Monday, July 22, 2013

In Case you missed it...

We've begun transitioning over to the network.  You can access our new site by clicking here.

We wanted to get some of the growing pains out of the way before football camp was here...

One of those growing pains is that our posts are not automatically fed to our Twitter followers...this is another thing we're working out and should have figured out soon.

We love having the opportunity of working with the Bloguin guys...and'll start to feel like the BS you know and love.

Thanks for bearing with us during the transition.

-Boilerdowd & J Money

Sunday, July 14, 2013

It's been too long...Whattya been up to?

So family vacations and work travel have combined to create one of the longest dead periods in the seven year history of BS.

We've missed you guys though...and you look good.  Have you been working out? Running? Whatever it is, the summer suits you.

Turns out that the summer also suits Coach Haze.  If you follow us on Twitter, you know that we touched on the importance of the verbal commitment of Gelen Robinson to the, currently-under-remodeling, program.  Hazell wanted Big Dog's son to be a piece that he would build his defense around...and he got his guy.

Robinson knew a few days before he verballed that he wanted to be a Boiler...but made it official six days ago.  By official, we mean unofficial, because verbal commitments aren't always in stone.  That said, Robinson sounds a bit like some of the other key cogs to Hazell's first full class- they really want to be Boilers.

If you subscribe to GBI, you know how steadfast the commitment from Texas QB prospect, David Plough has been.  He tore up the Elite 11 camp and finished as one of the top quarterbacks in the invite-only televised event/camp.  During the camp, he wore a Purdue visor to show where he stood...afterward, he broadcasted to the college football world that he was going to be a Boilermaker regardless of who came at him.

Good for him...Good for Coach Haze...good for us as Purdue fans.  If his commitment sticks, Purdue will be in an enviable position in the coming seasons as they'll have options...talented, smart options at the QB position.  As for the immediate future, I've been asked a question a lot the last few months- "Who do you want the starter to be?"

Well, I still like Appleby, because I've met him and like him he slings the ball and looks the part.  But, between the three real candidates for the job...two really...I wouldn't mind seeing either starting versus Cincy.  Both have parts of their game that are advantageous for the team.  So I'll defer to the coaches to make the right decision.  But regardless of whom they choose, I want to see Purdue in the position to win this year...not next. And really, I don't see a reason that either Etling nor Henry can't do it this fall. Let me clarify- it'll be equally challenging for both with the many underclassmen that will be playing significant roles...BUT, if the coaching staff thinks one gives the team a better chance to win right away, I'm good with that decision.

The honeymoon period is still on, afterall, around the Purdue football program...and the actions and behavior by the staff this summer have done nothing to shorten this semi-blissful time.

Who's Next?
A few sources reassured Purdue fans last week that Micah Shrewsberry wouldn't be a candidate to join Stevens in Boston.  But here at BS, we were concerned.  We like Shrewsberry.  I like him as a coach, like him as a man and like and know his family.

So when whispers started rising up about him heading to the league, I didn't like it...and of course, when the rumours went from hazy smoke to a blazing inferno, I was less-than-happy.  To some of you, it's no big deal, but others might know what I know- Shrewsberry helped the Boilers get out of their funk last season because Painter trusted him enough to pick his brain and heed his advice.

Stevens trusted Shrews before his pal Matt asked if he could steal him from Butler- that's two pretty solid basketball minds that agree that Shrewsberry was important to their staff.

And now, he's gone and a spot is open on Painter's what's the next move for Painter?

I liked Cardinal as a coach more than a year ago when he expressed interest in being on the staff.  But from what I have read and heard from John Purdue-ers, he's a natural at fund-raising and glad-handing...and he seems to really enjoy it.

So if you were in my age group (mid-to-late 30s), had made a great living for the last 15 years, had a position in which you didn't have to be part of the hectic schedule of your old job, and you were appreciated everywhere you went, would you leave it? I wouldn't.

That said, I think Cardinal was a candidate to take Shrewsberry's position on the staff...Before he removed himself from Matty's short list a few days ago, as Boiler Sports Report's (scout) Chris Emma reported a few days ago.

Kenneth Lowe, who also expressed interest in eventually coaching at his alma mater, and has played professionally in Europe, and currently coaches across the pond, has to be in the mix as well.  Purdue fans also have talked about Brandon Brantley, who currently coaches AAU (I believe) as a candidate.

In my opinion, if it's not Lowe, it's someone we don't see coming.  Painter is very respected in the coaching ranks and is known very well for teaching the motion offense to high school and small college coaches at camps and clinics.  His memory with names and faces, ability to handle adversity with poise and his success makes him someone that many other coaches want to be near.  Plus, the B1G, Mackey and Purdue's heritage still carry weight as a lure for a potential coach from the outside.

