3 plays, -1 yard.
6 plays, 8 yards.
6 plays, 22 yards.
4 plays, 4 yards.
Illinois turned the ball over four times Saturday. The numbers you see above are the ensuing Purdue drives after those turnovers. Two turnovers in Purdue territory became punts; two turnovers in Illinois territory became a missed field goal and a failed conversion on a fake field goal, which, by the way, I totally support. Any kind of potential scoring opportunity that doesn't involve the conventional offense is fine by me, and by "conventional offense", I mean anything that John Shoop calls.
Illinois came into the game with the 101st defense in F/+, a defense that gave up 34 points to Southern Illinois, 42 to Michigan State, and 52 to Indiana. It gave up 14 points to Purdue: 7 on a play that was arguably Akeem Hunt and missed tackles, and 7 on an actual, legitimate scoring drive, one we should probably have etched in stone, given how such things have become rarities under Shoop. The rest of the game, Purdue crossed midfield exactly twice, once on a drive that ended in a punt from the Illinois 39, and once on the final, game-ending drive.
Purdue's offensive (in both senses of the word) F/+ ranking was 114th. Teams in that general vicinity include Akron and UMass, two teams fortunate even to be in the MAC, and Georgia State, a team completely new to I-A football and in only their fourth year of football, period. Did I mention that Georgia State's offense was ranked 113th? And this was prior to the disaster that was Saturday's game.
The ineptitude after Illinois mistakes is not unusual. Purdue's drives after opponent turnovers prior to the Illinois game were these: missed FG, turnover on downs, punt, FG, punt, safety, turnover on downs, punt, TD, interception, fumble. Yes, Purdue has scored exactly 10 points after opponent turnovers this season, which is really just a net of 8 points because of that safety. That lack of production pretty much negates anything the defense does: unless they score themselves (which they haven't, although the opponents have, five times), all that's likely to happen is that Purdue will either punt the ball away or turn it back over.
There is a lot of blame to go around this season, regardless of the outcome of the Indiana game (and let's not think of that today). A program that prides itself on being self-funded is unlikely to throw money away on a coach that isn't actually coaching, so I fully expect Hazell to get at least another year, if not two, to prove he can get the team moving in the right direction, but after this kind of season-long performance, I'd be very surprised if Shoop returns in any capacity in 2014. One dreadful season can be erased with the right recruiting and coaching; two such seasons can pin a program in a place that's hard to escape, and Burke isn't going to be able to fund the all-sports juggernaut he'd like to build if the football team is drawing crowds of 20,000 and 30,000 instead of 60,000. Continuity may be important for developing young talent, particularly on offense, but I can't imagine continued incompetence will help any current Boilers improve next season. Coach Shoop, would you agree with my assessment?
Thank you, Coach. That will be all.
Tonight there was a news special about Black Friday and how it's not going to be as bad due to stores being open on Thanksgiving day. They showed an old video of people stampeding into a WalMart, pushing past the employees at the door like they weren't even there. How come I immediately saw a connection between that and our team?
Jury is still out on Shoop. Hazell has said that he has intentionally kept the offense simple for Etling - that means Shoop isn't using the full playbook. He is using personnel that were recruited to run a spread offense, not a power game. He is also using undersized offensive linemen, or promising underclassmen. Heck, his starting QB was playing high school ball last season. On the other hand, I do understand that he came in with baggage from his other gigs. Before I replace my OC, I look to replace my O-line through the JUCO ranks. Just my uneducated fan perspective.
If the offensive line isn't blocking well, then a good OC would notice that and call more quick strike passes and stop running on first down.
I don't know what to think. There's times when the offense looks good, then it looks completely inept. I think much of the inconsistency can be placed on the terrible offensive line. I'm not excusing Shoop, because some of his play calls ARE totally questionable - like the throw back pass - BUT we don't have a line that consistently open up running lanes and pass protect. Even yesterday against Illinois, Etling had guys on his ass or right in his grill - and that was Illinois.
I know the defense "kept us in the game", but they're not excused AT ALL. I saw too many 3rd down conversions yesterday and too many wide open receivers...and virtually no pass rush save one or two sacks.
