Sunday, November 21, 2010

Weekend Wrap-Up: Drifting to Sleep...and a Wake Up Call

Here at BS, we love Purdue players to wear their hearts on their sleeves, sell out when on the field of play and play with heart. Our Boilers did just that in East Lansing on Saturday...and the reason is probably their coach. Danny Hope sold the idea of his players making something happen, being aggressive and playing like there was no tomorrow...And his players did just that. In the process, the Boilers almost pulled off a gigantic upset similar to aOSU in '09. But, unlike in Ross-Ade last season, they simply couldn't finish.

The games are pretty similar in the way they were played. Purdue played with the lead for much of the game in both and the more-talented squad scratched and clawed its way back into the game. But, Purdue stepped up and made plays last year, and simply collapsed this season.

Unlike many games this season, there are plenty of positives to take away from this one...but, like most games this year, there were a ton of negatives. But, the main problem really was the timing of these mistakes was critical.

I joked in my prognostication for the game that it would take multiple defensive TDs for Purdue to win. And Ricardo Allen got the message as he had his second interception for a TD in two weeks. All day long, Allen played blanket defense and made play after play. At one point, I asked myself why MSU dared throw his way. The only times he wasn't there to break up the pass was when Purdue's scheme called for zone or asked for the corners to back off of the line of scrimmage.

Kerrigan also played large in spite of being clothes-lined and held for most of the game...but as MSU decided to simply double and triple team him, the rest of the line just didn't take advantage of the situation.

Rob Henry played very well at times and made some awful decisions others. I think much of that can be chalked up to his age and maybe his injured finger still...In my opinion, Henry played well-enough to lead Purdue to a win. I like that he is willing to check out of plays when he sees the defense in the wrong set for potential success. I hate the way he doesn't seem to see it until it's too late. I like the fact that he's willing to take shots down the field. I hate the way he seems to make those throws blindly at times...and seemingly to no one.

The special teams, like Henry, was way up and down. Wiggs got involved with an important 52 yard field goal...but both he and Webster, while punting, had some horrible kicks. Barbarette had an important long kickoff return...but the punt protection let an obvious block formation in nearly unabated. In fact, multiple players could have made the block of the punt that sealed Purdue's fate.

Coach Nord had some brilliant play calls...but also seemed to struggle making effective calls on first down. Landholm & Emanuel had Purdue's bend, but don't break defense dialed in early, but played it too safe in the fourth quarter time and time, they gave Cousins too much time and allowed him to pick Purdue apart (he played brilliantly, by the way...and gritty too).

No Purdue fan that I know was surprised that Purdue lost. But, most were surprised in the manner in which it happened. The offense showed that it had a pulse, the defense played hard and made plays for three quarters. But the team combined to rip the hearts out of the Purdue faithful. Granted, MSU made plays, but our Boilers all but presented the opportunity for Sparty on a shiny silver platter...and (as you all know) MSU won, 35-31.

After the game, I was so deflated and "meh" that I simply enjoyed having my family over for dinner and forgot to do a post-game wrap up...that's why this is so late. This is kind of what this season has done to me as a fan, honestly. I've been to every home game, watched every away game on TV, but I'm sapped of enthusiasm...and hate admitting it, because I'm not usually that way, especially about Purdue football. I still love the players and feel like they're giving everything they have...and much of that is because of Hope's ability to motivate them.

BUT, I also feel the lack of football IQ by this staff has simply killed this team over and over. From stupid time-outs (again and again), to inconsistent play-calling, I'm frustrated with this coaching staff. We had a commenter yesterday get angry at people for having the audacity to complain about these coaches, but I'll always support the players first. Afterall, they're the ones who are really bleeding for the University and the coaches as they follow their marching orders.

For the second year in a row, the Bucket is what it was in the mid-90s. An in-state rivalry that means nothing outside of the borders of Indiana. And it's funny, 30 minutes really changed that. At one point late in the second half of both games, IU was tied with Penn State and Purdue was up by 15. One half our later, Purdue had given the game to MSU and IU had done what they do- rolled over...on their home field, FedEx Field.

I don't have the hatred for IU (especially in football) that I do for UND...and I while I want Purdue to beat IU, I have a really hard time getting "up" for this one. I hope our Boilers don't feel the same way I do.

Mackey Madness (Kinda)

Oakland came to Mackey tonight and was clearly more-ready to play than Purdue. The Golden Grizzlies held the lead for much of the first half and didn't go away until late in the second. Like many contests versus mid-con teams, their drop-off in talent after their starting five was sizable. Purdue's depth was something they couldn't keep up with, so the Boilers improve to 3-0 after winning 82-67.

The box score tells you that Purdue's Big 2 both played well and carried Matty's crew. But, a few things might get missed just by looking at the numbers.

First, Smooge started the game ice cold and didn't score until around 9:00 left in the half. It's not coincidental that after he started heating up, Purdue began to assert itself. But, he had an uncharacteristic amount of turnovers (4)...but was lock down on defense at times. He finished with 26 points, was 4/5 from three, 4 assists and 3 steals.

