Sunday, September 13, 2009

Woulda...Coulda...Shoulda...Didn't.

Watch your step, Coach Kelly...your boss loves coming on the field.

Pretty simple equation- when your defense scores, you win about 70% of the time...When your defense scores twice, you probably shouldn't ever lose. Oregon's defense was handed two easy chances to walk into the endzone and they did so. And there's your ballgame.

Purdue's offense looked great at times- Elliott connected with Smith, Carlos, Adams, Bolden and Valentin with poise as Bolden chewed up the field with 10-11 yard carries. The Autzen Stadium Crowd was silent multiple times as Purdue's defense stepped up to follow-up offensive heroics. But, instead of putting the game away, Purdue fumbled and foibled it away.

Joey Elliott looked solid at times and atrocious at others. Purdue's defense made Oregon look like they did v. Boise for chunks of the game, and at others seemed to fall asleep as experienced DBs bit pump fakes, whiffed at tackle attempts and played apprehensively.

I won't take anything away from the team that won, because they should have. But Purdue is better than Oregon. They looked better-coached and more-talented...they even looked more hard-nosed.

But the late night felt eerily-similar to the Hawaii game a few years ago to me and my pals watching the game. Sure, we're all half-drunk on sleep depravity and sweet tea, but the thing is summed up pretty easily by my Sister-in-law.

After the brilliant play call to make it a two-point game, she says, "why'd we waste that one?? Don't we all know how this is going to end?" Sadly, yes...and that mentality might take a season or two to purge from the Purdue psyche. Thankfully, I think it will happen sooner rather than later.

Oh and don't think I've forgotten about Wiggs missed PAT...if he kicks the ball higher than 6 feet off of the ground by the time it gets to the line of scrimmage, perhaps it wouldn't have been blocked...but don't the -14 points shape the outcome a bit more? No matter...West Coast trip, West Coast loss. It stinks.

You know what I'd like? I'd like a West Coast team to come to Purdue and maybe play at 8:00 in the morning so their fans have to lose sleep to watch it...and then, I'd like some homer Purdue announcer with a speech impediment or a horribly-annoying voice to call the game all while analyzing important things like "Purdue fans know when to cheer". Wish I could have simply listened to 1260 and watched the telecast, but there's about a 4 second difference and watching the game in silence for a guy like me who likes noise makes little sense.

There's no good way to lose, but watching a loss that shoulda, coulda, wasn't a win while listening to hacks call it pushes me to stay up until 3:00 am and post angrily.

Positives
Ralph Bolden had 175 all-purpose yards, three touchdowns and couldn't be slowed down by anything except his endurance or poor shoe-tying, it seemed. Taylor spelled him well, but this true-Soph is a bad dude. And I love the power-I formation...passing out of it, handing it to Crank and running a sweep behind Crank's mean blocks are all a ton of fun.

Joey Elliott is a fighter, plays passionately, but oddly-enough makes mistakes that a Freshman makes simply because of lack of reps. There's a lot of football left to be played for Elliott and this fifth-year Senior has potential to do some very good things in '09.

T. Williams, Werner, Neal and Short kinda seem like a bunch of ass-kickers. I'm especially excited about what Neal and Short are going to do as the season progresses...I look for them to continue to get better and make the center of the D-Line more and more stout.

The attitude of the team is better than I've seen in a few seasons- there's a bit of swagger in this team and no one seemed complacent with the idea of losing a close one. In fact Hope looked pissed as he congratulated Kelly...I like that.

Negatives
Joey Elliott's mental lapses, while few, were super-costly. I know he'll spend a ton of time watching the film and trying to eradicate mental errors...but honestly, the interception for a TD was an awful play call. Everyone, from Hope down, knew how fast Oregon's DBs were and that play, in that situation, shouldn't have been an option.

