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51 Days To Purdue Football: Justin Kitchens

Being from Bloomington, IN, I am constantly reminded that IU Basketball is currently in the stage of a rebirth and how "the glory days are back". It is quite possibly the most obnoxious thing in the world. Last night, Hoosier forward Christian Watford was awarded an Espy for his game winning shot against Kentucky, which is basically ESPN's version of an Oscar.

Now don't get me wrong, Watford's shot is one of the wildest sports memories I will ever have (I watched the game with roommates and it was the first time in my life I've rooted for Kentucky. It was a dark game to watch since I hate both teams), but listen, IU fans, there is not a more meaningless award out there. What does an Espy do for an athlete? Nothing. That Espy will not improve Watford's draft stock, it will not lead IU to a championship, it won't make him the best player in the Big Ten or even on IU's team. This is what the award did for Watford & IU:

A - Made Watford a hero in the eyes of Bloomington, IN while the rest of the world said "Shit, that was a crazy shot"

B - Watford probably walks around thinking, "Yeah, I hit that shot and got huge balls now, so what?!".

C - Gave him the power to go into whatever bar he wants to in Southern Indiana and have girls (and a couple of my friends from back home) follow him wherever he goes.

So, Boilermakers, we have learned that the only thing cool about winning an Espy is that it gets you girls, publicity, and my creepy friends to follow you around. Outside of that, it really doesn't mean anything. Let's just let IU sit on this for a little bit. In the meantime, we can patiently wait and just take their annoying "Oh yeah banners" insult like a grain of salt while we start to build a new era in Boilermaker hoops. Anyway, now that I got that off my chest let's make this an actual post about Purdue Football, what say you to that?

Whenever Danny Hope switches a player from one position to another, my general feeling is skepticism, disbelief, or just thinking that he has no idea what he's doing. But when it comes to former defensive tackle Justin Kitchens, I think this could actually be a switch that works for everyone's benefit.

Justin Kitchens - Jr. (RS)

Hometown: Warner Robins, GA (Houston County HS)

Offensive Tackle

6'4" 275 Pounds

2012 Projection: Starter at offensive tackle

Last season was Kitchen's first at OT. He seemed a little uneasy yet optimistic in the spring practices last year, but thankfully Hope was not throwing him into the lion's den. All Kitchens had to do was sit back and learn. This year, Kitchen's is listed as one of the new starters on the Purdue offensive line.

When Kitchens made this change last season the coaching staff was ecstatic about it, specifically offensive coordinator Gary Nord. Nord and Hope have raved about the athleticism Kitchens has as well as his lanky arms and, most importantly, Kitchens red-shirted so he is going to be around for another year after this, giving him a chance to mentor incoming freshmen and be a leader next season.

Kitchens, like Eric McDaniel, was switched because we were so thin on the o-line last season. Now, they are both looking to contribute heavily this upcoming season. One thing that I do like about switching d-linemen to offense is that they know what to anticipate from a college defensive end or tackle since they've been on that side of the ball. I think that really does give them a little more confidence when they make this switch.

After I watched the interview that is linked earlier in this post, I really like Justin Kitchens. He seemed nervous when he was first put into this position, but he knows that you're going to reap what you sow, and if he puts in the effort he will get better. I'm pulling for Justin Kitchens, and I hope that he becomes a force on our o-line this year.