JJ seemed to do everything right...except shooting behind the arc. All of a sudden he thinks he's a three point shooter. Sure, he hit two tonight (doubling his previous high from last game)...but he missed three. In JJ's case, I'm just trying to look for something to pick on- he played huge in a game that was hyped to be a showcase for him and Benson (from Oakland). JJ finished with 25 points, 11 rebounds, 5 assists, 4 steals and 2 blocks...and played 40 minutes. He was great, and made his teammates better.

John Hart's the third guy who comes to mind for me. He had 11 points off the bench in just 13 minutes. He shot poorly from three (1/5), but was a huge spark and played with a ton of energy.

On the other end of the spectrum, I'm not sure how Ryne Smith can stay in the starting line-up much longer. I like the guy, but, as Painter said, you've gotta produce to play...and I don't see it. He might be automatic in practice, but he's not in the game. Plus, he's not as strong as many of the guards on the team on defense and simply isn't able to assert himself at either end.

Terone Johnson (10 points in 17 minutes) or DJ Byrd (6 pts, an assist, steal and block) might both be able to take his place, in my opinion. I really like DJ Byrd without the ball and on defense too.

LewJack, like Smith, struggled offensively, but unlike Smith, continues to be very good defensively. But, he was rocked a few times by picks up top and was visibly shaken up as he was taken out of the game. But, tonight might have been the first night this season where Barlow looked like he should be starting at the point. Kelsey only scored 4 points, but he had 5 assists and 0 turnovers. I like LewJack as a starter and Barlow off the bench though because their styles are so different...but it could work either way, I believe, and might be best to judge depending on the opponent.

Outside of JJ, none of Purdue's bigs did much to write home about- Bade had no points...but more disparaging, 0 rebounds. Carroll the same, and Marcius didn't play. This is the first game this season where Purdue played significant talent under the basket, and the rebounding battle showed it- Purdue lost that 26-31. If nothing else, Bade & company need to make rebounding their sole focus- especially when JJ is scoring like he did tonight (which should happen often).

Not sure if it was the fact that they were coming off of such an easy win, or because Oakland is a pretty good team (they were 17-1 last season in conference and went to the tourney), but Purdue was flat for much of the first half and couldn't separate themselves until Oakland was just beat-tired. But, Purdue allowed way too many points in the first half and seemed to let Oakland dictate the pace...noteworthy, but not bothersome unless these problems become a trend.

And I know there's no transitive property in sports, but Oakland lost by 24 to West Virginia to open their season...and WVU lost to Minny earlier tonight (after beating UNC). At this point, I don't think any of this means much.

Next up, Austin Peay on the 23rd.


Matthew said...

Id also like to point out that the Women's team played today as well against DePaul winning the preseason WNIT tournament. The women's volleyball team split as well beating MSu and losing to Michigan. And it was likely David Boudia's last competitive platform diving meet as a boiler which he won today. There's a lot more to talk about than just the big money makers.

boilerdowd said...

Matthew- if you've visited here often, you know a few things:

-We try not to talk about things we don't know much about...and we root for anything attached to Purdue to be successful.

We've talked about Boudia a few times...kinda like we did the women's golf team- Good for them, good for Purdue for getting them on campus!

You're more than welcome to talk about them in your comments- you have the floor.

Anonymous said...

Where is Boudia going? I thought he was a junior.

Jumpndunk42 said...

Another point the boxscore doesn't show....the referees really hampered our Boilers from getting things going because they were calling BS ticky tack fouls that just killed our normal tenacity and quieted the crowd.

Plang said...

Purdue's rebounding didn't look so good last night. Oakland was getting way too many offensive rebounds and then scoring. If they want to have a good year, they need to be wiping that glass clean.

boilerdowd said...

Jump- bad officiating is part of the BT game...better to get used to this type of adversity now, in my opinion and fight through as they did.

Paul, completely agree- rebounding problems were a bugaboo last season...If the big fellas can't do more cleaning, a smaller lineup is just as effective versus most teams.

Anonymous said...

from Boilergal:

I really liked the aggressiveness of TJ, Byrd, and Hart. Those 3 made great hustle plays forcing turnovers and keeping the ball alive on the offensive end. I would much rather see those guys in than Smith or Bade. I think the starting 5 should be JJ, E'twaun, TJ, Byrd, and Kelsey/LJ. Byrd plays much bigger than Bade.

Also, where was Sandi? I thought he looked much improved last game and was looking forward to seeing how he would hold up against a bigger lineup.

Totally agree on JJ's 3's. Now that he has made a few, he thinks that he should shoot anytime he is open. I think that this could spell trouble if Painter doesn't reel it in now. It will eventually hurt the flow of our offense and he needs to go down low more often. Plus, if he wants to be in the NBA, shouldn't he be showing some low post skills? Also, to be picky, he needs to work on his shot on the block going to his left, down low he can only go right.

dozer8589 said...

The MSU loss confirmed that the Football program's biggest challenge will be a change of mindset - even I need to change.

