Danny Hope has not yet officially been let go by Purdue University, but the amount of reasons to let him go are mounting. The main reason is a five-game losing streak with the "most talented team" he has had in his tenure and one that was expected to contend for a Big Ten title. As I have said in the past, I can accept losing if we go out and just get beat, but Purdue has gotten blown out and looked completely unprepared for more than a month now.
There are other reasons that we can expect him and the coaching staff to be let go. Both he and offensive coordinator Gary Nord have been quite quotable in recent weeks when it comes to pissing off the fans that essentially pay their salaries. It is more than ridiculous at this point.
I am not the only one questioning if Hope will be gone, either. Hammer & Rails is merely the loudest voice out there. Pat Forde, Pete DiPrimio, and Brian Bennett are also questioning if this is the end.
The joy of having an SB Nation site is that I and the other writers here can speaks as fans. We wouldn't be doing this if we didn't love Purdue, and we're quite frankly pissed off that it has come to this. What follows is a smattering of quote from various coaches, mostly from Nord and Hope, that have actually been stated in recent weeks with some select commentary from me.
"Obviously the fans have a reason to be disappointed - we're very, very disappointed - but I don't let someone who demonstrates himself in a small way set me back a whole lot, if you will. Certainly, I wouldn't let someone that has that small character take my happiness away, I assure you that. It wouldn't be worth it, so it would be beneath me." - Danny Hope
So let me get this straight: By voicing our frustration and displeasure toward a season that you stated could be a very successful one and could result in a Big Ten championship, something that has only happened twice in the last 50+ years of the program, we're acting in a small way and with small character? Wow. We're the team's fans, Danny. No one likes losing and everyone would be frustrated with the way this season turned out. You don't hear Gene Chizek at Auburn, who is 2-7 two years after a National title, responding this way. It just baffles me that it is somehow the fans' fault for being upset with this season. I guess we're supposed to be all sunshine and lollipops after spending more than $1,000 to see your team underperform in nine of the 12 games in person.
"But (players) have families that get on message boards and there's some tough things that are said at times. They are young people. A lot of people that are judgmental to the players are people who never really have enough substance to even come close to accomplishing near what (players) have in their collegiate or athletic lives. So you have to consider the source, most of the time. That's kind of the message we send to our football team. What we want to focus on is winning and having a successful season, and being winners. And it's hard to focus on that if you're focused on losers on the outside looking in." - Danny Hope
First of all, Danny, message boards are pretty much the lowest common denominator when it comes to fandom. Even in successful times players can log onto message boards and see their play ridiculed all the time. A prime example is Travis Carroll, a player who by all evidence is a hard worker and a great kid, but I have seen posts in the GBI forums pretty much screaming that he is a horrible person for even accepting a Division I scholarship.
The open threads here are Hammer & Rails are better, but they can still be a bad place when things are going bad. For the most part I do not get on players in an article unless they royally screw up. I did write extensively about the Caleb TerBush vs. Robert Marve situation, but I was also on record as saying I owed TerBush an apology when it became apparent this past weekend that the infamous Nordfense wasn't working for Marve either.
I try to stay away from bashing the players because they are still kids in their early 20's. They are doing what they can and on a team such as this one where it becomes more obvious every week that they are not being put in the best position to succeed. Dwayne Beckford getting a fourth arrest in a two year period is worthy of a proper public shaming. Poor play on the field is not.
In the end though, isn't it the coaches responsibility to teach and coach these guys up to ignore this stuff? Basically, Hope is saying here that fans bashing players on sites like mine and the GBI forums are the reason that players have their heads down and aren't performing well. Once again, it is deflecting the blame to something that can't possibly be the coach's fault. In a way, he is blaming the players too for being too sensitive to what the fans say!
"Sometimes you have to take what the defense gives you and sometimes that's short/intermediary routes." - Danny Hope
Yep, we have problems blocking, so let's rely on plays like bubble screens where blocking needs to be perfect. Brilliant! Also, I thought the point of a good offense was to get a defense to react to you, not to see what they are doing and try to react. I guess USC's defense was really generous in giving Oregon 700+ yards last week with all that talent the Trojans recruit every year.
