FRISCO TX - JANUARY 06: Head coach Tony Samuel of Southeast Missouri State stands by a life size cut-out after winning the 2010 Eddie Robinson Award during the 24th Annual Football Championship Subdivision Awards on January 6 2011 in Frisco Texas. (Photo by Tom Pennington/Getty Images)
It is a hard time being a Purdue football fan right now. I am firmly in the boat where I support the players 100%, but some of the coaching decisions (timeout management, player misuse, and J.B. Gibboney in general) are maddening. Why is Ralph Bolden getting only five touches in the first three quarters? Why is Carson Wiggs kicking the ball out of the end zone, but not getting the chance to try long field goals? Why is Antavian Edison not getting more looks? WHY THE F^$% DO WE NOT COVER THE F*)#*&% MIDDLE OF THE FIELD ON THIRD AND LONG!?!?!?!?!?
Unfortunately, I cannot change these things. I can only bitch about them on a blog that I am blessed to have an audience as large as it is. You guys are as masochistic as I am when it comes to Purdue football, because it is certainly not my writing that brings everyone back here every day.
It is clear this team is at a crossroads, and so are the fans. We can do two things: completely give up on the 2011 season or suck it up and move forward. We all agree that the Rice loss was awful, but there are ten games left. I am getting behind this team as much as I can and not giving up hope of a bowl game until the seventh loss is secured. There is still some faith out there, as referenced by Boiled Sports writer Teddy:
As crazy as it sounds, we can still do something about it. If this team is going to grow from the Rice loss step one is this week at home against an opponent we should defeat easily.
2010 Record: 9-3
Bowl Result: Lost 37-17 in FCS Playoffs to Eastern Washington
Blog Representation: None
Series with Purdue: First Meeting
Robert Marve is cleared and will likely play. The question is does he start? I've been satisfied overall with the play of Caleb TerBush. He is 2-0 as a starter right now if we simply block better, regardless of all the other issues. More importantly, we have one turnover through two games. Matt Scheible was 14 of 23 in the opener against Southern Illinois with 144 yards and a TD. He was also mobile with 91 yards rushing. They still lost 38-10 to a ranked FCS team that was later handled easily by Mississippi. If we shut him down, we shut down their offense. Period. Edge: Purdue
This is a message as clear as I can make it for us: Run. The. Damn. Ball. Ralph Bolden and Akeem Shavers are each averaging almost six yards per carry. If Ken Plue ever gets off of super-secret double probation they'll have a massive bulldozer plowing the way and they can get even more yards. Bolden would have scored a touchdown easily last week against a tired defense if we hadn't quit once he carried it inside the 10. SEMO gave up 240 yards rushing to SIU and their backs had 26 yards rushing. Scheible was their offense on the ground in game 1. I repeat, this was against an FCS team too. If we don't have our way with them on the ground and completely shut down their running game there is a major problem. Overwhelming, Gigantic edge: Purdue
I have been pleasantly surprised with the development of Crosby Wright at tight end. Antavian Edison has been a game breaker that needs 4-5 catches per game. Justin Siller, O.J. Ross, and Gary Bush have been solid as well. Now is the time to put it all together. SEMO counters Aaron King (4-34) and D.J. Foster (3-29-1) as their top guys. I'd feel good if Tyler McHargue hadn't shredded us on third down over the middle this week. I am to the point where I wish team would through over the middle on every single play until we prove we can stop it just to make us adjust. Edge: Purdue
I cannot believe we have given up eight sacks and have only registered one so far. That is unacceptable, and they are no on TerBush. I'd rather he take a sack than force an errant throw that gets intercepted. The protection has been unreliable at best, and don't get me started on false starts and holds. SEMO gave up just one sack in the opener, but surrendered seven tackles for loss and generated nothing on the ground other than Scheible running for his life. At least we can run block. Edge: Purdue
Our run defense hasn't been that bad, and credit goes to Kawann Short and Bruce Gaston for playing strong in the middle. Robert Maci has emerged recently as a disruptive end that will likely get more time. Gerald Gooden has nine tackles and has been good on the end against the run. It is time for these guys to get into the backfield. SEMO had zero sacks, only four tackles for loss, and gave up 494 yards in its one game so far. That says all I need to know. Edge: Purdue
Joe Holland is what he is. He's a sure tackler and solid player that lacks in pass coverage, but we don't scheme to cover that weakness. Will Lucas is a tackling machine on the edge. Our weakness is, once again, in the middle where we absolutely have to have a linebacker that can react in coverage or step up against the run. I don't know if Dwayne Beckford fails to read the quarterback or what, but as THE guy in the middle of the field he has to perform better. SEMO's Blake Peiffer had 12 tackles in the opener. Edge: Purdue
Ricardo Allen and Josh Johnson have been more than solid on the edge with eight tackles. Albert Evans is near the top in tackles with 13, but I am wondering why on earth Landon Feichter has emerged ahead of Logan Link and other scholarship guys at the other safety position. Our safeties are virtually nonexistent in pass coverage so far. SEMO did not get a pick and gave up 254 yards on 15 of 19 passing, so there will be open receivers. Edge: Purdue
We have an excellent sophomore punter averaging almost 50 yards per kick, a unit that has excelled at downing punts inside the five so far (nine punts out of 14 inside the 20), and a kicker with the range of an ICBM. We also have J.B Gibboney, a man that cannot figure out blocking schemes to save his life and whose best kickoff coverage is having Carson kick it out of the stadium. Carson's range is useless if we're afraid to have him try kicks from 50 yards or more, or if he gets blocked by a guy breaking through the middle. Drew Geldbach hit is only field goal attempt in SEMO's opener, while Joe Vucic averaged over 43 yards per punt. We should also keep an eye out for O.J. Ross and Waynelle Gravesande on returns. They'll have room to do something special. Edge: Purdue
You know my thoughts about Purdue in this area by now. SEMO coach Tony Samuel was once our defensive ends coach in 2005, sent a few guys to the NFL, and turned around a moribund program last year to take them to the FCS playoffs. Edge: Southeast Missouri State
This once again falls under the rule that no Big Ten team ever has a valid excuse to lose to an FCS team. Their offense did next to nothing against a good Southern Illinois that would still lose by 20 to most FBS teams. SEMO, as good as they were, lost to Ball State last year. It took the FCS eventual National Champion to put them out of the playoffs, and that team was just handled easily by Washington. We have overwhelming edges in talent, depth, and experience. I just don't see this even being close unless something goes horribly wrong. In fact, I'll take it as a sign of improvement if we clobber them and don't make this game much closer than it should be considering the first two games have been just that. For once Saturday at least we should enjoy a nice, relaxed, easy win. Purdue 37, SEMO 10.