Joe Holland, David Pender* and Ryan Kerrigan can play better...granted a ton of guys can, but those three seem to stick out to me right now- I can remember a few missed tackles from each, and honestly, I don't expect that from these guys...especially Pender. I've still got big hopes for his season, but we haven't seen what he's capable of in '09. I think we'll see big things next week in Ross Ade from the defense. This week, to me, was much better than last week. And if you would have told me that the defense would hold Oregon to 21 points before the game, I'd say, I like our chances quite a bit.

Special Teams were not special. And I know this is a point of emphasis for Hope...but it needs more emphasis, if you ask me. On kickoffs guys didn't seem to stay in their lanes and Oregon was on the 40 or better, it seemed like every kickoff. It's a ton-more difficult to drive 80 yards than 60, and Purdue's opponents haven't had to drive 80 (or more) yards too many times this season. Teams like Notre Dame will take advantage of this.

Why was Wiggs punting...and what the heck was that which we saw from him? Why did both Wiggs and Summers kick the ball rugby-style? Both of their punts were much too low to allow the coverage to do their job effectively.

The skies opened up in the second half and the footing seemed to become deplorable in a hurry. Wiggs looked like he was affected by the slick synthetic field...at least that's what I hope it was...otherwise, that's just an awful kick that was blocked.

Next up, Northern Illinois...and the players probably wait until next Saturday to get this taste out of their collective mouths. While the record is what I thought it'd be at this point, I think this Purdue team is better than I, or a ton of people thought they'd be...but you play to win the game.

The rest of the day

The Big Ten, as a whole, looks pretty horrible. From MSU losing to a MAC team, to IU and Northwestern eeking out wins v. two more, to Wisconsin allowing Fresno State to give them the game, to aOSU and Purdue both giving away games they should have won, the conference left a lot to be desired today. That said, thank you, Wolverines...you made the day A-OK, for me at least.

I see Purdue winning more than they lose in conference this season- I didn't feel that way a few weeks ago.

Kevin Sumlin- Spoiler (maker)
Sumlin's Houston team beat a darned-good OK St. team...always good to see an ex-Boiler succeed.

Huskies Cruise
Purdue's next opponent won easily to improve to 1-1 after beating another direction team, Western Illinois like a rented mule. Western is a Champ. Subdivision team and looked like it.

*Addendum- according to Hope, Pender was injured...in that case, my perspective on him changes a bit. According to Hope a lot of guys were injured this week...my fears or concerns about depth of this team seem to have already come into play this season.

21 comments:

Kevin said...

Great headline. I was so pissed off! Unfortunatley as a Boilermaker fan I'm used to this type of game. I agree with your assessment, but that doesn't make it any better. I'm off to cheer the Packers over the Bears. A Green Bay win and Viqueens loss will brighten my day. Here's hoping Cleveland can pull one out!

E said...

ARGGGHHH. Is there a stat somewhere showing how many turnovers returned for TD's purdue has suffered in the last 10 years? Purdue has to be a nation leader in that. I do like the emotion and fight in this team. Hope it continues despite the apparent curse we have!

T-Mill said...

Apparently, Summers was hurt too. Back injury

von Nostrand said...

This loss bother me less than some of the past losses. It definitely isn't as bad as the 2004 Wisconsin loss. That was a game that Purdue knew it could win (since they'd won in Madison the year before with the same players), was at home, came at a high point for the program (which everyone knew meant that this was a one-in-a-longtime opportunity), and was decided on a single fluke play that should've wrapped up the game(I don't want to talk about that play anymore).

This was a game against an good and experienced PAC-10 opponent, at 10PM EDT, in the toughest atmosphere in the PAC-10, and against a team that needed a win. Purdue was a 14 point underdog with an inexperienced QB, RB, WRs, and LBs. Purdue went out and showed that they not only belong in the stadium with Oregon but are better than Oregon. The players didn't back down from anything and didn't let the crowd affect them. The executed well, shut down an experienced QB, and executed well in most aspects of the game. If you asked me 24 hours ago whether Purdue the Program or Oregon the Program was in the better place, I would've have said "Oregon, without a doubt." After last night, I am absolutely convinced that Purdue is in the better place, with the right coach, and a group of players who are hungry (unlike the last few years of the Tiller Era).

