concern…especially if Lucas or Beckford get nicked up. There will most-assuredly be at least one newcomer playing a significant role in this unit…and the two-deeps are scary, at this point.
Lastly, Purdue is in desperate need of a possession receiver or go-to TE to emerge. Justin Siller had consistant hands and a large frame, but graduated. Purdue now is left with a ton of speedy, small receivers…we look for TE, Gabe Holmes to make some noise since he seems healthy and has always had good size and athleticism.
CFBZ: Purdue is getting some hype as a possibly darkhorse in the Big Ten. What needs to happen for Purdue to contend in their half of the B1G?
Boiled Sports: At Boiled Sports, we think that this scenario is a pretty long shot…but there are Purdue fans that disagree with us. But, if it’s going to happen, new DC, Tibesar’s defense has to be sound immediately. On top of that, Robert Marve simply must become the clear-cut #1 and Hope needs to abandon the 60/40 two QB system.
CFBZ: What is your gut feeling on the final record for 2012 and what makes the season successful in your eyes?
Boiled Sports: We’re split on this- one of us sees a losing record, the other sees a winning record…So I’ll average it out and say 6-7 wins would probably be a fair, composite prediction from us. Another 6 win season will probably lead to another half-empty Ross-Ade Stadium and force Burke, Purdue’s AD, to look for another coach.
According to Phil Steele, Purdue has the second most experienced team in the Big Ten behind Michigan. Purdue returns their QBs, their two leading rushers and their leading receiver (and three of their top four receivers). The offense should have a lot of familiarity with each other and I think a minimum expectation would be for the offense to continue it’s improvement that was started last year.
The defense loses it’s leading tackler but returns six of their top ten tacklers, three of their top four sackers and their leading interceptor. This looks like a defense that should at least maintain their performance from last year.
From a scheduling standpoint the Boilermakers do have the benefit of not playing Michigan State and Nebraska (two of the top five teams in the B1G). The big question that Boiled Sports alluded to is if Danny Hope and his staff are cut out for the job. We should have a pretty good idea after this year as Hope will have been on campus for an entire four year cycle.
2012 Prediction: 7-5
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