Head Coach: Darrell Hazell 1st
“In a Word”…transformer…Danny Hope could never seemingly make up his mind with his offense…there were times he wanted to throw all over and there were times when he wanted to run the ball right at you. We should see more pro set formations this season.. Afterall, if first year head coach Darrell Hazell has his druthers, he would love to do nothing but run the ball. I mean he is from the Jim Tressel coaching tree where passing the ball is very exciting, but ridiculously risky. QB Rob Henry is being challenged by true freshman Danny Etling who is a pure dropback-style passer. Hazell wants a big O line, two TE’s and a power running game. I really think this team will go as far as HB Akeem Hunt will take them. With three starters back on the O line and some very limited experience with the WR’s, this doesn’t bode well with a new head coach, a new OC and either a true freshman QB or a senior QB who doesn’t really fit the offense you are trying to run…that may be too many factors that will contribute to a down season in West Lafayette. I could be wrong, it all could gel very quickly…but that won’t happen.
“In a Word”…strength…nine starters return here and it will help Purdue with one of the conference’s best D lines…Bruce Gaston will emerge from the shadow of Kawann Short and may have an even bigger season. The Boilers will rotate often between a 3-4 and a 4-3 based on situations, but either way whomever is on the line will have no lack of experience. Gaston, Ryan Isaac, Michael Rouse, Brandon Taylor and Ryan Russell….they’ve all played at Ross Ade before. The LB unit, for the past few seasons has been…hmmm…lackluster? Seems like they are just missing that one guy who can be out there in all types of situations and can make a lot of tackles…when I type it like that it just sounds basic and elemental….but it’s true. They need a Ryan Shazier or a Mike Mauti…a guy you just feel awful about taking off the field. It needs to begin with MLB Joe Gilliam. The secondary could be one of the better ones in the Big Ten. All four starters return and they all have a lot of experience…led by Ricardo Allen. It seems like I have been touting him for a decade, but he is almost the complete package..he is just 5’9”…but this entire unit is going to have to be the backbone until the LB corp works out its identity. The defense is going to have to win games for Purdue in 2013..because the offense will be short on…for lack of a better term..offense.
Purdue 2013 Schedule
The Boilers are one of only two Big Ten teams in 2013 that open the season on the road….they open at Cincinnati. Indiana State and Notre Dame then come to Ross Ade…then a trip to Madison briefly interrupts the nonconference schedule as the following week sees the Northern Illinois Huskies come to West Lafayette for Purdue’s homecoming. After the bye week, Purdue gets a visit from Nebraska and then travels to East Lansing…after another bye, the Boilers round out the season with two at home vs Ohio State & Iowa…a roadie at Penn State…the final home game vs Illinois and closing the regular season on the road at Indiana. They may win two of their nonconference games…they might be able to beat Illinois and Iowa at home…and who knows what could happen in the battle for the Old Oaken Bucket…but other than those specifically mentioned..it looks like a typical first year uphill battle for coach Darrell Hazell.
Purdue Could’s, Should’s and Will’s
Purdue could go winless on the road in 2013.
The Boilermakers should be much better at running the football this season.
The Boilers will go through a seven week span in which they play only one road game and have two byes in 2013.
To receive an email each time I post a Big Ten Football article, fill out the Email Notification Form
You can also follow me on Twitter @isportsChad