Regardless of whom is chosen, recruiting connections will matter.  If Painter's close to a decision, he's done an excellent job keeping it quiet...we'll watch as it develops.

Here are a couple of names that I'd like to see get a look- Darnell Archey- former Butler assistant who followed Graves to South Alabama.  Upside? Great Xs and Os training under Stevens...could help Boilers with FT shooting (I kid...or do I?). Jeremy Ballard of VCU- Shaka Smart assistant coach, young...driven.  Downside? No connection to Purdue...but might inject additional life into program. Dane Fisher- from Bucknell is another outsider with a good resume.  Fundamentals and playing within a system are a focus at Bucknell and Fisher has been mentioned as an HC candidate a few times in the last few years.  Finally, Ryne Smith...Sure, this is a long shot, but it won't stop us from rooting for our pal to get a look from his old boss and coach.

More to come, assuredly...if it happens while I'm on the West Coast, stay tuned to our Twitter feed...

Friday, July 05, 2013

Boston Trickle Down?

We had a clown from Boston come at us on Twitter for some reason when we reacted to the Brad Stevens hire by the Cs.  We're both pretty big fans of Stevens; really tough not to be.  He's a class act that did the seemingly-impossible by taking Butler to two national title games STRAIGHT. The guy can coach, and his demeanor seems to be ideal for the job.

Barry Collier and Brad Stevens helped engineer Butler's rapid ascent through the college basketball world. Collier has made all the right decisions on whom should run his program...and the former Bulldog coach helped Butler leapfrog from the Horizon to the A10 to the new Big East.  But now, hiring an assistant off of Butler's bench seems like a mile-long shot as Matthew Graves has left his alma mater to be head coach at South Alabama (hired in March).  Yesterday, he reassured everyone that he's staying put in his new post and wouldn't be a candidate at Butler.

Who knows...maybe the changes at Butler will eventually lead to our pal Ryne (out of focus in the background) coaching at Butler?
That leaves Butler with a pair of coaches in Michael Lewis and Terry Johnson who simply aren't ready for the bright lights of a legit basketball conference. This is where this story gets close to Purdue- Stevens' old head assistant coach, Micah Shrewsberry would seem to be a logical target for the post.  But, Coach Shrews is still pretty green...and my hope is he isn't even in Collier's rolodex at this point.

I think it's fairly obvious that Shrewsberry will be a head coach again someplace in the next few seasons. He can recruit, is a great ambassador for wherever he works and has coached under some pretty successful coaches in Stevens and Painter. Before Purdue and Butler though, he had been an assistant coach for U. Indy, Wabash and Depauw, and had a brief head coaching stint at IU South Bend.

Friends of mine at Butler tell me that it seems that UM's LaVall Jordan looks to be the guy...and the reports of him interviewing at Butler are legit.  If Collier pulls the trigger and hires Jordan, this might have an effect on Purdue yet again as Jordan has been the recruiting spearhead for Beilein the last few seasons...and a few recruits that Painter wants to see in black and gold are leaning toward UM at this point.

The effects of Stevens wisely taking the Boston job could be positive for Purdue...but who really knows. What I do know is that college basketball lost a great coach to a league that I can barely watch; that's the shame of it for me. While I'm surrounded by Butler grads, I still am not much of a fan of Butler...but I couldn't help but root for Stevens.  Now it'll be easier to resume not caring too much about Butler's basketball program once again (if they hire Jordan).

That said, I still marvel at Butler's ability to simply plug and play coach after coach after coach. In the time that Purdue has had two coaches, Butler has had five. Collier's success as a head coach really made Butler's program noteworthy because he took Butler to their first three NCAA tournaments (starting in '97)..but his successors took the next step.  Matta, Lickliter and Stevens had a composite winning percentage of 68%.  There's no question that The Butler Way, which Collier credits to Tony Hinkle, has some credence. While some of the ideas of the philosophy that has built Butler's program are Hinkle's, there's no question that the architect is really Collier.  He's in a pretty unenviable spot right now though.

A friend of mine is a booster at Butler and he thinks if Jordan is hired, Butler should give thought to hiring Gene Keady as a consultant or assistant that would help mentor the young coaching staff there.  I'd love to see that happen and think Keady would bring some wisdom to an extremely young bench...but once again, I'd be forced to kinda root for Butler to succeed; something I'd rather not do.

