Welcome back to Purdue football! After a week off we’re back into game mode this week, but with a heavy a heart. It seems kind of fitting Purdue is playing Minnesota at home in its first game after the death of Joe Tiller. Joe LOVED pantsing Glen Mason and Minnesota back in the day. In three career games I think Drew Brees threw for 25,927 yards and 134 TDs (approximate) while going 3-0. The actual numbers were as follows:
1998: 522 yards and 6 TDs in a 56-21 win (school record for passing yards and passing TDs IN HIS 5TH CAREER START!).
1999: 283 yards and 2 TDs in a 33-28 win
2000: 409 yards and 2 TDs (plus 88 yards rushing and a TD) in a 38-24 win
This was after Purdue bombed them 59-43 in the Metrodome in 1997 with more than 400 yards and 5 TDs from Billy Dicken. Those were fun times, and it would be great to see them relived Saturday with coach tiller’s 1997 team in attendance.
Coach Brohm talked about Tiller today in his press conference:
I remember growing up and watching the Purdue teams play in his days, and it was an exciting brand of football. It was a little bit different than maybe some of the other teams in the Big Ten and they found a way to win. I think that his blue-collar approach, working hard to improve his team, to find ways to win, anyway or avenue he can, doing things the right way, treating people with respect, demanding respect of his players and vice versa, then giving it back; I think he was really a legend in the coaching profession, and he's somebody that everyone should try to mold themselves after.
I think the best offenses you're going to see are offenses that are creative and are trying to be ahead of the curve, and I think without question, that's something that Coach Tiller was able to do. He brought in some good players to run that offense and to run his style of play, and it definitely was an exciting brand that people liked to watch and very productive and got him wins, and that's really what it's all about.
I think since then, people have tried to replicate that to a certain degree and rightfully so. But I think it's important in today's age to try to, you know, put your own blueprint down, but definitely realize when you can do things the normal way or when you're going to be a little bit different. I think sometimes important to study the history of football and then try to adapt it to your style, and really it's about scoring points, moving the chains and getting wins.
In terms of the depth chart it has not been released yet, so here is the offensive depth chart from two weeks ago:
QB: 1. David Blough 2. Elijah Sindelar 3. Jared Sparks
RB: 1. Tario Fuller OR D.J. Knox OR Richie Worship OR Brian Lankford-Johnson
WR1: 1. Anthony Mahoungou 2. Corey Holmes 3. Jared Sparks
WR2: 1. Jackson Anthrop OR Terry Wright 2. KeyRon Catlett
WR3: 1. Gregory Phillips 2. Isaac Zico
TE: 1. Cole Herdman 2. Brycen Hopkins 3. Darius Pittman
LT: 1. Grant Hermanns 2. Eric Swingler
LG: 1. Shane Evans 2. Michael Mendez 3. Peyton Truitt
C: 1. Kirk Barron 2. Shane Evans 3. Bryce Brown
RG: 1. Matt McCann 2. Bearooz Yacoobi
RT: 1. Dave Steinmetz 2. Ethan Smart
Three big names in question are David Blough, Markell Jones, and Tario Fuller. Coach Brohm addressed them:
Well, I think David was able to practice some yesterday. We'll continue to track him this week and hopefully he'll be ready to play. I'm optimistic that will happen, barring any setbacks.
Tario Fuller, a little bit more of a long shot. If he does play, probably won't be able to practice much. So it's probably -- not real optimistic on that one.
And then, I think Markell Jones, hopefully will be back this week.
That means we will probably see Richie Worship D.J. Knox get the start at running back.
Here is the defensive depth chart from two weeks ago:
DE: 1. Austin Larkin 2. Antoine Miles
DT: 1. Lorenzo Neal or Eddy Wilson
DT: 1. Gelen Robinson 2. Keiwan Jones
DE: 1. Danny Ezechukwu 2. Kai Higgins
WLB: 1. T.J. McCollum 2. Andy Chelf OR Sawyer Dawson
MLB: 1. Ja’Whaun Bentley 2. Garrett Hudson
SLB: 1. Markus Bailey 2. Rob Simmons
CB1: 1. Josh Okonye 2. Antonio Blackmon
CB2: 1. Da’Wan Hunte 2. Kamal Hardy
FS: 1. T.J. Jallow 2. Simeon Smiley
SS: 1. Jacob Thieneman 2. Navon Mosley
There are some notes here too. Bentley and Theineman must sit the first half Saturday due to their targeting penalties against Michigan. Shane Larkin is also a question mark:
Well, without question, those are two key components and two of our better players, and they have been playing at a high level, both of them. Really have been playing great.
So we are going to miss them in the first half. Hopefully other guys will step up and try to take advantage of the opportunity; we're going to need them to. So it's going to be important that those young guys that haven't been in there as much play well and keep us in the football game until they can get back in the second half.
We have to work hard at making sure that we practice the proper tackling technique. We emphasize what's legal, what's not. We've got to drill it, which we have this past week, and sometimes things happen; I get it. But we've got to make sure we're tackling lower. We're wrapping up in the backfield, which has happened to us multiple games. We have got to make sure that when we do tackle, we're not leading with the head, and we're not leading with the shoulder into the other opponent's head, which sometimes can be a little hairy.
Like in Jacob's instance, when the guy is ducking down, but we've still got to be very cautious with that, and we've got to be -- it's got to be a thought in our head, that, hey, we've got to tackle the proper way so that we can all stay in the game.
We've got a couple different options on defense. I think Derrick Barnes has played some. He's an option I think we could easily more Markus Bailey inside, which is where is played last year and that's an option. So I think both of those are on the table and we probably could do both.
At the same time, this is a run-the-football, ball control; so we are going to have to have some stout guys in there in order to stop the run and maybe make them throw the ball more than they would like.
And then in the secondary, Mosley has played, Blackmon has played, T.J. Jallow should be healthy and needs to give us something. And even Brennan Thieneman is a guy that could see some action, as well, because he knows what to do and he's a smart football player.
So we've got some options. Just maybe they haven't played as much, and hopefully our guys step up and do a good job.
Finally, he had more to say on Markell if he plays:
Well, we've had packages for him in the first game, and we'll continue to do that. To be honest with you, I'd like to see him get out there and perform for us before I do a whole offense based around him.
I think when he's healthy, he can be a very productive player for us. I want to see him on the field and I want to see him get out there and run around and make plays for us in a game situation, take care of the ball; and I think he has it in him.
You know, it will be interesting to see him on the field this week, and hopefully he'll be a contributor for us and do a good job. I think he's itching to get out there, so that's a positive. You know, we've got to find a way to utilize him.