Darrell Hazell addressed the media today in Chicago, and here is the full video:
Among the highlights of what he spoke of:
- We actually look like a Big Ten football team now. He mentioned 420 pounds of lean muscle added. If you have watched ANY Purdue football over the last decade the physicality has been a major issue. Hopefully this is a step forward, though other teams also added muscle.
- About 8-9 offensive linemen could regularly play. He basically says that the line sucked the last two years without saying it sucked. Last year was better, but only about six linemen regularly played. It is no secret that everything starts upfront, so this could be a major step forward.
- He called Purdue "the oldest young team in the nation." He is right. With only 12 scholarship seniors there are a lot of juniors and sophomores that had to play out of necessity. Should there be a breakthrough of 6-7 wins this season it could mean a very big 2016.
- He mentioned the key to a successful season as the non-conference season. He's right. Purdue has to go at least 2-2 to have any chance at a bowl, and it will not be easy. Only Indiana State should be a layup. Otherwise, we have to beat a strong Virginia Tech team, the MAC favorite in Bowling Green, or outscore Marshall on its home turf. I will be happy if we get two and ecstatic if we get three. I also know none of those games are stone cold lock losses.
- Frankie Williams is confirmed to stay at corner instead of move to safety. At least for now.
- There is no date on naming a quarterback, but he also said that Austin Appleby has everything except consistency. That tells me he is the favorite to start at Marshall, but David Blough could still get it.
- On the QB position he said that all three (including Elijah Sindelar) will be pressured in camp early and often to see who wins.
- He called Jake Replogle one of the best defensive linemen in the Big Ten. He also expects to make wholesale, hockey line change type changes this year on the defensive line to offer different looks if possible. He cited Ra'Zahn Howard, Michael Rouse III, and Ryan Watson as solid interior linemen.
- He called Ja'Whaun Bentley a great leader at middle linebacker.
- D.J. Knox is favored to start at running back, but he, along with Markell Jones and Keyonte Green, bring more toughness as opposed tot he breakaway speed of Akeem Hunt and Raheem Mostert.
- Frankie Williams will also return punts AND kicks.
- He was asked an attendance dip question and all but said we needed to start winning. That's really the only thing that will bring it back up. We already tried beer last year.
- He said we need more playmakers other than Danny Anthrop out of the receiver's room. DeAngelo Yancey and Cameron Posey need to return to their 2013 form.
- He likes this groups leadership with no off-the-field issues other than Gelen Robinson. He later said Robinson will be suspended 2-4 games.
Overall it is pretty basic and nothing we didn't already know. There are a lot of "ifs" going into the season and BTN treated as expected: That we they are contractually obligated to have Purdue in the Big Ten and show their games. None of that will change until we start winning.
It really does start early, too. Marshall has a great offense, is a good team overall, and will be looking to make a statement in its opener at home against a major conference opponent. they lacked one last season and they want a win over a Big Ten team badly to begin their case for a major bowl at the end of the season. If Purdue can come out and win that one it will open some eyes. It could also have a disastrous opening like at Cincinnati two years ago. That game told us a lot about the 2013 team. The Marshall game will be similar for 2015.
We're either going to be pleasantly surprised with a nice win or we're going to get boatraced. Only 37 days until we find out.