Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Hazell's Double Duty and Gumbo

This is a pretty slow time for Purdue sports...but things are going on behind the scenes.

Our underdog Boiler football team is preparing for a bowl with a skeleton crew of coaches, the basketball team is in the midst of a much-needed bye week, of sorts, and Purdue's new football coach is splitting time between his current/former job and his new/current job...and seems to be doing OK at it.

The NCAA issued him the waiver that Morgan Burke talked about during the press conference that officially announced his hiring...and right away, Hazell was on the road seeking to hold on to the verbal commitments to the program and possibly get a few more.

His top two priorities were Rivals 4-star QB Danny Etling and 3-star RB David Yancey.  Both will be mid-year enrollees, both were impressed with Purdue's new HC, and both are sticking to their commitments to wear the metallic beige gold and black.

If Hazell's living room presence is anything like his press conference presence, we can all understand why these guys both recommitted. He's got ten more in-home visits to make to verbals, a couple to make to guys who de-committed and a few to try to pick up to round out the class.

Before he even made a visit, he picked up a verbal from a Florida DB with offers from Oklahoma, Ole Miss, Florida and others.  Hope and his staff clearly did the ground work on Leroy Clark, but the hire of Hazell got the deal done.

While our Boilers will lose some Seniors in key positions, Danny Hope left the cupboard far from bare...and the focus on speed during the recruiting process is something that Hazell and his yet-to-be-named coaching staff should be able to utilize.

Hazell said he loves road trips because driving gives him a chance to think through everything that's going on in life...he'll have plenty of time to get his mind right as he drives hundreds, if not thousands of miles in the month and one-half...with a built-in no-contact period smack dab in the center of that timespan along with Christmas and Kent State's bowl.  Busy bee.

On Saturday, Purdue will look to get their biggest win of the season thus far as they make the short trip South to Indy to play the hated Irish and Scott Martin.  It's too bad that Hummel didn't get a 15th year like his childhood pal so he could pistol whip ole scott, but it didn't work out that the suddenly-sloppy Boilers will have the daunting task of beating an experienced and large UND team that is fundamentally-sound and has a bunch of scorers.

I'm hoping Byrd becomes the sixth man off of the bench as he was last season and Purdue begins to run a lot more.  With their shooting woes, multiple slashers and trouble with full-court presses, it seems the best thing to do for this squad would be to not let opposing defenses get set up...and as the Eastern Michigan game showed, this team's halfcourt game leaves a lot to be desired.  On top of that, the usually hard-nosed defense has been replaced with inconsistent effort as some of the young guys simply look gassed with regularity.

Whether it's running or gutting out victories, Purdue has to change in a hurry in order to simply be respectable, let-alone get to the NIT...not NCAA tournament. Matty and his capable staff have their work cut out for them...and I have faith in these guys. BUT, it's gonna feel like it's them against the world as Mackey will continue to have thousands of empties (sadly, mind you) as Purdue's Pups seek cohesion and identity.

Less-Important Basketball
There's no doubt this season has been disappointing so far.  A loss to a MAC team is pretty awful...and the loss to Villanova (who lost 4 of their next 5) looks pretty damned bad too. But surprises, both good and bad aren't limited to God's country right now.

Kentucky's always star-studded cast has three losses, UNC's four and five-star studded lineup can't manage to get a quality win...and the B1G is loaded to the gills.

If you're like me, it's tough to swallow the idea of Purdue being in the bottom of the conference...but this medicine might be what we all have to swallow this season.  Penn State, the Gasser-less Badgers our Boilers, Nebraska and the always mild (come March) Cats might be fighting amongst themselves for the bottom third of the conference crown in the coming months.  The rest of the conference seems to be monstrous...and all power ranking polls agree.  If nothing else, Purdue will have opportunities for quality wins this season...the question is, will they get them?  (And will Mackey become a tough place to play again this season?)

