It is time for the mailbag! I asked for questions from you readers and you did not disappoint. Let's get started!
Who do you think could be a surprise impact player this football season? My guess is Danny Anthrop and his breakaway speed. - Grant Evans
I think we're going to see some surprises along the offensive line as many of the redshirt freshmen are pushing seniors to start. Jordan Roos seems to have solidified himself at right guard while J.J. Prince is pushing Kevin Pamphile and Justin Kitchens hard at tackle. Given that Robert Kugler is only a sophomore and entrenched at center, Purdue is building a young line that could be very, very good in a year or two.
On the defense I think it is very noteworthy that Andy Garcia has clearly ousted a three-year starter in Will Lucas at outside linebacker. It is not very often that a redshirt freshman comes in and takes a job from a long-time starter like that/
How big of a surprise is Ulis leaving Purdue out of his final 4 schools? Also, any updates on Isaac Haas or Vince Edwards? - Sam Hoffman
This isn't surprising, as Ulis has been vocal about his preference for Michigan State almost from the beginning. As for Edwards and Haas, there is no major news. Haas still has his visit upcoming and Edwards wants to make his decision by the early signing period, which begins on November 13.
What is going on with Carlos Carvajal? I haven't seen any updates on his progress at TE or anywhere else. - Jeremy (Kodiak33)
Your guess is as good as mine. He is listed as a tight end, but most projections have Gabe Holmes as the No. 1 guy and Justin Sinz at No. 2. Sterling Carter is primarily a blocking TE, and Patrick Bade has even gotten some looks in goal line situations. That is four upperclassmen that Carvajal is battling, but as a 4-star talent at a place that doesn't get many I would expect more out of Carvajal, especially coming off of a redshirt.
Thanks for everything you do. While I'm psyched about football season, I haven't seen much of anything about McIntosh's hoops offer on the site. Is it newsworthy or not? -- Andy Wesdorp
I think it is pretty significant because McIntosh is a rising player in the state of Indiana. To me, it is more about his heart than his talent. he's a good player, but last season when I saw him int he 3A state championship game he took it over with his team trailing and willed them back into it. His team trailed by 11 (39-28) with about five minutes left in the third quarter and he had 13 points and two assists in the second half and overtime alone. His only three of the game sent it to overtime with 28 seconds left and he had seven of Greensburg's last nine points in regulation. The kid is simply a scrapper and a winner, and those guys have always found a home at Purdue.
I just read on a H&R article that your birthday is October 12(day of the Neb-Pur game) and then realized that hey, that's my birthday too. We share the same date of birth, we're both Purdue fanatics. So I must ask, is it my destiny to become a Purdue blogger?(I wouldn't mind that). Are the stars aligning? Will you be up at RossAde for the game like me on the big day? - Michael
Hey, maybe it is! I have season tickets so I will be there and there is often a place for new writers here.
@HammerAndRails After a few days of practice, who do you think will win the quarterback battle?— Jason Naunas (@lostinatown) August 9, 2013
I think it is going to be Rob Henry. The coaches want to win now if they can and his experience is something that cannot be overlooked. We all like Danny Etling, but so far he has had issues with interceptions in camp. Austin Appleby did get some run with the No. 1 offense today finally, but Henry has taken most of the first team snaps so far. I think Henry wins, Appleby battles Etling all season for the backup slot with the possibility of Etling redshirtting if he doesn't play, and we get to do this three-way battle again next year when David Blough comes on board.
@HammerAndRails guess Notre Dame's record vs. The B1G this year? Any L's unlike last year?— Kevin Bertolini (@kbertolini) August 9, 2013
It is the year where the Irish have to go to Michigan and Purdue, plus Michigan State practically owns them in South Bend, but Notre Dame is still a good team. Michigan State's defense is great, but the offense is far from it. I think they go 2-1 with Michigan getting the win. I'd love for Purdue to upset them in West Lafayette and I think it can happen, but my head says ND wins that one. Still, I have a funny feeling that something special may happen that night.
@HammerAndRails which games are the most critical for the mindset of the team and fans?— Jimmy Zamorski (@Zamo1142) August 9, 2013
Great question! I think people are excited about the Cincinnati game because it is our first chance to see what the new coaching staff looks like and it comes against a good team on the road. The Notre Dame game is always big, especially as the lone night game Morgan is going to let us have. I am excited about playing Ohio State, mostly because their fans are awfully cocky after last year and I want to see if we can maintain our bizarre hex over them in West Lafayette. if we do it will really knock them down a peg, especially with no chance at redemption until at least 2018 unless we meet in the Big Ten title game.
In terms of getting to a bowl game I think it is critical for Purdue to beat the four I teams on its schedule. Indiana State is an FCS team, Iowa and Illinois are an offensive mess, and it is always embarrassing to lose to Indiana. Win those four and I think Hazell finds two more wins somewhere, but it won't be easy.
@HammerAndRails What is best guess on when/how the MBB class of 2014 will fill out. Who is first domino to fall that starts the run?— Scott Engelken (@PurdueToes) August 9, 2013
Well, we have Mathias on board so we already have a head start somewhat. I do think we're going to get Vince Edwards in the end and that he will be next. Realistically, I think that leaves Purdue with a four man class as coach Painter banks a scholarship for 2015. He may not, however, since there are a lot of rumblings that A.J. Hammons is gone with a solid season. If Painter gets either Steve McElevene or Isaac Haas that serves as Hammons insurance and can lead to a five-man class (which leaves no one to get in 2015 unless Hammons or someone else leaves).
I would love to land Trevon Bluiett, but I still don't see it happening. Even then, we're still alive there so you never know. I would also like to get P.J. Thompson as a solid backup to Ronnie Johnson, but I also want Hyron Edwards in 2015.
In the end, my dream class is Mathias, Edwards, Haas, Bluiett, and possibly Thompson if it goes to five. I would be happy though with Mathias, Edwards, McElevene, and McIntosh though with Thompson as a possible fifth member. That's a good, but not great class.
@HammerAndRails What are the chances Blackmon ends up in Gold and Black?— Matthew A. Tandy (@TandyLawFirm) August 9, 2013
Somewhere between slim and none, but if it did happen the IU fanbase would completely lose its shit. We don't even know who is going after him now since he has been an IU commit for three years. SB Nation said no one else has contacted him, but it is definitely worth a phone call from coach Painter. i would love to see it happen just for chaos purposes, especially if he lit them up for like 35 in Bloomington in his first visit.
@HammerAndRails I know it's early in camp, but are you as puzzled as I am with the kicking game? I counted on that being our 'no worries'— Dee Rietz (@drietz5) August 9, 2013
I am not too worried yet. Both Paul Griggs and Sam McCartney have done well in practice and coach Hazell has said he may use both depending on the distance of the kick. After the number of blocked kicks last year I am more concerned with protection for them.