As for Elliott's mistakes and the Wiggs' missed PAT, those things happen, especially with unexperienced teams. Those things usually don't happen in bunches like last night, but that's what happened. If, before the season, you thought that Elliott would play like a multi-year starter, than you are delusional. He's studied the playbook for four years, but he's going to make some of the same first-time starter mistakes that all first-time QBs make.

That being said, Elliott is a true field general. He shows a mastery of the offense that we've seen only with Brees in 2000 and Orton in 2004. That is very good, especially with youth at the skill positions.

Based on last night, I think this team is as good - or better - than any of us thought they would be. Mistakes happen with young teams, but good teams battle and execute like Purdue did last night. They will go into every game this year - including Ohio State - knowing that they can win. (ND, Illinois, Wisconsin, and MSU now look like very winnable games.) We know that too. That hasn't really happened in the last few years. So, despite the loss, there are plenty of reasons to be optimistic based on the way the team played last night. I can't wait for next Saturday and I'm sure the team can't wait either.

Mr. Anonymous said...

Like your post von Nostrand...

We saw our Basketball program rebound after a loss to OK, we will see our football team rebound stronger here.

J Money said...

Nobody should like a loss, so I'm glad some of you feel that way. However, some Purdue teams of the past few years would have folded the tent after blowing the 24-17. This about it... got the ball back after a defensive stand, a real chance to go up 31-17 with a good drive... then the fumble returned for a TD. And then another TD from the Ducks offense, which seemed to be humming then... down 31-24? That's over in previous seasons. Not so, last night.

And that's the biggest difference I see. These guys are convinced they can win. I'm very proud of this group.

They out-played Oregon in a major way last night. Mistakes count, too, and Oregon capitalized and good for them. But all those clowns who thought Purdue couldn't hang with Oregon can suck it. The game was handed to the Quackers.

dozer8589 said...

Everything I think has already been said - short version:

1) Bolden is for REAL

2) It was nice to see Purdue fight in a "big" game rather than just rolling over.


A question for anyone who caught the game on Comcast, or Fox SportsNet:

Did anyone else think the guy doing color commentary sounded like Squidward (from SpongeBob Squarepants)?

Mr. Anonymous said...

How about Hope taunting the crowd?!!

Bad-ass!!

von Nostrand said...

Loved Hope giving the "Hulk Hogan" to the crowd. You know who loved it more? The players (and recruits who were watching the game).

Boiler_Ditsor said...

Now that I have had some time to come off my drunk, I am a little pissed about the game. Man that was Purdue's game to take all night and so many unfortunate plays. Then the rain - when that freaking rain started I thought to myself - this is just the luck that we always have, the timing couldn't have been any worse. But, even though Elliot threw two picks and a snap mishandle that lead to 17 points for Oregon, I can't help but imagine if this kid had been the starting QB for the last couple of years. It's nice to see the heart and will that Elliot and the rest of the team has.

And to see the coach on the sideline totally pumped when something good happens and totally pissed when something bad happens, instead of chewing ice chips like he can't wait to get home and watch Driving Miss Daisy. I realize that Oregon was probably quite a bit overrated, but I still think that Purdue is a legit 8 win team.

I look forward to a lot more exciting football this season.

BTFU

Plang said...

How many more times can Elliot do that before he gets the hook? He had to INTs last week, a few more this week, a costly fumble, etc... I wonder what he will have to do to keep from getting yanked.

Overall, I'm glad the team kept fighting to the end.

Mr. Anonymous said...

Not yanking Elliot is absolutely the right thing to do. Who would we put in his place, on game two, on the road, in front of a hostile crowd, in a close game. Ter Bush, who has no experience? True freshmen? Perhaps if Siller was around we would have options. But we don't. No, yanking Elliot due to mood swings is foolish.

Row Boilers said...

How about Toledo hanging 54 on Colorado? Our effort against them looks better, they obviously have a potent offense.

