8.01.2008

2008 BIG TEN PREVIEW: PURDUE

Choo-choo!!!!!! That's right folks, it's the Joe Tiller Farewell Tour coming around the mountain. Unfortunately, one of our favorite Big Ten coaches is going out with a thud as the Boilers have long since fallen from the Big Ten's elite:

2007 Preview: Here
2007 Record: 8-5 (3-5)
Projected 2008 Finish: 7th
Returning Starters: 13
Head Coach: Joe Tiller
Best Player: QB Curtis Painter

Good News:

- Purdue just keeps pumping out quality QBs. Curtis Painter is arguably the Big Ten's best after a monster junior season. He cut way back on his INTs from 2007 and threw for another 4,000 yards.

- The backfield is also loaded with the 1-2 punch of Kory Sheets and Jaycen Taylor. They'll be following the Michigan blueprint and run every play behind LT Sean Sester - a 6-7, 325 lb. monster (you think that's impressive? Their top recruit is a 6-7, 360-lb. tackle. These kids are definitely being created in a lab somewhere.)

- Chris Summers is among the best kickers in the country after a very impressive sophomore year. He missed just one kick under 40 yards.

- After a monster bowl game, DE Keyon Brown is being hyped as the next great Purdue pass-rusher following in the steps of Anthony Spencer and Cliff Avril. Our take: No so fast, my friends.

- The players have to rally around Joe Tiller in his final year - don't they?

Not-So-Good News:

- Did anyone see last year's Motor City Bowl? Dan LeFevour had a field day and the Chips also ran the ball down PU's throat en route to 48 points. The line and MLB Anthony Heygood should be solid, but the rest is a crap shoot. Making matters worse, three of the team's safeties are returning from injury. Expect a lot more shoot-outs in '08 like this one.

- Greg Orton needs to stop underachieving with the departure of WR Dorient Bryant, TE Dustin Keller and WR Selwyn Lymon. The potential is certainly there.

- Point blank: The Boilers have no fight in them, which is odd for a Joe Tiller team. It all turned during a 2005 double overtime loss to Minnesota that started a six-game losing streak. The Boilers have been flat-out embarassed at times (see: 2006 Iowa game, 2007 Michigan game). If Purdue loses to Central Michigan, expect this team to flat-line.

Realety:


Joe Tiller will tell you he's retiring, but it sure feels like a force-out to us with Purdue fans calling for his head. And hiring Eastern Kentucky coach Danny Hope as his replacement is odd to say the least. An FCS coach that lost to Kentucky by 40 last year? We know Jim Tressel worked out great for OSU, but have some respect for yourself, Purdue!

That being said, we've finally come across a team with a real non-conference schedule. Purdue faces Oregon, Central Michigan and Notre Dame. Oregon collapsed down the stretch without Dennis Dixon but looked impressive again in the Sun Bowl. Expect that team to show up in West Lafayette. And we'll find out just how improved the secondary is when Dan LeFevour gets his third shot at the Boiler secondary in a year.

The first half of their schedule is absolutely brutal and, frankly, we expect them to fall down and play dead again. They could make a late push for a bowl bid. Otherwise, pummeling Indiana in the finale will have to suffice as Tiller's last hurrah.

Hopefully at this time next year Lloyd and Joe will be fly-fishing together in Montana and playing gin rummy together.

3 comments:

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