J just posted his fear of Stevens ending up back in college basketball clad in the hideous blood red and off-white...and I can't think of worse scenario for Purdue fans.  So as of right now, I'm rooting for Stevens to beat the odds by making a successful jump from college to the league and making me actually care about the NBA for the first time in over a decade.  Here's to the Good Witch of Zionsville kicking ass Boston.

The Good Witch Takes His Act to Beantown

Legitimately cutting down nets
We've joked before that Brad Stevens is a "good witch," because of the magic he was able to sprinkle onto his Butler University basketball program for the past six seasons, which included back-to-back national runners-up in 2010 and 2011.

Stevens, as you know unless you've been in a drunken stupor the past few days (and if you have, good for you for celebrating our independence in true American fashion), took the head coaching job with the Boston Celtics on Wednesday. People were shocked, mainly because Stevens seemed to be a Butler lifer -- or at least he seemed committed to Butler for the foreseeable future. Stevens had been linked to jobs at UCLA, Illinois and other places over the past few years, but he and his family love Indianapolis and always felt more at home there than anywhere else. Add to that the fact that Stevens proved you can win at a smaller program like Butler (backed up not just by the two title game appearances, but the fact that he never won fewer than 22 games while compiling a .772 winning percentage and really, was within one rattled out heave from winning the 2010 national title over Duke) and it began to feel like that warm, fuzzy, feel-good story might continue.

Here was a guy who had nearly reached the mountaintop (and, really, in college basketball, the goal always seems to be reaching a Final Four -- national titles are, of course, the ultimate goal, but Final Fours are probably more frequently referred to when judging coaches) and who seemed to love where he was. Plus he was young, likable and seemed to say and do all the right things.

Then, jarringly, Stevens bolted for Boston. We've never made any secret of the fact that we like Stevens a lot. B-dowd's brother and sister-in-law graduated from Butler and I remember saying to them that I hoped Purdue could one day match the Final Four success of a big time program like Butler (the jokes write themselves sometimes!).

At the same time, he scared us a bit as Purdue fans. While we are unfailingly in support of Matt Painter and his approach, recruiting against Indiana and Notre Dame in the state of Indiana already meant the top players in the state were no easy feat to land. With Butler rising to levels of success IU hasn't seen in a long time (or ever, if you're considering back-to-back Finals appearances) and obviously far better than Purdue or ND basketball has seen, the idea that "mid-major" Butler could "steal" recruits away from the big boys took on serious life. After all, wouldn't you want to play for Brad Stevens? And what if you could play for that guy and be a national darling (like a Gonzaga but with actual substance and the ability to win big games)? And go to Final Fours? Well, hell, that sounds great.

So that was concerning enough. But again, liking the guy and what he was doing made it hard to be anything
but admiring of him and his own version of the "Butler Way." Butler had been sneaky successful for quite a while, under a number of coaches, but Stevens broke through to that proverbial next level.

As this all was happening, murmurs began in different parts of Indiana that maybe he was the guy who should be leading one of the more "marquee" national programs in the state. Painter is a likable guy and a very good coach, but did he have what it took to get to Final Fours? And what about Tom Crean? He can recruit like a mo-fo, but his in-game abilities as a coach have never been marveled at. Fans are restless. Naturally, people talked. What could Brad Stevens do with Purdue or IU's budget, facilities and name recognition?

For us, the more concerning thing was that IU would realize that pretty much anyone could recruit kids to IU -- what they needed (and still need) is a coach who can win tough games, instead of just the ones where his talent overwhelms opponents. Could that happen? We genuinely feared it. Because a Brad Stevens-coached Hoosiers team would be awful from a Purdue perspective in different ways. We'd still loathe them, of course, but they'd be a lot more difficult to hate with Stevens running things. And, of yeah, they'd surely be back in the Final Four on a likely regular basis, so that would be hard to stomach, too.

Now Stevens takes his act to Boston to coach the unlikable Celtics. People are already talking about him co-existing with Rajon Rondo. While I think Rondo is a jackass, I don't think it's fair to assume they can't coexist. Stevens is the type of guy who gets everybody on the same page and has a zen quality when it comes to keeping everyone calm and focused. Doesn't that sound like it might be a good quality to have for the NBA grind? As for Rondo, though, I think he'll be gone before the season starts, so Stevens will probably have a very mediocre team to build from the ground up. Maybe he'll mold them in his ideal shape. Or maybe he'll crash and burn like so many college coaches before him. If he does, what's the downside? He'll be markedly richer and he'll still be the hottest name in college coaching, even 3-5 years from now. In addition, he'll have been to the "promised land" of the NBA, which will undoubtedly help with coaching/recruiting college kids.

