2009 Purdue Boilermakers Football Preview
2008 Record: (4-8, 2-6)
2008 Bowl: none
Coach: Danny Hope (First year at Purdue, 35-22 overall)
Offensive Coordinator: Gary Nord
Defensive Coordinator: Donn Landhom
Other Key Returnees: LB Chris Carlino, G Eric Hedstrom, LB Joe Holland, OT Zach Jones, CB Brandon King, DT Mke Neal, CB David Pender, G Ken Plue, OT Zach Reckman
Key Losses: DT Ryan Baker, C Cory Benton, S Frank Duong, LB Anthony Heygood, DE Alex Mape, WR Greg Orton, QB Curtis Painter, RB Kory Sheets, K Chris Summers, WR Desmond Tardy, TE Jerry Wasikowski, WR Brandon Whittington
Coach Joe Tiller’s career went out with a whimper as his Purdue team failed to reach a bowl game. And the immediate future does not look too bright either as the offense has to replace just about all of their experienced skill players. Coach Danny Hope was on the sidelines last year so the transition from one coaching staff to another should be quite smooth, but this a group that needs an upgrade in talent before they can start thinking about becoming a force in the Big Ten.
Few teams had trouble running against the Boilermakers in 2008 as the team ranked last in the conference giving up 174.83 yards per game. End Ryan Kerrigan did a fine job getting into the backfield as a sophomore and Purdue will have to rely on him to consistently disrupt the opposing offense. They also need tackle Mike Neal to use his experience and help the rest of the young line do a better job of stopping the run. Having Chris Carlino and Joe Holland, and possibly Jason Werner if he can stay healthy, back in the middle of the defense should make things a little better for the run defense. The best unit on the defense last year was the secondary. Free safety Torri Williams is a superstar in waiting and corners Brandon King and David Pender are quality players. The defense might not end up being very good, but they cannot be much worse than they were last year.
The only good news on the offensive side of the ball is the return of four starting linemen. Quarterback Curtis Painter is gone and so are his three best receivers in Greg Orton, Desmond Tardy and Brandon Whittington. And even running back Kory Sheets, who tallied 1,131 yards and 16 touchdowns on the ground has run out of eligibility. That leaves a whole slew of holes to fill. Joey Elliott is the most experienced quarterback, but Caleb Terbush is an interesting option who took advantage of Elliott’s shoulder injury in the spring and did a decent job filling in for him. It is still Elliott’s job to lose, but Terbush will give him a good push in the fall. Receiver Aaron Valentin and Keith Smith are the likely candidates to be the team’s top receiver. Valentin came on strong at the end of last season, but the senior has still only caught 11 passes during his collegiate career at Purdue.
The Bottom Line for the Boilermakers:
While the passing attack works its way back into the swing of things, Purdue will have to depend on the ground game. Coach Hope would prefer to spread the ball out by passing it…just like Purdue usually does, but they still have to mix things up every once in a while and leave the ball on the ground. And finding somebody who can replace Sheets and at least be a threat to run is just as important as finding a quarterback and a few wide receivers.
By Joel Welser
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