"It's hard to focus on being winners if you worry about losers on the outside." - Danny Hope
This is in reference to internet criticism again. Once again, Purdue fans are losers in this man's eyes.
"Numbers may not indicate it, but 'running game has improved some." - Danny Hope
We wouldn't know, Danny. You've barely even tried to run the ball while the last two games have been competitive even after two early big runs by Akeem Shavers.
"Even though we don't like where it's at or where it's been, it's developing & shows promise." - Danny Hope
IT'S GETTING WORSE EVERY STINKING WEEK!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! TerBush threw for 295 yards against Marshall, then 105, 80, 230, and 49 before getting benched in favor of Marve. Marve went 43, 43, DNP, 97, and 138 in his first start. We've had one week in five where the starting quarterback threw for more than 140 yards, all while the running game has done very little. How the f*** is this improvement?
"Injuries to key positions at same time as competition is greatest." - Danny Hope
This is Hope on the biggest reason the season has turned. I just have to shake my head. Two years ago we were about four plays from having me play at quarterback but Purdue, but the Boilers started Big Ten play 2-0 and was competitive against Wisconsin, Michigan, and Michigan State during the worst of the injury run before running out of gas late. In all three of those games Purdue was leading or at least close at halftime.
Here are this season's major injuries:
O.J. Ross - turf toe - Was Purdue's leading receiver when he got hurt, but again, Macarthy has performed well in his starts.
Ricardo Allen - ankle - Has been playing hurt, but is still playing and missed only one game, at Ohio State.
Brandon Taylor - leg - He only plays at one of the deepest and strongest positions on the team.
Kawann Short - ankle - I'll concede this one, but he only missed most of one game.
Robert Marve - knee - Has consistently been the best QB while playing hurt.
Sorry, but compared to what this team did with less talent and more injuries to seemingly every offensive skill player at one point in 2010, plus with three starting QBs on the roster instead of a true freshman starting, the injury excuse does not fly.
"If we win out and go to the postseason, that's a successful season." - Danny Hope
No, Danny, it will NOT be a successful season. Not when we had Big Ten title dreams and now the best we can do is match last season. In fact, we can't even do that because Purdue was 4-4 in the Big Ten last year and at least beat two bowl eligible teams.
This next one is a two-parter.
"We did not protect the QB near as well as we needed to."
"If we'd not changed a single block all day but caught the football, we'd have moved the sticks." - Danny Hope
This was in the news conference after the Penn State game where he managed to somehow contradict himself in consecutive quotes. ‘We didn't protect (hence BLOCK) well, but I wouldn't change a single block if we had just caught the ball.'
I'll leave this place for you to break something tasteful as you also think about the dozen or so blocks that were missed on plays where we did catch passes.
"I really believe, and people around here will see what I'm talking about, I think the strength of the football team is the quarterback spot. I have total confidence in that position. The way they've been practicing the last couple of weeks, it hasn't carried over to the game, but they've been practicing very well." - Gary Nord
Well, if we can ever convince teams to play us in the Mollenkopf I am sure we'll be a juggernaut. Soon there will be so few fans coming we can have games inside!
"I've committed my life to this thing for 32 years, and I've been coaching quarterbacks for 28 years and I've had these quarterbacks in the system for three years. There's nobody more qualified to say who should be playing on the field than I am. I don't listen to the critics. They don't see anything except a few plays. I see them every day." - Gary Nord
At least we now know it is not the quarterbacks after the Penn State game and your ridiculous fetish with the screen passes, especially since we blocked so well, but didn't protect the quarterback.
"At any point in time, a very talented Purdue football team may or may not be as talented as a very talented Ohio State football team, a very talented Purdue football team may or may not be as talented as a very talented Michigan or very talented Wisconsin or Penn State football team. That's who we've been playing as of late." - Danny Hope
But Danny, you said this was your most talented team yet! This just sounds like another way to blame the players because if it wasn't a talent issue then whose problem would it be?
That's just about all I can stomach at the moment. It is pretty clear that Hope and Nord have lost the team because they insist that their plans just aren't being executed right and they have clearly lost the fans if they are taking potshots at them.
Only three more games.