Tuesday, September 08, 2009

Upon Further Review...

Like many of you, I watched the game a second time on DVR this weekend...here are some of the quick thoughts I gathered...add your own; I'd love to hear them.

Mmmmm, Vanilla
We didn't see many audibles...perhaps that's because Toledo did exactly what Hope thought they would defensively (doubtful)...or, Hope and Nord didn't want to show anything. I think and hope it's the latter.

A Tight Space
Coach Nord said coming into the season that the TE was one of the most-important positions on the offense, but we saw very few passes thrown to Lindsay and Adams. I think this will change next game with drag routes being used in conjunction with maybe a few more vertical routes to open up the middle.
Bold Statement
Ralph Bolden is good...I thought he was...saw it with my own eyes, then saw it again. We saw very good speed, very good power and even better agility as he made the defense miss a lot of tackles. Shoulder fakes made the Rockets defenders grab air a few times and the leap in the second half was dangerous, but pretty remarkable...especially since it only yielded him an extra yard.

Taylor was also quite good...and looked like the Jaycen of previous seasons- gutting out sure-loss situations to create positive yards, playing bigger than he is and making very smart cuts as blocks created space. These two are a great one-two.

Offensive
The front line really dominated Toledo's defensive linemen...on many plays, I was looking for Plue to being busting holes up the middle as Taylor or Bolden got free and he was actually the guy looking for someone to hit on the second level. This unit will rival that of 2001 before their time is over at Purdue.

Wide Depth
I think Purdue had much more depth at wide receiver than it showed on Saturday...but I'm not so sure Hope has the confidence in all of the new guys to place the game in their hands their first Saturday in Ross Ade. I look for a better rotation in the Oregon game, if not then, by Northern Illinois.

I was uber-impressed with that corps' ability to block. While Bolden and Taylor didn't run outside too-often, it wasn't because the wide receivers don't know how to hold a block.
A Real Prince
At first glance, I was too tough on Brandon King. While he didn't play as well as I know he's capable of, he was pretty solid...and honestly, there were so many guys that missed tackles on defense, it's kind of wrong for me to call out King...My bad, B.

Plus, he had one of the nastiest hits of the day...I knew that watching it live, but anytime you de-cleat a guy, that's worth a few brownie points. And speaking about knocking a guy around, how about J Werner?

Playing without a Kerr (igan)
I'll admit it- I have huge hopes for Ryan Kerrigan this season...but I didn't see on Saturday the same type of play that we all got spoiled with during his Soph season...especially on passing downs. Kerrigan, and his three counterparts in the front four simply have to disrupt the quarterbacks progressions with greater regularity. Without more pressure up front, the best defensive backfields can't make noise. I'd argue that the DBs were doing a great job in coverage because the experienced Opelt was forced to go to his safety valve after reading the rest of the receivers on a lot of occasions.

And speaking of routes to the tight end...the LBs can't give opposing tight ends that kind of space each week. UND, for one, will kill Purdue on the frustrating drag routes if they're there ad nauseum.

Wigging Out
I loved that Carson Wiggs crushed that 59-yarder...and was confident about it when it left his foot. I really loved that Coach Hope had the confidence in him to try it...and loved even more how Hope sprinted out on the field right away to congratulate him.

This should come in handy later.

10 comments:

T-Mill said...

Very good points all. I was still impressed by Elliott, considering one interception was not his fault. The tipped one to a TE over the middle may not have been, either. His only really bad throw was on Bolden's route where he was rushed and Ralph didn't turn around.

Chris said...

Nice breakdown. I rewatched it too and my brief thoughts on the offense were these.

- Audibles: I didn't see many either, but a couple stuck out. Taylor's 43 yard TD run was a check by Elliott at the line. The LB on that play took himself out of the play, but give the line and Taylor credit for making it work. But Elliott definitely checked that play.

- Grades: Line: A. The line played well, only gave up one sack and that was a bad protection call (slid the protection the wrong way), and obviously opened up huge holes.

RBs: A-. RBs busted out big but I saw looseness with fumbling the ball (Bolden had two; one that slipped out as he went down and the other on the goal line that would have really hurt but that Elliott picked up).

QB: B/B+. Elliott played well sans the interceptions, but I think he was saddled by receiver play.

Receivers: C. The receivers were very mediocre. Routes were iffy, catching was worse, and nobody looked in sync. A couple nice plays -- they have talent -- and I agreed with the earlier analysis that Keith Smith was infuriating in that he made some nice plays but also let up on several too. Could have scored a TD before the half if he adjusted to a nice ball by Elliott.

When you get into Big 10 the defenses can just man up on these guys and if they can't make plays the run game will evaporate. That said, the run game was extremely encouraging and so long as the line plays well, Purdue can score points on anyone. I feel like Nord does a much better job than did Zaunbrecher in putting his line in position to succeed. Simple protection schemes, didn't expect Elliott to sit back there forever and pick out a guy, and used formations in the run game to give the offense leverage, etc.

Overall a very positive win, with much to work on. On defense I think it's basically called: work on tackling.

E said...

So how would you guys describe the offense to those of us that didn't see the game? Was it dynamic like the early Tiller years, or more of a balanced attack/pro form type??

boilerdowd said...

E, it was kind of bi-polar. The sets were true-spread at times, and old-fashioned at times. The passing seemed to mimic the early Tiller years in a lot of ways in the fact that there were more quick routes...It did not seem predictable though...other than the fact that the fullback meant Purdue was running- but Toledo still couldn't stop that play.

S-Du said...

Overall I was pleased with the play of the Boilers, specifically on offense, but I want to mention something that may seem a bit picky. I thought it was crazy how much time the Boiler offense left on the play clock in the fourth quarter. Did anyone else notice? We would break the huddle at 20-25 seconds and then snap it with 15 seconds left. We left at least 3 minutes extra on the clock by not waiting until at least 5 seconds left. Although the score may make it seem like a wipeout, Toledo brought the game from a 31 to a 14 point deficit with several minutes left to play. Again, I understand that this may be picky but we have to allow the clock to be our friend. I was thinking "Hey we could lose this game" up until our last touchdown. To me, its a coaching thing. Hope has got to tell Elliott to drain that game clock. I will also say this. That last touchdown drive after the deficit was cut to 14 was clutch. I was very impressed.

boilerdowd said...

I agree with the clock assessment, but really never felt the game was in doubt. In fact, I wanted to see TerBush a few times in the game just because I thought it'd be a good thing for him to bet some reps (especially since Hope said he wanted that).

J Money said...

S-Du: legit points, though if we waited an extra ten seconds, well, to make up the three minutes you mention, that would be 18 offensive plays when they broke the huddle and snapped it with more than 10-15 seconds on the play clock. Seems like a lot. And I would imagine Coach Hope and company were more concerned with the offense getting in rhythm, etc. But yes, we'll see if that improves.

acacia1602 said...

J Money,

Gotta agree. I think Hope was using this as an advanced scrimmage, to some degree. Nothing like real-life experience to polish the offense and defense. The no-huddle Toledo employed was a good conditioning exercise, too. Couple that with no serious injuries, and I'd give Hope an A+ for making this a good early season game, and giving the team a good base for later success.

Nate H said...

I agree that I like that Hope was trying to get this inexperienced team as much game time experience as possible.

The game was pretty well in hand, might as well let those receivers get the jitters out.

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