Welcome to Boilermusings where I smash three stories together like Guy Fieri smashes together flavors to create Flavortown. Sometimes it doesn’t seem like it will work, but somehow it always does.
If you listen to the Hammer and Rails podcast, which you definitely should be, you know that Casey and I are big fans of Dave Shondell and the Purdue women’s volleyball team. In fact, if you read this column each week you would have gathered that same information. As such, I want to do all I can to promote the team.
We've got another intra-squad scrimmage this Saturday! Come out for a final look before the official season opener on Aug. 27.— Purdue Volleyball (@PurdueVB) August 17, 2021
⏰ 2 p.m. ET
Masks currently required pic.twitter.com/TaKuePolLC
For any of you that haven’t had a chance to go out and see this team you’ve got a great chance coming up this very weekend. Sure, it’s just an intra-squad scrimmage but it should give you an idea of what the team is capable of this coming season. Coming off of a short offseason Purdue has a chance to take that elusive next step this year. With all of their stars returning it’s time to hop aboard the train now before it gets moving too fast.
By now you’ve probably seen the Sharon Versyp bombshell that dropped this week. The long and short of it is that Versyp is being accused of creating a toxic and hostile environment. An investigation is ongoing but this is obviously a bad look for all involved. We here at Hammer and Rails have been calling on Versyp to go for a few years now. It has nothing to do with her as a person because quite frankly we aren’t close enough to the program to be privy to this type of information. For us it’s always been about results, or the lack thereof. Versyp took over a program that was a Big Ten power and has turned it into a bottom feeder. It’s been incredible to see the transformation.
Just this offseason Purdue lost an assistant coach, who was still under contract, and 5 players transferred. Players transferring in the off-season has become the norm. And these aren’t just normal players these tend to be pretty good players. Purdue has lost a lot of talent over these past seasons and one has to wonder if this is because of Versyp’s work environment.
With Versyp already with one foot out the door to the transition to Gearlds it may be time to simply give her a push out the door one year early. Gearlds may not be 100% ready to take over immediately but she’s gotta get ready. Purdue doesn’t need this kind of bad press as they recruit this year. Even though the message will likely be that Versyp won’t be around anymore this type of incident can impact recruits and their families. It’s best to rip off the bandaid here.
In the Hammer and Rails group chat there’s been a heated debate about what we can expect from Purdue football this year. Some people seem to think that 7+ wins is possible. Others seem to think that if we win 5 games it will be a miracle. Before all the injuries occurred I honestly thought that 6 wins was what to expect. Now though, I’m not so sure.
Purdue’s schedule lends itself to a fast start and even possibly a 3-1 start. But after that it gets a lot harder. There are so many question marks for this team that I can’t get an honest read on them yet. I mean I don’t even know who the QB is going to be or how many QBs are going to play. I don’t know who on the defense is going to be a true defense maker other than Karlaftis. I don’t know how the offensive line is going to hold up and what sort of depth Purdue has given the medical retirements and off-season injuries that position group has experienced.
At this point there are probably more questions than answers for this team but in a way that’s sort of exciting. We don’t know what this team can be. Jeff Brohm has shown that he can put a competent offense together, but can we trust him to build a defense? With their third defensive coordinator in four years Purdue lacks a defensive identity. With three co-co-co-coordinators on defense the hope is that this team can be a bit more in-sync on defense. If that happens I think this team has a chance to get back to the post-season. If not, I think we are in for a long year.