The bye week was supposed to be a chance to for Purdue's football team to get healthy and prepare for a new chapter as Rob Henry will soon be Purdue's starter. Well, half of that is going to happen.
We all thought that Justin Siller was an option to be moved back to the QB rotation...until recently. Everybody saw him go down v. Toledo and come back on the field in sweats. But, Hope announced yesterday that Siller would be unavailable, to play any position, for the next few games at least. His sprained foot has been described as a "serious sprain". I had a serious ankle sprain in college that made me pretty worthless for a long while...so I understand. But, that makes the repercussions no easier.
Siller and Keith Smith excited a lot of Purdue fans, like myself, coming into the season. Their athletic ability, ability to pass and size combined to give Purdue all sorts of potential options (that we never really saw this season, by the way). Now, Those options are both off of the table as is a whole lot, at this point, honstly.
Purdue's skeleton crew, skilled players on offense look like this (right now) for the Northwestern game:
Rob Henry QB (0 starts) RS FroshATM (1 start) Soph.OJ Ross WR (0 starts) True FroshCortez Smith WR (5 starts) Sr.Antavian Edison WR (0 starts) Soph.Kyle Adams TE (long-time starter) Sr.
Worse still, the depth chart, particularly at WR, is pretty scary- two RS Freshman and a Junior who has played little bolster the line-up. All of a sudden, the running back corps looks rock solid (in comparison)- ATM, Dierking, Carlos and Crank are all options as they're all getting healthy. Perhaps Carlos will be moved back to WR? Kinda hope not simply because his hands were so shaky in '09...that's probably not changed in the last few months.
What this all seems to spell out is the offense must change immensely. I think we'll see more read option, passing to the flat and maybe Kyle Adams will finally become more of a receiving threat...kinda has to, really. If you watched Henry run the offense in practice videos (the few that exist) and in his limited action, you might have seen what I noticed- he seems to run the offense at a faster pace than did Marve. Perhaps that might translate to a no-huddle that's even more effective...plus, the no-huddle has yielded the most success (I know that's not saying a ton) for Purdue's offense, regardless of who has been at the helm, this season.
I hate to say it, but it's tough to have anything but low expectations for the offense right now...at worst, they'll continue the lack of production we've seen thus far this season. But, anything more would be pleasantly-shocking.
This is all the more reason the defense and special teams simply must produce right now. Simple things like tackling and spacing are of utmost importance...but, sadly, we have no reason to believe these parts of the gameplan can be counted on at this point. Another way the defense can make a difference immediately would be making every easily-catchable interception that presents itself. That said, it doesn't seem Persa will give Purdue many chances to intercept the ball- he's completing an eye-popping 80% of his passes and his TD:Int ratio is 10:2...but the Wildcats looked amazingly-beatable against a mediocre Minny team last Saturday.
I'm out of town on vacation, so posting is kinda tough right now...J is dealing with something much more important than that. In the next week or so, things should get back to normal around here...thanks for your patience until that happens.