Friday, August 24, 2012

Gary Nord Says You Should All Zip It About Playing Multiple QBs

Many of us have had issues with the QB rotation we've seen at Purdue over the past year, especially since it sounds like it's simply going to continue unabated this year. While there were some differing opinions over who should be the starter last year, one thing I think we all realized was that shuttling QBs in and out with little predictability or apparent strategy was not a good thing.

At the center of some of this nonsense is offensive coordinator Gary Nord. Nord is frequently labeled as an exciting OC ("Gary Nord will never allow a defense to get comfortable." -- GBI), yet I know that we have often felt frustration at the vanilla nature of things. Sure, I know there have been injuries, such as two years ago when the QB position was a mess and Rob Henry had certain passing limitations and Sean Robinson simply wasn't ready. And then last year, Caleb was thrust into the starting role after Rob's knee was injured and Marve wasn't completely recovered. HOWEVER, at some point, you need to show us why you're a supposedly clever and offensive-minded OC. Don't you? I think this season there are absolutely zero excuses to not open things up, at least in the sense of mixing it up and catching defenses off-guard. If opposing D's can begin to accurately predict what Purdue is going to do and capitalize on those predictions, then Nord has failed in my eyes. This is a team with seniors and a team with more returning starters than anyone in the conference. It's time to deliver. But I'm digressing.

More concerning to me than Gary's unimpressive tenure thus far were some comments he made recently in GBI's season preview issue. On the subject of using multiple quarterbacks, Nord got a bit prickly at Neubert's continuing pressing him on the issue, ultimately suggesting that a) the other players probably don't care who is under center and b) that rotating QBs in and out is no different than any other position. I sincerely hope he does not believe this. But let's look at the quotes.

"We practice them the way we are going to play them and they know what their roles are, so there should not be any change of momentum and there shouldn't be any trouble. I don't believe the other ten guys in the huddle even give a damn which one is in there. I really don't."

Wow. Just.... wow. I'd love to hear from people who have played organized football at almost any level on this. But from my uneducated opinion (I never played organized football), it would seem that stability at the QB position would be desirable by most players. Like any sport, you learn tendencies, you get comfortable, you begin to be able to communicate non-verbally, etc. I would think the guys even care about the punter, since the more reliable and better he is, the better your field position will be. So if you could argue that even kickers are important to the other guys, it would seem a bit disingenuous to say nobody cares which QB is in there.

Coach Nord continued...

"No one said anything about it when we rolled Ralph (Bolden) and (Akeem) Shavers in there last year. No one even made a stink about it at all. No one said anything when Gabe (Holmes) and Crosby (Wright) rolled in and out at tight end. It gave us some different momentum and gave us a different personality, but it is one of the 11 positions. It's just the one that gets the most publicity, the one that gets the most talked about."

What the what?

Do I really need to address this like a lucid human being said it? Okay, fine.

Ralph Bolden had a history of injuries and getting banged up easily. Also, you always rotate RBs. Unless you have an absolutely workhorse like Mike Alstott, you have multiple options at RB. Sometimes one guy just needs a breather.

And TE is the same as QB? Just "one of the 11 positions"? Are you fricking serious? This entire line of thinking makes me actually angry, because it just sounds belligerent for the sake of being belligerent. It also sounds ignorant. If you're a football coach at the Big Ten level and you think a QB is no different from the RBs or the TEs, then, frankly, I have serious concerns about your competence.

That said... I'm not a coach. I am not qualified to pass judgment as an expert. But I am qualified to pass judgment as a fan and a witness to mediocre season after mediocre season.

If Gary Nord was doing great things here and his offenses were always clicking and he was always doing innovative things... well, then, fine. In that case, he would have earned the right to a) be different and b) be cranky when his methods are questioned. However, he has most assuredly not produced good results at Purdue.

I don't like what I've seen from Coach Nord and I don't like his attitude when he's questioned. As we've been saying for a while, this is a big year all around at Purdue -- mainly because continued futility will not be tolerated. I'm not saying Morgan Burke or Danny Hope have the stones to can this guy, but the fans have spoken over the course of the past 5 or 6 years as attendance has taken a nosedive. Another year of boring, predictable offenses run by indecisive coaches and QBs who don't know where they stand will push this program further towards the brink of complete irrelevance.

Prove me wrong, Coach Nord.


Ryan F. said...

Man, that picture pairs so perfectly with his condescending comments. Well done.

Boilergal said...