One of my favorite things to do, in relation to this site, is talk to fellow Boiler alums and sports fans and then see if they know/visit the site.  I got to do that last night at my wife's work Christmas party. It is always motivating and humbling for me to talk to people that make BS part of their daily ritual, whether on here, Twitter or FB. Thanks to everyone who reads the site and the other outlets. It's appreciated.


Santos L. Halper said...

ND lost to St. Joe's, not St. John's.

boilerdowd said...

Thanks for the heads up...guess that's not as promising.

Boilergal said...

Heck, I'll be down at Conseco for the games this weekend. And, I will be at the remaining homes games... unless I end up giving our tix to PURDUE fans, instead.

We have much to look forward to with the football team. Can you imagine how we would feel if Hope was still the HC?

The basketball team will be gaining valuable experience this season that will hopefully put it in excellent, weathered condition for the years to come. Byrd is all we lose this season and that's not looking like a huge loss at the moment. I hope, as well, that he starts coming off of the bench. And, I hope that someone steps up and decides to lead this team the rest of this season and into next season. I'm not really worried where this season goes... and when I resign myself to those positions, that is usually when Purdue kicks it up a notch, just to keep me hanging on for more.

Hope you guys have great Christmas' with your families!!

Anonymous said...

I have a question that will likely get jumped on. Apologies for "going there", but you touch on recruiting and it's an important question: Does Hazell being black help with recruiting, specifically in the deep south Georgia/North Florida/Alabama, etc, where the demographic for a lot of the highly sought after recruits is southern metropolitan African American?

Dear Lord I'm scared of the responses, but would appreciate an honest answer from someone who actually knows about it. Dowd or J, you have anyone who could opine?

Unknown said...

Winamac Boiler I've actually been wondering the very same thing, I just haven't had the cyber balls to ask it. Race is always a sensitive subject, but I believe you asked in a very politically correct fashion. I'm very curious as to J and BDowd's responses.

boilerdowd said...

Unknown- if you're the same person that was here last week, please get a recognizable username so we know you're a return visitor.

WB, I addressed this a bit ago as well, I'm glad Purdue hired the best candidate for the job first off...but am very pleased that he happens to be black. I wanted Sumlin for football and Martin for basketball on multiple occasions, and while their race wasn't the main reason for me liking them, it definitely didn't hurt.

Hazell's presence is impressive, regardless of the color of his skin...but his race surely will not hurt in recruiting.

Now, to say that race in general is a help in recruiting isn't really fair, and probably isn't accurate. For instance, Embree's (at Colorado) gameday ineptitude probably made recruiting very difficult. The fact that he was black probably didn't matter much to most of the guys he was talking to...the fact that he had one win did.

If Hazell wins and continues to communicate the way we've seen him do so thus far, the sky is the limit. Now, if his race is the most-important thing to a recruit...before record...before personality...before academics...before opportunity...the kid will be in for a rude awakening when he arrives in West La La.

I'm not glad Purdue got just any black coach, I'm glad Purdue got Hazell...who happens to be black.

BoilerBloodline said...

Very well put white boilerdowd.

Anonymous said...

I hear you, dowd, and completely agree, but throwing in the "shitty coach" variable (Buffs) throws the whole question askew. My intent was all things remaining equal, does it help our cause. I would tend to think yes.

J Money said...

All that said, Winamac, Danny Hope evidently wowed enough kids of various races that they wanted to carry him off the field despite a glaring lack of success on the field. And you can't be much whiter than Danny Hope.

So who the hell knows. I'm with b-dowd... I'm happy we have Hazell. If his being black helps, terrific. And if it was something that HURT getting a recruit... he's not a recruit I want representing Purdue anyhow.

Anonymous said...


Brotherman85 said...

I think the race of a head coach is independent to their ability to recruit players. Just to name some examples, take a look at Nick Saban (Alabama), Will Mushamp (Florida), Bret Bielema (Wisconsin’s old coach) or Les Miles (LSU).

Like Boilerdowd stated perfectly:

"I'm not glad Purdue got just any black coach, I'm glad Purdue got Hazell...who happens to be black."

That is all you need to say.

boilerdowd said...

BoilerBloodline- what does that mean?