For more seasons than I can remember, Purdue plays not to lose during the fourth quarter, rather than playing to win. As a result the opponent is able to claw their way back into the game. It's an annoyingly familiar pattern.

Look at Saturday. Following MSU's first TD in the 4th quarter, Purdue responded with a brilliant 47-yard Kickoff return. Coach Nord then dialed up three consecutive runs inside the tackles and a 52-yard field goal. The defense shifted to soft zone coverage. The game was over at this point.

I think that if Purdue football could learn to keep their foot on the pedal for a full 60 minutes, things could turn around in a hurry.

PS - Ricardo Allen just might be the second coming of Rod Woodson.

Purdue Matt said...

"but I'm sapped of enthusiasm"

Me too. And its because I've completely lost faith in this coaching staff to get the job done. We lead the nation in bad usage of timeouts (if there were such a stat). The 3 straight dive plays after Barbarette's kick return were maddening. The soft cover 2/3 zone during the last 10 minutes were maddening. The decision to throw the ball on 1st and 2nd down while up 15 with 10 minutes left were maddening. Like Travis said, this coaching staff really needs to play NCAA 11 or Madden in order to learn how to manage a game. They are clueless.

Georiga Boiler said...

Can anyone explain why our coaches did not take a TO on the 4th down play at the end of the game? It wasn't like it was the most important play of the game, you may want to make sure your offense is sure what their assignments are. I might be able to understand if you have experienced players, but come on. This offense is pieced together at best! Hope knows you don't get 4 points for TO's not used right? Can we fire Gibboney and hire a TO coach?

Georiga Boiler said...

Did anyone else have trouble finding the bball game on tv? I have direct tv and it was not on the Big Ten network. Instead was womens bball. Yeah.

zlionsfan said...

I think the thing about the Bucket is that even though it's an old, old trophy, it's the prize in a one-sided rivalry. Look at the Wikipedia page ... lots of black and not very much crimson. IU's never had more than a four-game winning streak, and the one time they did, they didn't beat Purdue again for 14 years (0-13-1).

It was 3-3 during my six years at Purdue, and 7-3 Indiana from '87 through '96, but after that, we've grown accustomed to winning. It's still a rivalry, but from my perspective, there isn't the same joy in beating IU in football as there is in basketball.

ChicagoBoiler said...

Rob Henry is a tough kid, but let's not lose site of the fact that WE HAVE THE SUPER BOWL MVP who is a Boilermaker. Why don't we have QB's knocking our door down to play for us? Somebody... please somebody explain this to me.

zlionsfan said...

It's great that a former Purdue QB has had such a successful NFL career, but I don't think that has much of an impact on decisions for incoming classes. Brees has been gone for quite a while now, and there isn't much on the field these days that resembles that 2000 team: I'd think a high school QB would be as likely to select Purdue because of Brees as he would to choose Washington or Kansas State because they were title contenders in 2000. (That may well be why Jake Locker chose Washington, in part to help return them to prominence.)

Besides, there are QBs knocking on the door, one of them at least ... he's just out for the season. As to why there aren't more, well, part of it may be that this isn't currently an offense that excites incoming freshmen. Obviously injuries have something to do with that, but as we've speculated before, there may be more to it than that. If you're a high school senior, and you're watching Michigan and Nebraska and Boise State and Nevada and Oregon and Auburn and Purdue, are you really going to be making a call to a 765 number? The top incoming freshmen FWIW are typically choosing big-name schools (and UCLA, for some reason ...).

Part of it is also that kids want to play. It's not always a factor, I guess, and maybe it's just a tiebreaker for some kids, but I think it's pretty unusual for a school to have more than one solid QB at any one time ... usually what happens is that one guy nails down the starting job and the other one transfers. (Insert Cam Newton joke here.) And unlike every other non-kicking position on the field, there's really only one spot for a QB, despite what Hope and Nord may be doing (and that's purely out of necessity; I find it hard to believe that there would be two QBs on the field if there were enough healthy RBs on the roster). If Purdue did have talent in depth at QB, in a normal season, that backup would be sitting on the bench growing old.

Or maybe it's simply poor recruiting, or to be more precise, poor recruiting from a difficult position. Purdue isn't really in a situation where they're the best at any one thing: even with respect to being an NFL QB, Purdue isn't the leader in active QBs. (USC has three starters and four total.) A good recruiter at Purdue has to be able to sell the school as the best combination of attributes, and perhaps Hope simply hasn't found a way to do that with QBs yet, or maybe the next coach will have to implement an offense that will develop QBs to be NFL-ready like Tiller's did.

Matt said...

boilerdowd-after rereading my first post it seems like I came off a bit hostile, my apology. Really the only reason I knew of the women's game was because I covered it as a photographer for the Exponent. I dont know a whole lot about the team myself other than the fact that losing Houser to a torn ACL will significantly hurt their season.

boilerdowd said...

Matt, it's no problem and no apology is needed. The way we look at it, there are other sites that cover the women's's just not our thing. Honestly, we're pretty sophomoric and always end up saying things people get mad at. It's better that we stay away from Women's basketball talk.