Well, the first question of today’s press conference certainly addressed the elephant in the room. Purdue is capable of being a four-quarter team, but the Boilermakers’ inconsistency throughout the first four games of the Ryan Walters era in West Lafayette has been tough to witness. The Boilers have been outscored 76-48 in first halves. They look like a solid football team after the game is bordering on looking like it has already been lost.
“We started super flat, which was surprising to me given the history of that game and what was at stake…then [we] came out at halftime and started the way I thought we would have started the game.”
That brings up questions of pace, and, as mentioned, just a general feeling of consistency on offense. It’s even harder to win a game in the second half if your defense has been on the field for the vast majority of the first half.
“I think we know who our playmakers are, I think we have a good idea of what types of schemes our offensive line is good at….when we get first downs early in drives, it seems like we score points…when we play with pace it keeps defenses on their heels and we’re able to attack on the ground and through the air.”
That’s why the 1-3 start even for a first-time head coach is relatively head-scratching. When things click offensively for the Boilermakers, they look great! The Boilers spread the ball all over the field, the wide receiving core looks brilliant and they’re complimented by a group of very talented tight ends. We finally saw flashes of an interior run game and Tyrone Tracy is adjusting, uh, quite well to a position change from wide receiver, Dylan Downing behind him also looks very serviceable, and thus it’s very frustrating to see the miscues.
“I think we run the ball better than people give us credit for. I think we have running backs who are good and probably need a few more touches.”
The issue of penalties negating big plays was also addressed. In the second half particularly, Purdue looked brilliant running the ball at times and the offensive line was beginning to look like a cohesive unit.
Devin Mockobee was starting to get hot and the offense as a whole seemed to find its rhythm, and then Mockobee finally breaks a big one to the left side of the field that was taken away by a holding call on the right guard. Jalen Grant has had several of those in a young season, something that needs to be cleaned up to keep that offensive pace of which the Boilers are more than capable of displaying.
“Those penalties stall drives.”
Well said in the most simple way possible. As Walters looks forward to his second conference matchup as the Head Boiler, against his former team no less, there are so many positives to observe. Take care of the small things and the big things will take care of themselves. This is a winnable game and a game that can save an unfortunate start to the season with a talented group of young men.
Final note: Walters revealed that placekicker Ben Freehill will again be out for Saturday’s game against Illinois. Also, it’s always objectively hilarious to see a giant muscular man take tiny sips out of a miniature eight- or twelve-ounce water bottle.