That's where my negative, Purdue-centric mind takes us. Three to five more years of Tom Crean's act in Bloomington might be just the right amount of time for a) NCAA infractions to come to light (not saying there are any, but if there are, they never stay in the dark forever) or b) IU to realize they'll be consistently talented and win games under Crean, but aren't likely to add to their musty collection of banners under him. What if that coincides with Brad Stevens becoming available again? Could the nightmare happen a few years down the road? That's the kind of thing that keeps a Purdue fan who has seen years of banana peels up at night.

Suffering from March Madness
In the meantime, we honestly wish Stevens well and, from a more narrow-minded and "now" thinking Purdue perspective, we're happy Matt Painter doesn't have to contend with Stevens either on the recruiting trail or on the court in the Crossroads Classic. For now, Butler's loss is the rest of the state of Indiana's gain, from that point of view. He's the rare guy who could make us pull for the Boston Celtics (at least a little).

In the end, I would suspect that it had nothing to do with not being unhappy at Butler. I think Stevens loved it there and wanted to coach at no other college or university. For those being cynical, I don't think it was an act on his part -- he believed in the Butler Way and his own way of doing things. However, sometimes in life new challenges become available to you that require getting out of your comfort zone. There's no shame in not taking on those new challenges -- especially if you're really happy with what you're doing -- but there's also a lot of people who would lose sleep wondering "what might have been," or wondering if they could have met those new challenges. The NBA is likely that for Brad Stevens -- a new challenge for an ambitious guy who is only where he is because of his gumption and confidence to take the leap and reach for new heights. How else to describe a guy who was working at Eli Lilly when offered the chance at a volunteer position at Butler, yet took the volunteer position and quit his paying job? This guy goes for it, which is just one more reason to admire him.

Happy trails, Coach Stevens. Continue to do what makes you happy.

Thursday, July 04, 2013

Top Things Said on July 4

Why are you reading a Purdue blog on July 4?

If you're at work killing time, our apologies. But if you're doing what people do on summer holiday weekends, well, maybe you're reading this by the pool or a lake or the ocean.... in which case, can we see what you're wearing? (Not you, guys.)

So what are the most common things uttered today around our great nation? Here's a sampling and the percentage of Americans who say it (or something similar) today:

"Happy Fourth!" (71%)
"Hey, do you have a towel?" (64%)
"Another beer?" (54%)
"Hey, does this meat look cooked to you?" (52%)
"Can I rub some lotion on your back?" (42%)
"Do you think this is a good idea?" (39% and so many meanings)

Whatever you're doing today, thanks for reading us on occasion and enjoy your Independence Day.

Oh, and those items above are made up.

Wednesday, July 03, 2013

As the Hutch Turns

One of our favorite pasttimes around here when we had nothing better to do was to string up our Terry Hutchens pinata and take a few whacks at him. The great part about Hutchens was that it didn't matter which column or blog post you read of his -- they were all chock full of IU homerism, poor grammar and syntax, strange references, complaints about how tiring it was to be a sportswriter, etc. You always had something to mock. And everyone knows we're jerkfaces who like to mock.

Well, things took a turn recently. Hutch was removed from being the IU beat writer at the Indy Star and was reportedly going to move to cover basketball recruiting. This, sadly, would have required Hutch to at least pretend to have an ounce of journalistic impartiality, so he did what any self-respecting Hoosier-lover would do -- he bolted. He's now landed at Fox's Scout network, specifically at

(Some people are under the impression that Hutchens was let go from the Star. I'm not clear on this, and there doesn't seem to be a definitive report out there -- what is known is that he was removed from the IU beat, reportedly as part of a "shake up" and assigned to cover basketball recruiting. This didn't seem like a fit to many of us and so it makes sense to think Terry would have then walked away rather than doing something outside his comfort zone. That said, this is still mostly conjecture on our part. Educated conjecture. Hutchens has not offered any more details on his twitter feed -- just his announcement of going to Scout. Before that, it was the usual IU cheerleading.)

Terry can now "cover" the Hoosiers and Tom Crean in his customary, fawning way. And his fans are thrilled:

dbwheat says: Great news. I've always liked Hutch. Especially compared to that other so-called sports writer for the Indy Star. 

Yeah, those "so called writers." Anyone who doesn't shill for IU, well, I just don't think they can be trusted! Yeeehaw!

bronkonagurski says: The IndyStar has turned to crap for a while now.  He might be better off this way.

Indeed. Get the decent men out of there while we still can! Let's get them to a bastion of journalism.... a scout message board.

And JCBasketball opines: Hutch will do this place a lot of good.

