USA TODAY Sports
The Big East (finally) released the Football schedule for the Bearcats last Wednesday. To celebrate the occasion, however belatedly, we here at Down The Drive are taking an opponent by opponent look at all 12 programs on the docket for 2013, starting with Purdue
|Name||Purdue University Boilermakers|
|Location||West Lafayette, Indiana|
|Head Coach||Darrell Hazell|
2012 In Four Sentences Or Less
The Boilermakers started the season with three big wins against nondescript opponents in the first four games sandwiched around a Notre Dame blowout loss. When September ended Purdue went win less for the month of October, a five game losing streak that almost certainly cost Danny Hope his job. The Boilers did rally with three wins down the stretch to become bowl eligible. Said bowl game put Purdue to the sword of Oklahoma State.
Who Is Coming Back?
Of the 48 positions listed on the Boilers depth chart for the conclusion of 2012 season only 14 of them were held by seniors. 70 percent of last years depth chart will be suiting up against the Bearcats in August. They did loose 8 senior starters, including their less than dynamic Quarterbacking duo of Robert Marve and Caleb TerBush, and the actually dynamic Akeem Shavers. The new QB, be it Austin Appleby or Danny Etling, will be operating behind an experienced offensive line.
The defense will return 8 of 11 starters from the 2012 season, so that's good. Not good, the Boilers 2012 defense which ranked 9th or worse in the Big 10 in every defensive category, including an 11th ranked mark in total defense. That group will be better with more experience, its a question of how much better.
What Will They Run?
Judging by the coaching staff assembled they will run an unholy amalgamation of disparate ideas and theory's with an underlying idea of how they want to attack defenses. On defense they will run a 4-3 as their base, but it will be slightly more interesting than that. Greg Hudson worked at FSU for the last three years, but he got his start on the defensive side of the ball in 1997 under then UC defensive coordinator Rex Ryan. So yeah, blitzes will be in the playbook.
Can You Wrap This Up? I Have Things To Do
Darrell Hazell was, up until 2007 or so, a journeyman assistant with stops at Penn, Oberlin College (twice), Eastern Illinois, Rutgers and West Virgina. That changed when he got a job at Ohio State where he became Jim Tressell's ace recruiter. He stayed with Ohio State for seven seasons, by far his longest stay in his career before moving onto Kent State.
His first year at Kent State was a bit sub par, as are most head coaches first years at Kent State* But he turned that around last year. Trayion Durham and Dri Archer became arguably the most potent running force in the country and the pair carried Kent State to the best season in school history riding a veritable avalanche of turnovers.
* The last time a coach had a winning season in his first year at Kent was 1946. Even Don James was a loser at the start
Hazell cashed in on his big season with the Purdue job. His first job will be to revive a Purdue program that has atrophied badly under Danny Hope. Its hard to imagine, but there was once a time when teams feared Purdue because of their offense. Purdue has the pieces to enable Hazell to get the ship pointed in the right direction again, but it isn't some small course correction, its a massive job.