West Lafayette- The Purdue Football team heads in to its most critical season in recent memory as Head Coach Darrell Hazell‘s seat is considerably hot. Because of that Coach Hazell, overhauled the Purdue coaching staff, promoting Terry Malone to Offensive Coordinator and bringing in Ross Els as Defensive Coordinator. The word of the summer for Purdue football has been simple. Both the offense and defense has been simplified and it seems as though it’s help the confidence of the players.
Purdue returns one of the most experienced teams in the nation, 11th national according to Phil Steele. Leading the offense is the duo of Quarterback David Blough and Running Back Markell Jones. Both players showed promise last season, and maturity through the spring and summer. Blough shows light-years of confidence in the offense, thinking less and playing more. Jones seems as capable as ever and could have a breakout sophomore season. The wide receiver group is led by a quartet of seniors, led by DeAngelo Yancey. The offense’s success may rely on Purdue’s offensive line; who looks to be set up for success. Jordan Roos and Jason King lead the middle, while Martese Patterson looks to protect Blough’s blind side. The right tackle position looks to be a work in progress and Kirk Barron is set up to have a successful first year leading the helm at center.
The defense under Els is more of a match-up defense. It’s worrying less about down and distance and more about the personnel on the field. It will be important for the Boilermakers to get the most out of their defense, led by Ja”Whuan Bentley and Jake Replogle. The simplicity of the defense will be important for the Boilermakers to be successful. Purdue has ranked near the bottom in the conference defensively ever season that Hazell has been in West Lafayette.
The schedule significantly easier for the Boilermakers compared to what Purdue has faced in the past. Purdue opens it’s first three games at home against Eastern Kentucky, Cincinnati, and Nevada. The Boilers then head on the road to face Maryland and Illinois. In each of Purdue’s first five games, the Boilers have a chance to win. It will be imperative that Purdue gets out of the non-conference schedule above .500. If they don’t, Hazell may not make it through the entire season. The first five games of the season will be important for the Boilers. It will tell a lot about what type of season it will be.
This is as important of a season as Purdue football has had in recent memory. With the change in coordinators, a very experienced team, and an easier schedule it could be happier times for the team and fans alike.