I agree. As long as he learns that a "blog" the entire thing and a "post" is what he writes each day. 

Other rumored changes included the Star getting a Purdue beat writer, which Purdue fans responded to with derision. The Indy Star? A Purdue beat writer? I think most Purdue fans figured even if this happened, it would all be a ruse, where the "beat writer" would pretend to cover Purdue just up until Purdue fans began trusting him and then -- BAM -- he'd tear off his polo shirt to reveal an IU jersey and candystriped pants.

Well, the Star must have decided, "Meh, we haven't paid attention to Purdue in decades so why start now?" Because according to Kent Sterling (whose name should really be that of a porn star or a superhero -- or a superhero porn star?), no such Purdue beat writer will be assigned. *sad trombone*

You'll note in Sterling's column that no ND beat writer will be assigned, either, but I would think that's less concerning to ND fans since they already have their own network, as well as legions of lazy columnists around the country to carry their water. 

Why are the guys at a Purdue blog writing about an IU guy? Well, because we have a special love for Terry, and he knows it. Also, because what else are we going to write about right now?

In truth, I'd like to say that while we may rip on entities (like ESPN or the BTN) and individuals (such as Terry), we don't truly wish bad things upon anyone. Terry has a family to support, like so many of us, so we wish him well in terms of having gainful employment. (See, Terry! We can be nice!) That said, when you write publicly for a living, you're open to criticism, which we're more than happy to offer.

Here's to more column-filling goodness from Hutch. 

Friday, June 28, 2013

South End of Ross-Ade: Morgan, It's All Figured Out

On Friday morning, as Morgan Burke reads BS with his coffee in hand ("World's Best A.D." mug, I'm assuming), we wanted to give him the solution for the South end zone at Ross-Ade that he most likely is hoping to find here on one of his favorite websites.

For those who don't remember, we posted a rendering of what the South end of the stadium could look like back in April of 2012:

As we said then, it's pretty awesome, thus it is ensured not to happen.

Well, the guy responsible for the concept is Purdue Alum Matthew Wille. Matt got in touch with us and has an updated version of his rendering, which we also wanted to share here.

Click to embiggen

Matt has added some obvious touches, such as the P at midfield and the RR crossing sign on the Purdue tunnel side (which actually says "Boiler Crossing," in reality, I think), but he also added All American names and numbers to the south brick wall, which I have to say, is yet another fantastic touch. Much like is done in Mackey, let's remind the guys who are there of the greats that came before them. Let's remind everyone who mocks Purdue football that, yes, there actually have been quite a few legendary guys who have come through....The Furnace. (Just trying it out.)

Morgan Burke did talk in 2007 about how the Mackey renovation would put Stage II of the Ross-Ade renovations on hold -- that being the second deck on the East side of the stadium -- and that Stage III (a second deck on the North end) might never happen. Well, I would again submit that this improvement to the South end of the stadium would be far more valuable to the look and feel of Ross-Ade than any extra half-filled mezzanine would be. Note that Matt has a train up on the brick facade -- if we assume this train is stationary, why not make each car a luxury box? You've now already upped the ticket value of the entire South end, while also giving the stadium a fantastic improved look.

Make it happen, Morgan.

Sunday, June 23, 2013

A Little Reminder...

Before today, Hazell and Purdue's program were on a hot streak; one player left a verbal to another school, another turned his back on a few of college football's blue bloods to be part of what is being built in West Lafayette, and the class looked to be shaping up nicely- recent developments don't change that. But earlier this evening, Purdue didn't get one they really wanted...can't remember his name right now, but his story is one that reminds us of why we approach recruiting the way we do here at BS.

Hazell and his staff did everything right in this one- offered the kid early when seemingly no one else was interested...showed him the love that so many recruits talk about in the way of pulling out all of the stops during his most-recent visit on campus; and it didn't matter.  Unlike Ward, this guy was enamored with another program.  What can you say, but, "Oh well."

In an ideal world, your favorite football program would get every player they really wanted...every guy they poured time into. In the real world, Hazell is simply a salesman selling an idea (at this point).  Good salesman still strike out quite often...Great salesman do the same, but have a thick skin and move on quickly to the next opportunity.  I suspect that Coach Haze has already done so...because he has to.

Here's to Purdue getting a bunch of players on campus that really want to be Boilermakers...really want to work toward a common goal...and really want to win the right way while making those who chose otherwise wish they had done so.

Have a great week, and remember that while watching recruiting is a good diversion during the doldrums, it can also teeter toward being creepy if you get too bothered by things that don't go your way. Onward and upward...Hammer down, Coach Haze.