Re the MAC in general the Big 10 either steps it up soon or they need to find a new cupcake league for early season wins.

From Hope's demeanor during games (Ditsor, kudos for defining the end of the Tiller era sideline mood) and his comments at halftime and post game, I expect improvement in kick coverage, and fewer awful turnovers. Complacency is gone at Purdue football.

zlionsfan said...

Hey now, the MAC still has some weak teams (Ball State, Miami, Temple, Eastern). We're just playing the wrong ones.

I have to agree that it's generally a good thing that we are angry and not disappointed after this game. We outplayed Oregon for major parts of the game and yet insisted that they stay with us to the end, and they did. If this is what a Hope team can do in his first season, maybe there is, um, hope for the future?

but it sucked. sucked sucked sucked. I hate short sideline passes in the 4- and 5-WR packages just because of crap like that. The Boilers have to stop turning it over inside their own 30. Special teams do suck right now. Never mind the long field goals, they don't help when you give up one or two points of field position on every kickoff.

Also, Bolden seems to be pretty good. I like that.

I'd like to compliment Charlie Weis on his willingness to stay aggressive late in the game against Michigan. (I'm sure part of it was because Cissoko seemed like he would have trouble covering me, and I'm 5'8" and ran a 5.4 40 25 years ago.) A coach would only make play calls like that if he were very sure of his future at his school. How much longer does his contract run? Not long enough, I'd say. Well done, Charles! (seriously, I do admire his courage - total NCAA 10 playcalling - but wow does it open him up to criticism.)

J Money said...

Mr Anon and Von Nostrand -- I actually didn't like Hope taunting... I couldn't believe he did it. I sent a text to boilerdowd to confirm I wasn't seeing things. We were LOSING and I don't want the players seeing that behavior and liking it.

And then, not much later, Joey was mocking the crowd -- I think -- and motioning them to get loud... funny, yes, since that overrated bunch of soft west coasters were a joke, but I texted 'dowd again to say they need to stop worrying about the crowd.

J Money said...

Anyone else see LaGarrette Blount playing peacemaker towards the end? What a joke. That thug shouldn't even be allowed on the sidelines.

acacia1602 said...

Great game. Seriously, even in a loss, great game. If I were a non-partisan and watched that game I'd feel like my money and time were well spent.

Our Boilers have to make some adjustments and grow up a little - maybe a lot on special teams - but all in all a very promising start to the season. This is an exciting team to watch and they'll hang a lot more W's on this season than anyone thought. Except, of course, the stoner voters of 10+ wins. Of which I proudly count myself a part of. ;-)

Go Boilers!!!

Chad said...

I wasn't there so I don't know where Joey was looking, but I highly doubt he was taunting the crowd! It looked like he was looking one direction and my guess he was trying to get the Purdue fans making more noise (although I doubt there were enough Purdue fans there to make a dent in the sound of the Oregon fans).

I, for one, am not anywhere close to wanting Joey yanked. The announcers were uncharacteristically high on his "body language" all game long and once I thought about it he does look about 200% more confident than Painter ever did.

boilerdowd said...

Elliott's the guy this year...no doubt about it- and he was clearly egging on the Purdue corner of Autzen Stadium...not taunting.

boileraae said...

And the Purdue end of the stadium was working hard, harder than the Ross-Ade crowd for sure. We actually had people stand up during parts of the game!! I guess that's what happens when you go all the way to Oregon, only the Boiler crazies make their way all the way out there. :)

Seriously though, what they say about the volume of Autzen stadium is true. Their fans know how to make some noise. We did our best to match them and actually beat them at the local sports bar where at one point is seemed the boiler crew outnumbered the ducks 2-1 during pregame festivities!

Also, I need to say that Duck fans are the nicest bunch of people I've ever seen at a game anywhere. I had people go out of their way to come over and tell us "Thanks for coming to Eugene", No taunting, no bad mouthing, just good natured cheering and a whole lot of thank yous and enjoy your stays. It was pretty cool. I'd go back anytime.

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