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Boilermusings July 29, 2021

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Annie Drews, QB Controversy?, Mental toughness

Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games - Day 7 - Athletics Photo By Brendan Moran/Sportsfile via Getty Images

Welcome to Boilermusings the article where I throw three stories together into one because I can’t write a full article about them. Think about it like you would think about when the members of the Planeteers came together and summoned Captain Planet. It’s sort of like that but when I put these three stories together nothing really cool happens except I pad my numbers. And really, isn’t that why we’re all here?

Annie Drews at the Olympics

Annie Drews is the first person from the state of Indiana to play on the USA Women’s Olympic Volleyball team. That alone is a cool accomplishment but someone like Drews doesn’t just head to the Olympics happy to be there. She went to win the damn medal. She’s off to a great start. The USA is 3-0 in pool play and Drews was singled out by USA Volleyball as a game changer in their match today against Turkey. The USA won the first two sets and then dropped two sets. In the 5th set Drews came off the bench and helped propel the US to a victory.

This was the second match that Drews played in and she took full advantage of her opportunity. Check out what she had to say via USA Volleyball:

Opposite Annie Drews, who played briefly in the U.S. Women’s first match against Argentina, played part of the fourth set and all of the fifth for starter Jordan Thompson, scoring eight points on seven kills and one ace.

“The other four non-starters and I know that our role is to come in and change the match whether that be with energy or fresh eyes and fresh skill sets,” Drews said. “We put in some people who haven’t gotten a lot of time this tournament so far. That put a little more stress on their blocking defense.”

Drews scored five points on kills in the fifth set while middle blocker Haleigh Washington added three of her five blocks. Outside hitter and Team Captain Jordan Larson scored two point on a kill and a block.

The women are next in action Saturday against the Russian but not Russian team.

QB Carousel Again?

I’m tired of writing this same article multiple times each year under Purdue Football Head Coach Jeff Brohm. With Big Ten media days out of the way we again parse through what was said and try to determine what exactly we learned from this spectacle. Usually it’s not much. Everyone is excited about their team, everyone has players that are really going to have great seasons, and everyone is expected to go out there and compete.

But once again Jeff Brohm indicated that he doesn’t know who the starting QB will be and he’s prepared to play multiple QBs if necessary. There are a number of names in the mix at QB. There’s Jack Plummer (my personal preference), there’s Aidan O’Connell, and Michael Alaimo. All three have strengths and weaknesses but it worries me that Brohm just can’t make a decision. I know that injuries have played a part but the lack of development and consistency at the QB position is really holding this program back. Each of these QBs plays a slightly different game and that changes what the offense is capable of and truly prevents them from staying as sharp and crisp as could be possible.

We all know the cliche about if you have two QBs you have none and while that’s obviously an exaggeration there is some truth to it. Purdue hasn’t had a true QB1 (shoutout to Michael Saracen) in a number of years. Purdue’s gotta get this position figured out if they truly hope to advance as a team.

Mental Toughness

Mental toughness and mental well-being are all the rage right now in sports. Given the recent withdrawals of famous players like Simone Biles and Naomi Osaka from big events people are questioning if these athletes are tough enough and asking some tough questions about mental health and famous athletes.

I’m not a gymnast, shocking I know, but it seems to me that not being mentally there in gymnastics versus basketball is quite a bit different. If you’re not all there in basketball you might be off on defense and your shot might not fall. In high level gymnastics if you’re not mentally there you could fall onto your head and be paralyzed or worse. Many have theorized that Biles was experiencing the twisties which is essentially the gymnastics version of the yips. It basically means you get lost while in the air and could have trouble landing.

You may be asking yourself why I’m writing about this on a Purdue blog and listen, that’s a fair question, but I promise you there’s a point. You and I may not fully understand the decision and we may sit here behind our keyboards and say we’d never do this because it’s the Olympics and you’ve gotta fight through it, but the fact is we aren’t in a position to know what we’d do. We don’t have the skillset or the pressure to know what this feels like.

But, back to Purdue. Why is this here? Well, if you’ve been on the internet lately, and if you’re reading this you obviously have been, you’ve seen the vitriol spewed at these women. This isn’t just something that follows professionals either. Twitter can be a cesspool of hate for all athletes from supposed fans. Purdue fans are hard on Purdue athletes. We don’t know what this does to players view of themselves, their perception of their abilities, and their mental health. We are all human beings. We are all on this spinning orb together. To so harshly criticize someone over a decision to not play a game is maddening. What we say has an impact. Despite what some expressions may say words do in fact hurt. Let’s all keep this in mind as football season ramps up. Be kind to one another. It doesn’t cost a thing.