Hey there, fellow Boilers.
Long time gawker. First time writer.
Has anybody else been noticing Coach Hazell's cultivation of an expectation or a "swagger", if you will with Purdue football? Granted, there is absolutely nothing by way of record to show for it. However, his calm confidence and handling of matters has been extremely refreshing. In the early phases of his tenure, we have seen some very interesting trends, which I would suggest, are pointing upwards. Consider the following:
1. On the recruiting front, we've recently received "verbals" the likes of Robinson, Blough, Tranquil, etc. Perhaps what I find so great about this is the approach. Have you noticed Coach Hazell use the phrase "State of Purdue"? At first, I thought it was a mere defiance and a cultivation of further disdain for our southern neighbors bearing the state's namesake. However, I later read that the "State of Purdue" encompasses an unidentified 6 state area (likely not all contiguous). Rest assured, it's apparent that one of those states is Indiana. He's locking down the talent from home, and that's outstanding.
2. On a PR front, the man has done what he should, and then some. Upon his arrival, he ran the local circuit in God's Country--you know...frats, sororities, chem labs, pizza joints, playgrounds, old folks homes, flea markets...ok. You get the gist. He's been instrumental in re-shaping game day (resluts TBD), and in advocating for upgrades to Ross-Ade. He's instituted ideas like "The Furnace" and has likely been behind the new "212" football updates. By all accounts he's done great at B1G Media Day. He's also quite "twitter" savvy inasmuch as one can see the players and staff using terms like #onebrickhigher every time a new recruit is landed. Excellent.
3. Perhaps most important, however, is the fact that I really feel a sense of identity being cultivated. Not that we need to be an institution that runs on "catch phrases", but I've not felt this excited about the future perception of our program since the term "Boiler Up" was coined (and yes, I do recall that prhase's infancy). Regardless, Coach Hazell appears to be doing his damndest to give us an identity. And, I love it.
4. Oh...and there's this awesome piece of coaching. That, my friends, is how you get "buy in". You're not "expected" to show up and run through the motions of training camp. You will be invited. Why? Because THIS is special. I hope and feel this is a new era Boilermaker football.
As with many of you, I have tempered expectations for this year. However, the needle appears to be moving on our once stagnant program, and I like what I see thus far.