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Sit Back With a Pre-Christmas T-bag

You had questions, T-Mill had answers on Caleb Swanigan, Morgan Burke and the NCAA, recruiting, and Bryson Scott.

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You had questions this week, so let’s get to the answers:

What should Dave Brandon, Jack Graham, Steve Pederson, and Morgan Burke all have in common? – Steve Wallace via e-mail.

I know we all want Burke gone, but it is becoming more and more apparent that he is only part of the problem. There is a systematic problem with the entire athletic department and the school itself does not treat athletics as a priority. While I love Purdue’s academic reputation, the truth is that the Boilers will only get further and further behind unless 1. College Sports does not become an arms race, or 2. Purdue starts spending.

While Burke has his faults, he has done a lot of good for Purdue. The facilities have all been upgraded and greatly improved with Phase II of Ross-Ade (the south end zone) as the next big project. He is a great numbers and budget guy, but I think Purdue still needs something more. We need someone who realizes that football is the engine that drives everything else. If we can break even with the football team in the toilet and attendance at Colletto-era levels imagine what we could do if the team gets good and starts filling the stadium again?

I think Purdue needs newer, younger blood, but Burke has done some good during his tenure. We at least won two of our three NCAA championships while he has been here.

In the long run it would have probably been a good thing. We get the new blood and new attitudes desperately needed within the athletic department and the NCAA gets someone to reign in its recklessness. That is a win-win situation.

The biggest losses are Mostert and Hunt. They were game-breakers that could score on any play. The defensive players we lose were decent, but often overmatched, so replacing them should not be difficult.

I am a big fan of Markell Jones and I think he can immediately be a factor in the running game. Keyante Green will likely play more, but if guys like Keith Byars II haven’t made a noticeable difference by now they probably aren’t going to.

I am interested to see if Anthony Mahoungou is as good as advertised. The word there is that we’re getting a very underrated player and ESPN rated him only behind Sindelar as our best recruit. That’s interesting for a guy no one had heard of before we grabbed him. A big, fast receiver could make a huge difference in our offense, especially if Cameron Posey and DeAngelo Yancey don’t improve. I also like Andy Chelf, who was recently named all-State in Texas, as as player that could make a difference. Landon Feichter is the biggest loss at safety, so we need a new one, someone who makes going over the middle dangerous for other teams. Chelf can be that guy.

Finally, someone new is going to have to play at tight end out of necessity. Maybe we finally get the long awaited debut of Carlos Carvajal.

Nope. Still waiting to hear about it. If you haven’t seen on the facebook page I was unexpectedly laid off last week. I’ve been applying all over Indy and put up a list of places on the facebook page, so if anyone has a connection, let me know.

It is too early to tell, but in my opinion he has shown more improvement in 11 games than Hammons has in his entire career. If that keeps up I think he could be gone as early as next year because NBA teams would love to have an old school big man like him. I just hope he doesn’t step out and start shooting threes. If he develops his touch around the rim, rebounds a little better, and improve his defense he is going to be very, very good.

It is going to be tough. They already have a bunch of close, bad losses, but they have the Purdue Invitational, I mean Big Ten Tournament at the end of the year. Purdue always plays well in that and more than once they have won it to go to the NCAAs when they would otherwise not. Of the 20 BTTs that have been played Purdue has won nine and been runner-up and additional four times. That is 13 times in 20 years they have at least made the final. Ohio State is a distant second having only won it four times. That’s why I call it the Purdue Invitational.

Can we bring back Jim Cheney? No, seriously. He got Arkansas moving again by the end of the year and wasn’t really that bad back in the day. He runs more of a modified Pro-Style spread right now that could build on what the currently players have learned in the past two years. Then again, he did have Drew Brees back then.

If not Cheney I want someone who is going to bring in something new and different. Something innovative. Too bad the NCAA banned fun and the A-11 offense.

I think Scott can be an ace defender, back-up point guard, and guy who can get to the rim and score or can get to the free throw line. That’s a role that will open up even more once Rapheal Davis graduates. I wouldn’t mind seeing him back up Rapheal in a smaller, quicker lineup of three guards with Stephens and Octeus/Thompson at the point. Bryson’s scoring is down this year, but his shooting percentage is way up. He is playing smarter with more steals, fewer turnovers, and more assists. Give me a smarter, savvier Bryson that picks his spots over the reckless Bryson any day.

Most people don’t think we have a shot, but he has not ruled it out and GBI continues to report that he is a target and interested. He is probably interested in the way we have developed big men into NBA prospects, so the better Hammons and Haas do this year likely increases our chances. The fact that he still has official visits left and he has not given us a no is a good sign. We’re at least still alive in the race. As long as they don’t call in a priest for the last rites that is good.

I think the fact that this team is so young with only one player (Octeus) playing that cannot return next year buys him another season. They have shown improvement too. If Purdue beats Notre Dame tomorrow it at least enters the Big Ten season with a chance at making the NCAA Tournament. The Big Ten is not as tough as the last few years, either. The middle is still going to be rough, but if we can win our fair share of battles and not implode like last year Painter will still be around. Even if Purdue loses to Notre Dame it would have to go 6-12 in Big Ten play to have a losing record overall. We’re better than that.