I've always hated Nord, didn't think it could get worse. It would take an absolute change in philosophy and 9-10 win season for me not to keep calling for his head. I really hope that he is gone by the time Appelby and Etling get here. It would be a shame to have this man squelch their potential with QB time sharing and constant runs up the middle.

J Money said...

I completely fail to understand why anyone would actively elect to play 2+ QBs.

The Accidental Expat said...

Agreed J, Even at the peak of their coaching careers with a roster full of 4 and 5-star recruits, Pete Carroll & Norm Chow never had much luck with a 2-QB system at USC. It was very choppy and the offense never seemed to get into a steady rhythm, particularly when 1 QB was having a bad day. If Carroll & Chow and a stable of blue chips didn't have much luck, I cannot fathom how Hope & Nord think they can do better. Furthermore, Nord's OC career (mostly under Howard Schnellenberger) doesn't show much experience with multiple QB systems. Man oh man, I hope Nord will prove me wrong-- I'd love to eat crow at the end of a 8+ win season.

zlionsfan said...

A person who does not understand the difference between rotating RBs or TEs and rotating QBs should not be in charge of any aspect of any offense at any level.

I mean, that's not even acceptable as a version of the standard I-can't-give-you-any-direct-answers talk that some coaches do. There's a much more ... intelligent way to put it, like "Well, we just try to give our guys the best chance to win every week."

Ignorant? Belligerent? Absolutely.

I don't have playing experience, but I feel like I've read enough from people who have either playing or coaching experience to say that if Purdue manages to put together a successful offense, it will be in spite of Nord, not because of him.

Unfortunately, I think choice of assistants is one of the biggest decisions a head coach makes. Hope certainly seemed to acknowledge problems in other areas by making the changes discussed in this space recently ... but now it seems like he was buying new tires and new brakes and replacing that side mirror that was falling off, which would be fine if he hadn't just blown an engine.

I hope Purdue does well enough this season to keep Hope around so that he has a chance to keep improving things. Hopefully one of the improvements will be an offensive coordinator.

CalTravelGuy said...

The only question that matters to me... If you were a top QB prospect coming out of H.S., would you want to play for Gary Nord? I'm pretty sure the answer is NO. :-)

ATL_Boilers said...

Is it bad that I secretly (well not anymore) would be ok with Cheney returning... Sheesh.

Mark said...

I think too many people need to realize that they don't understand football.

Gary Nord, with a healthy and good QB and solid OL, ran one of the best offenses in the nation.

Since that year we have struggled to keep signal callers healthy.

Of course he's tired of the QB controversy crap. But, as a coach/leader he has to make the players feel like it's the right decision. It's part of his job to make a bad situation work.

Now that we have a healthy QB's, we WILL see what the coaches do with it. But the problem is that we have two healthy, quality QB's (in theory...I'm not a CTB fan).

I also felt like the quotes were being taken out of their context and inflamed.

Do like the two QB system? No. I don't think CTB is an effective QB, and I think Marve is hampered by never getting a rhythm. But they took us to a bowl last year. A drought that started BEFORE Hope and Nord.

No excuses this year, but, please, let's let them play it out before we go all IU on the coaching staff and fire them when they sneeze.

boilerdowd said...

IU fans seem to have a blind faith for their coaching staffs in general- don't know how this correlates.

Holding someone accountable, for their own stupid choice of words is fair and absolutely right. Coaches aren't gods, coaches aren't dictators and they're not even elected officials...they're paid to do a job- one of their jobs is to communicate why they're not successful. I'd argue that this Purdue coaching staff hasn't been successful enough yet. We're not saying they can't be, but when they start condescending to the fanbase, it should be talked about. Tiller did something similar in the autumn of his years as his teams dropped off in production. This is a very different situation, but is still of note.

J Money said...

It's also not at all out of context. It's worse if you read the entire article. I condensed it to keep people from being more angry.

Mommatried said...

Just so I am clear...Gary Nord...the OC that jumped ship from powerhouse Florida Atlantic University...that just built a 30,000 seat stadium and have sold a total of 700 tickets to date....with another 1100 given away for promotional and tickets to the other school. This Gary Nord? The guy built nothing at FAU. He's done nothing at Purdue. Every year we hear the same punchline of injuries...meanwhile Danny Hope is hoping that nobody will recognize that he is trying to build his success on Joe Tiller's recruit of Terbush. Hope recruits get injured and arrested. And Tiller recruits....well who am I kidding, everyone knows Tiller didn't recruit. Not in the end anyway.