Ryan Walters’ staff is complete. It was announced this week. I followed the search of course, I read the reports, but the truth is I don’t know most of these guys. I just don’t follow coaching that closely. I could hardly tell you the name of Purdue’s entire staff last year. Of course there was a lot of turnover on Brohm’s staff (especially on defense) so I am sure I can be forgiven for that.
What I do know about Ryan Walters I like. He’s young. He’s hungry. He was able to get the pulse of the team fast enough to provide Devin Mockobee a scholarship, something that the prior staff failed to do despite the obvious production. So for now what we have to do is trust that Walters has made good hires. That he’s vetted these guys and knows how they gel together. I have no reason to think he hasn’t hired an absolute top notch staff.
I like that he brought back Lamar Conrad, a former Purdue Boilermaker under Joe Tiller. His is a fascinating story because he started his career at Purdue as a walk-on and became the first walk-on to earn a scholarship under Joe Tiller. He wouldn’t be the last as it became a sort of tradition to offer deserving walk-ons a scholarship under Tiller. I hope that Conrad convinces Walters to continue this tradition that Brohm seemed to neglect.
Walters is saying, and doing, all the right things right now. He’s keeping the biggest name players from entering the transfer portal. For example he convinced Brady Allen to return to Purdue after initially entering the portal. That’s a big deal. Then he, seemingly with the help of Drew Brees, brought in Hudson Card as a big name transfer QB. The addition of two big offensive linemen who should be able to help right away shows me that Walters has both an eye for talent and an ability to see gaps in the roster. I mean, he watched that bowl game just like we did, there looked to be nothing but gaps in that game.
Some outlets like to grade coaching hires and I saw one today that gave Walters a C+ merely because he’s a defensive guy being hired at a school primarily known for offense. First, what a lazy reason to give someone a bad grade. Second, it fails to take into consideration the hiring of Graham Harrell who is known as a proponent of the Air Raid offense. Walters will not rely on the Wisconsin or Iowa model of offense. Judging a coach on such flimsy reasoning makes no sense to me. Walters will, like all coaches before him, be judged on results. College football is fickle though and Walters comes into a schedule that is much tougher than the one just completed by Brohm. We know that going in and I hope people remember that during the season if things don’t look like Purdue is going to win the Big Ten West for the second year in a row. Every season is different.
Walters just needs a few things from the fans right now. Support. Patience. Time. Give him those and I believe he can be a success.