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Boilermakings for 8/22

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Because of the resounding failure of the "Know thy Team" Series I think I will move it back next season to before I do out opponent preview. It seems like it would make more sense to do it in the summer immediately after spring football so it doesn’t become obsolete as training camp happens. With the Taylor injury, Malcolm Harris dismissal, and Justin Siller move it made things look really bad just after the quarterback and running back articles were published. I’ll chalk it up to a lesson in learning.

This also will likely be one of the last regular Boilermakings for awhile. Once the season starts it looks like there will be a regular schedule of posting all the way through basketball season. I’ll try to touch on some of the major news from the other athletic teams from time to time, but from here on in I’ll pretty much be in football and basketball mode through March.

Football training camp notes and comments

Training camp was actually going quite well until this week. Jaycen Taylor’s injury set off a chain of moves that were discussed here earlier. My readers did an excellent job of calming me down and stepping back a bit about the Siller move. It is true that I am only a blogger and not a coach, but this still felt like a strange move with as much as they were talking about Siller before spring practice as the heir apparent.

I’ll trust coach Tiller on this one because of how he has backed off in his talk of Siller since the spring. It may be a case not so much of need at running back, but of something missing in Siller at the quarterback position. I saw a lot of speculation today on his possible transfer, but I won’t believe that until it happens. Since he has already redshirted he would totally lose a year of eligibility. This gets him on the field this year, but it still feels like we are mortgaging the future. If he is going to be a future quarterback, he needs as much time as possible back there learning. He may simply not be ready for the position, or better suited elsewhere.

Is this setting up a situation where Joey Elliott takes over for Hope’s first year like Billy Dicken in 1997? That remains to be seen. We would need a Drew Brees type to emerge for history to totally repeat itself, and we lost one of those chances when Morgan Newton committed to Kentucky today.

As far as other camp news, there isn’t a ton to report other than Taylor’s injury. I like Magee’s move to defensive end a lot. I think it makes the defense even better. In an unsurprising move, Joe Holland was moved to linebacker today. In the same article it mentioned that true freshman Chris Carlino will be playing that rotation as well. It is nice to see that we have some named backups now at a position of glaring need. They will need to learn quickly though. Holland and Carlino are probably undersized, but in a few years this experience could pay some serious dividends.

Coach Tiller seems to like the energy of this team. People outside the program are not sharing such optimism. Though the offense is supposed to be pretty good with one of the best quarterbacks in the country and the defense should be improved, ESPN’s resident Big Ten blogger thinks that Purdue will be one of only two teams in the Big Ten to not go bowling. He’s apparently banking on a 2-2 (or worse) non-conference season knocking us out early. Tiller likes this team, so I hope he is right. I think we will be better than a lot of people think.

Volleyball ranked in top 25 preseason poll

Coach Dave Shondell has accomplished quite a bit in a very short time in West Lafayette. When he came here a few years ago, Purdue volleyball team was at or near the bottom of the conference. In 2003, his forst season, Purdue finished 10th in the Big Ten. The very next season the volleyball team broke a 14 year NCAA tournament drought and hasn’t missed the event since. They followed that in 2005 with a sweet 16 appearance. They will begin the 2008 season ranked 25th in the coaches poll.

Shondell has in state ties with the strange volleyball hotspot in East Central Indiana. He is a former coach at state power Muncie Central, and Muncie is also home to one of the best high school volleyball programs in the country at Muncie Burris. Since Indiana moved to class sports for the 1997-98 school year, Burris has been a class 2A juggernaut. They have yet to lose a match in IHSAA tournament play. They are 75-0 with 11 straight state championships and counting. They had eight championships before the state even went to class sports, so it is not just a result of a watered down tournament. That team is coach by his brother, Steve, so you can bet some of that talent gets a point towards West Lafayette.

Defending national champion Penn State is ranked #1 in the preseason poll, so the boilers will have a chance or two to take on the best. The season officially opens next weekend at home int h Mortar Board invitational, of which #14 Kansas State is taking part.

Men’s basketball comes home 2-3 from Australia

They’ll be the #1 seed in the Preseason NIT and play a pair of games at home before (hopefully) heading to New York, but the Pre-teen Boilers took some lumps down under. Purdue ended up playing four professional teams in Australia, and only won one of those games. There are some positives to take from this trip.

First of all, Purdue scored A LOT of points. I am concerned that the defense wasn’t what we will be expecting come November, but that’s to be expected from a fun and run summer tour. Second, the points came from a number of sources. JuJuan Johnson and Nemanja Calasan had offensive breakouts on this trip. I am very pleased to see them play so well in the middle against professional competition. Johnson had a 21 point, 11 rebound game in the trip’s final contest, showing a breakout season is in order. E’Twaun Moore ended up averaging 27 points per game on the trip. Most importantly, I think the losses will keep them humble.

No just imagine how much better they will be when Keaton Grant starts playing with them and true point guard Lewis Jackson can dictate the pace.

Olympics update

Beijing has not been kind to Purdue’s Olympic athletes. I missed out on an earlier Purdue athlete when I didn’t mention Croatian Shotputter Nedzad Mulabegovic. Nedzad had a pretty good career at Purdue, but against the world’s best he didn’t even qualify for the finals. He placed 29th in a field of 45 in the qualifying throws with a throw of 19.35 meters. Only the top 12 went on to the finals.

Another athlete that failed to make the finals was U.S. champion Kara Patterson in the javelin throw. Her effort in Beijing was well below her personal best of over 60 meters. Patterson only had a best of 54.39 meters , finishing 41st in her qualifying heat. This was her first Olympics, however. Her chances for a better showing in 2012 are pretty good.

Incoming freshman David Boudia did not compete anymore after finishing 5th in the 10 meter platform synchronized diving event, so there is nothing more to report on him. Finally, former baseball player Mike Duursma’s Olympics are over as his Dutch national finished 1-6 in pool play, beating only the host Chinese. I tried to find some stats on him, but I have the unfortunate handcap of not being able to read Dutch. Spanish and maybe German, but sadly, not Dutch.

Women’s Soccer also ranked in the preseason

Last’s year’s women’s soccer season was a great year that ended in the most sour way possible. The Lady boilers won the Big Ten Tournament, had an in-season win over #1 ranked Portland, and were a top 5 team for a good portion of the year. They were a legitimate threat to win the national title. That is, until they lost at home in the second round of the NCAA tournament… to Indiana.

Title IX is often listed as the reason that Purdue doesn’t have a men’s soccer team, but I have often heard that the unofficial reason is because we would regularly get drilled by our neighbors to the south who have won multiple national titles. Last year was supposed to be the year the women’s soccer team got one back, but the Hoosiers came to West Lafayette after losing 7-0 during the regular season shocked Purdue 4-3 on penalty kicks. It was only Purdue’s 3rd loss on the season.

Purdue lost 13 seniors, but is ranked 24th coming into the 2008 season. They are expected to contend for another Big Ten championship. They begin the season at Kansas today (Friday).