As a side note we're reaching for the stars here at Off the Tracks. On a lark I applied for a Motor City Bowl media credential yesterday. I know the chances are slim that I'll get it based on the journalistic integrity of this enterprise, but if I do then I may be making the trip from Indy to Detroit for the game, so stay tuned...1. What was your biggest surprise of the season (positive)?
Chris Summers. I said this earlier in the week, but nothing was expected of him and we had even recruited a good high school kicker under the premise of "We'll grit our teeth through one more season of him and then make him punt." Chris had a great year and it is my hope that when he does double duty next season it won't adversely affect him.
2. What was your biggest disappointment of the season?
The Michigan State game. If we simply make defensive adjustments we win easily.
3. What are you excited about for the '08 season?
The Oregon game. I love to see different teams come into Ross-Ade that don't visit very often. I'm also strongly considering going on the return trip to Autzen in 2009 because I hear it is an awesome place to watch a game. I need to go just to get to the bottom of their train whistle they blow after scores.
4. What are you least looking forward to in the '08 season?
Much like the guys at Boiled Sports, I am dreading the inevitable collapse. It will probably happen at Notre Dame when we blow another late lead in South Bend, allowing the legend of Jimmy Montana to blossom.
5. What effect, if any, will a bowl have on Purdue's football program?
Well, a loss would be a huge setback, even compared to what has already happened. WE simply should not lose to a team we've already beaten by 23.
6. How and when will Joe Tiller's career end at Purdue?
I agree that next year is most likely Tiller's last year, and barring a winless season he will become Purdue's all-time leader in coaching wins.
7. Who frustrated you the most this season?
Brock Spack. I am tired of having a defense that simply refuses to make obvious adjustments. This cost us the last two games of the season. A close second is our "highly talented" receiving corps. For being as good as they were made out to be they sure dropped a TON of passes in big spots. Bryant, Orton, Lymon, and even Keller were guilty of this.
8. What team and/or player opponent of Purdue this season was least impressive to you?
Central Michigan. I honestly expected a close game the first time around because they won 10 games and had nearly everyone back from last season. They scare me even more facing them next year because let's face it, playing us three times in 13 games will make them very familiar with us.
9. Despite all the grousing we do, is Purdue football on the right track (If not, what would get the program back on track)?
No, it's not. I'm not sure what is needed, but it seems like everyone has gotten too complacent. For the Toledo game this year there actually seemed to be a fire and a bit of swagger in the program, but it quickly died. There needs to be some kind of energy injected into the program because the Senior Day atmosphere with a chance still alive for a New Year's Day bowl was as dull as any game of the Coletto era.
10. Looking at next year's schedule, what's your early thought on critical games?
Again, Oregon. They will be the best non-conference team we face next year. Since I don't count wins in South bend until they actually happen (simply blowing games in 1998, 2000, and 2002 will do that) it will be critical to beat the Ducks, otherwise we're probably 2-2 before the conference season even starts.
11. Does it ever get old making fun of Fat Charlie the Manatee?
I hate him as a football coach, but I do respect much of the charity work he does off the field like visiting sick kids and stuff. It sounds like a pretty good guy off the field and I can respect that.
12. Will Purdue win a football national championship in our lifetime?
I thought we could at some point, but now I doubt it. It seems like we can never get it together on both sides of the ball at the same time. Under Brees we had to win a ton of shootouts. When we finally got a good defense we had Kyle Orton's training wheels on. Basically we will need a leader like Brees to come in and get a good defense at the same time. At least since we play Notre Dame every year and teams like Penn State, Ohio State, and Michigan almost every year there will always be the schedule strength there to do it.
13. What is more likely for the Boilers and why: a football championship or a basketball championship?
A basketball championship. I am really, really excited to see what will happen when our current freshmen become juniors and seniors because they will all probably stay for four years.
14. After Tiller retires (or is fired), would you rather get a coach that is a better recruiter or is a better game day coach?
I want a good recruiter who can coach defense. Our offense is always going to be fine, but the defense the last few years has been horrible. I am terrified of having Brock Spack as coach.
15. If you had to choose another coach from the Big Ten to coach Purdue, who would you pick?
Give me Tressell. The man simply knows how to win football games and that is all I care about.