Robert Marve will be starting his first game as a Boilermaker...we've got such high expectations, we've put our money where our mouths are. The combo of Marve's athleticism and his arm strength will be like nothing we as Purdue fans have seen. The questions are- how will he a handle full-speed game and will he find rhythm quickly. His back-up, Rob Henry is just as, if not more athletic, but doesn't have an arm like Marves...I think everyone in black and gold is hoping not to see Henry behind the center on Saturday.
Similarly, Notre Dame fans don't want to see Rees or Montana play versus Purdue. Crist was the bluest of blue chips out of high school, but hasn't played for UND in anything but spot duty. His combination of running ability and accuracy should be a good fit for Kelly's offense.
Both teams have mostly-rebuilt offensive lines. Purdue's Guard, Ken Plue, is the most fearsome of the returnees at 6'7" and a lively 322. Purdue has great size as the two deeps average around 6'4.5" and just under 300 pounds.
UND is similar- they return a couple starters, most-notably, 6'5" 351 lb. biggin G, Chris Stewart. After that, the Irish are also sizable averaging 6'4" and 295 pounds.
Purdue's most-notable receiver is of course, Keith Smith. He's not the deep threat that Floyd is, but is just as dangerous. His strength, hands and ability to keep his feet after contact made him dangerous in '09. He'll be accompanied by Siller and Cortez Smith who, like K. Smith are big and sure-handed. Purdue has a ton of athletic young guys who are shorter, smaller and quicker than the 1s. Freshman O.J. Ross is the fastest player on the roster...and the true-freshman will hopefully get a chance to show some of that off on Saturday.
Everybody knows Michael Floyd. His season was cut short last year due to injury. His body control and hands might be the best in college football...but he got fat off of Clausen's deep ball. Crist will probably be able to easily find the NFL-ready body of Floyd. Behind Floyd, UND has a ton of speed and talent for Crist to utilize, Riddick is the burner of the group.
Kyle Adams has good size (6'5" 251) and sure hands...and his back-up, Lindsay is a bit more athletic, but not the blocker that Adams is. Elliott didn't look Adams way too often, but I think Marve will find Adams underneath as the hot route more-routinely.
UND's Kyle Rudolph is a large (6'6" 265), prototypical NFL tight end who catch everything and his size allows him to brush off would-be tacklers. His back-up, Eifert, is just as large and is probably a better receiver than Rudolph.
Not the Same
If Purdue had Ralph Bolden, this comparison would also be pretty similar as well. But, Bolden's bum ACL helped to thrust ATM up the depth chart to #1. McBurse had a handful of carries in '09, but most of his play came as a kickoff returner. We'll know very soon if McBurse is a 20+ carry/game back. I hope so, because if he gets holes to run though, I think he'll break one. His back up, the compact Dan Dierking is solid, but won't get past the second level too often.
UND's Sr RB, Armando Allen has played a lot in his career, but under Weis the Irish weren't able to run effectively except in rare occasions. His back-up Cierre Wood was highly-touted, but didn't show off his abilities in '09.