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Recap: Ryan Walters Pre-Indiana Presser

The head coach is looking toward the future. I don’t mean just Saturday.

Syndication: Journal-Courier Alex Martin/Journal and Courier / USA TODAY NETWORK

As we approach what will be Purdue football’s last game of the season, first-year head coach Ryan Walters looks toward the future (and not just the upcoming Saturday).

On Saturday, Purdue hosts in-state rival Indiana in a battle to keep the Old Oaken Bucket in West Lafayette. The game will be broadcast at 12:00 ET on the Big 10 Network (BTN). The Boilermakers currently sit as 3.5-point favorites over the visiting Hoosiers.

To keep a trophy would be very positive going into the offseason.

Yes it would. I would argue Purdue’s current long-term trajectory has a much higher ceiling than their opponent’s. Tom Allen is sitting on a relatively hot seat at Indiana while Walters is just getting started at Purdue. Regardless, both teams enter the annual rivalry game with a 3-8 record.

I get it. People are frustrated and disappointed, as are we. I was talking to my parents the other day...I’m like the biggest LeBron [James] fan, and I can’t tell you how many times I’ve cussed him out on TV. As a fan, you get frustrated.

I’m including this intro into actual information for two reasons:

  1. It’s objectively kind of funny.
  2. I thought it would be additionally funny to use proper journalistic guidelines to include LeBron’s surname as if nobody knows who you’re talking about when you simply say “LeBron.”

[The fans] see what’s happening on the field. We’re in tight ball games. We have hit the injury bug like nobody’s business and you’re dealing with brand new schemes…still no excuses, right? There are plenty of games out there where I feel like we should have won and that falls on my shoulders.

This is one of my favorite things about Ryan Walters press conferences. He acknowledges what’s going wrong in his first year, doesn’t excuse it, and he most certainly does not dodge any responsibility even if it’s a situation someone could rationally dismiss as bad luck.

Before getting into a somewhat light number of questions regarding the last opponent of the year, Walters had the following things to say about how he sees the program in its current state:

I think we are continuing to improve as a program…I promise you we’re going to win a lot of games.

He doubled down.

It’ll look right next year, I promise you. I’m looking forward to this weekend being a microcosm of what’s to come in the future.

Walters mentioned that, while transfers are bound to happen anywhere in today’s college football landscape, his players really have bought in. He additionally thanked the seniors who stuck around under a new regime ahead of senior day.

“The culture is great in the locker room, which is why guys have been fighting all year regardless of the record, and I think a lot of guys are excited about what’s to come.”

In injury news, it’s a lot better than last week. Following a late-ish announcement of the inactivity of offensive centerpiece Hudson Card and the conference leader in sacks Nic Scourton, Coach Walters says both players should be good to go for rivalry week.

I would anticipate both of them being available, which is awesome. We need them.

In addition, Walters noted that while tailbacks Tyrone Tracy and Devin Mockobee are “sore,” they will be available for Saturday. Tracy took a big shot to the lower back late in the game against Northwestern that caused panic in a lot of us, so that is very much welcome news.

Walters only fielded a handful of questions regarding Indiana as a team, saying he has respect for Tom Allen and his coaching career within the state from high school to college. The quarterback is a big mobile guy who can throw. Their offensive schemes are quite varied. Nothing groundbreaking before getting back to the future.

In terms of the aforementioned current college football landscape, Walters was very direct regarding potential new additions.

We need to get bigger on the offensive line. I would anticipate us going to get a couple of transfer portal wide receivers. Defensively, we lose two interior d-linemen. I would anticipate us addressing that.

Things are going well on the recruiting trail according to Walters, crediting the base of alumni who believe in his vision.

We’ve gotten some donor support…I’m excited about the resources we have to address the needs we have.

It’s safe to say the man in charge is confident with the future of his program, but to get that confidence swelling requires a big win against a bitter rival this weekend.