We're consistent if nothing else.
We've never thought TerBush was the answer at QB...and we can't stand to see Purdue's student athletes bad-mouthed by Purdue fans. Are we contradicting ourselves? We don't think so...We're observing what we see.
Danny Hope has told the Boiler faithful multiple times this season that TerBush earned the #1 QB spot in practice. Granted, none of us see what he, Nord and company see...he doesn't allow that. But, as a guy who's gotten nervous in front of a crowd while playing sports, I can tell you that practice performance doesn't equal gametime...but as a guy who has also coached, I appreciate players that work hard in practice.
What we all do see is that 19 struggles with pressure and tends to make decisions slowly in the games. He played pretty poorly Saturday...and the problems he normally has, he displayed versus a determined UM defense. But before you get internet brave and start calling a 6'5" 20-something year old names via Twitter, think about this- that loss wasn't his fault.
The loss was a team product. Poor preparation led to poor execution...Poor execution led to poor situations...Poor situations led to very few adjustments, sadly. Purdue was beaten in every aspect of the game yesterday.
But back to the TerBush discussion- I don't blame the kid for they type of player he is. He wasn't a highly-touted recruit...he came from a pretty small school...and he predominantly ran the option as he led his squad to a state championship his Senior season. He's got an unusual passing motion that hasn't improved a ton since he arrived on campus and has never been described as having a cannon of an arm. He's effective-enough when running the ball, and OK at making checks at the line of scrimmage. He is what he is. I can't blame him for not being Drew Brees...or Kyle Orton...or Billy Dicken...or even John Reeves (when he played QB).
Based on what Hope and company said in recent weeks, they believed that Purdue's newly-revamped defense only needed a game manager- A guy to do exactly as they asked him and exactly as they expected him to do...and the running game and defense would bring home the victory.
We all know now that formula isn't going to fly versus good teams.
The offensive line struggled to create space and struggled to keep a clean pocket for any of the QBs that played. And the defense couldn't stop anything yesterday. Each time they really needed to get off the field, they'd allow a yard or 50 more than UM needed for the first down.
While there's enough blame to go around, the buck stops at the top...right? Not TerBush, not even the coordinators who called the plays and formations...but the guy that hired them, right?
Well, we have less of a problem with Purdue fans pointing their collective vitriol at a guy that gets paid than doing so at the amateurs...you know that if you visited here for a while.
But, perhaps our collective blame and ire should go higher still...to a guy who isn't just the most-recent mustached face of the football program, but the guy who has been the face of the entire athletic program for 20 years, and the one who controls the purse strings. He's made some great decisions, no doubt about that. We've given him credit for successes like the hiring of Matt Painter and the Mackey renovation, when it's been deserved. But when you think about it, what we've seen from Coach Hope isn't much different from what we've seen from Caleb TerBush...and like TerBush, Hope is who he is.
Perhaps Hope is learning how to run a B1G program on the job...but the game plan and lack of adjustments v. UM didn't seem to show much progress. The thrashings that have been handed out to Hope-coached squads in the last few years, by the league's leaders, and even upper-middle foes, seem to exhibit a trend.
Many Purdue faithful are calling for Hope to be fired. But before you call for that, look at a few givens that exist.
Burke looked for an inexpensive option when he hired Hope, and he got it. He continued by making Hope's coaching staff one of the lowest-paid in the conference. Even when Hope replaced key parts of the staff following his new contract signing in early '12, he still wasn't given much of a budget increase. And while I was impressed with Tibesar's defense versus MAC and DI-AA opponents, I've been thoroughly unimpressed in the last three halves of football.
Maybe we will see a vastly-improved effort and an air-tight scheme next week...maybe Wisconsin's style of play will create better match-ups for Purdue and produce a more-competitive game. I don't know the future; even the near future.
What I do know is the last few years...and more recently, this last week, has been pretty lousy for the program. As a result, tickets will not be flying off the shelves for next week's contest...just like they haven't been selling in the past few seasons. That loss of revenue and its subsequent effect to the athletic department's bottom line, is something that Burke understands quite well. And while he ignores negative feedback from fans on websites like this, he will not ignore the gaping hole in his budget created by poor ticket sales much longer.
If things don't change quickly, as in this week, the program and ticket sales for the rest of this season will probably be eerily-similar to the last few seasons. As a result Purdue's AD will be looking to hold someone accountable for this situation at the season's end. His search shouldn't last long as he won't need to look outside his office for the culpable party.