I'll keep beating my drum of getting better players on the defensive & offensive fronts because that's where game is controlled. I thought yesterday Illinois controlled BOTH lines of scrimmage rather well. How many times did our running plays get blown up AT or BEHIND the line?? Conversely, I barely saw our guys getting penetration or causing consistent disruption on defense.
Shoop isn't going anywhere. Over at GBI someone asked the staff after the Iowa game if they thought Shoop would be fired and the GBI staff unanimously said 'no'. The rationale being new system and almost NO talent on the O-Line. I'm not in love with this offense, but I can't see Shoop or for that matter any coach going anywhere.
This staff has 1 more season to START heading in the right direction...and 2 more seasons to start WINNING before we see folks getting canned.
@PurdueMatt For me, not you. Too many other variables. I'm not thrilled with the product on the field but I think the problems run a lot deeper than just the OC.
@CaryNW87 I don't know about undersized ... Smith is listed bigger than anyone on either OSU or Alabama's starting OL, and Pamphile's listed the same as the heaviest guys on those lines. Kugler's a bit smaller, but he's also got 24 games under his belt. And the OL at Kent State are closer to Kugler's listed weight than to Smith's.
We don't know for sure which way Hazell is going, but the two OL in his first class are listed at 250 and 300. It wouldn't surprise me if Purdue's OL looks roughly the same size in two years as it does now. If Shoop can't make his offense work unless he has Wisconsin-sized linemen (all listed at least 14 pounds lighter than Smith, oddly), then it's not going to work here.
@CaryNW87These are my favorite arguments. BUT he's playing a freshman quarterback! Response: he benched the fifth-year senior. BUT his offensive line sucks! Response: they didn't suck nearly as much last year. Whose fault is that? BUT these guys weren't recruited for this system! Response: then change the system and adapt it to where you'd like to be down the road. He will not be afforded the luxury of waiting around for 3 years for magical JUCO offensive linemen to fall off trees and land in West Lafayette.
The jury was in on Shoop in 2001, and they returned a unanimous verdict. Good coaches utilize what they have, not put square pegs in round holes. The fact is, there is no help coming on the line. These are the tools with which he has to work. Hell, give me an All-B1G offensive line and I can call plays. Anything will work.
I do not understand why people keep making excuses for this guy. This has been his MO since forever. I am sure he is a nice man, but he's getting paid a lot of money to do this job. And he's not very good at it. I wish him well somewhere else.
@PurdueMatt And a good DC would notice the short passes and move the secondary up closer to the line, giving us the results you see now.
The OL blocks decently but then they whiff big time on plays in ways that really hurt, so I'm with MiBoiler: they are hit and miss. A couple of these are directly on the LT, but he wasn't alone, and very apparent that the OC didn't trust them especially down on the goal line when he called two sweeps that were blown up. Pathetic.
Not sure if Shoop alone is the singular problem, however, and I doubt we will see more than a two game swing. There isn't enough talent and there doesn't seem to be any real ability to get the kids who are here to perform consistently anyway. My prediction is we will give him another chance or two, but I'd also see us as at best a 4 win team unless we make some major improvements in our defensive schemes and talent on the field.
Can Hazell do that? I am becoming increasingly skeptical he is up for the challenge.
This is true. Problem is that the staff has doubled down on the notion of being a power run offense that I don't think they have the capacity to re-tool the playbook. Again, I'm not excusing Shoop - it's just that they've gone all in on this idea that they can't go back.
@PurdueMatt You can't spell Shoop without SH*t and *OOP. I really haven't seen such poor playcalling since Frodo Akers. I hope the coaches see an opportunity here and play guys who normally wouldn't see the field (3rd string freshman, etc.). It's a good opportunity to see if there's any talent hidden in the roster. Especially since the usual suspects aren't doing much of anything.
@PurdueMatt The entire game was textbook Shoop. 3rd and 8, five yard pass. 3rd & 2, 1 yard pass (!). And my favorite call, 4th & 1, the hard count. I could see the Illinois linemen laughing from my seats in the end zone. What a gutless, punchless, hopeless, heartless, worm-headed sack of monkey shit gameplan it was. Hallelujah, holy shit. Where's the tylenol?
@berris_fueller @CaryNW87 Repsonse: Being a 5th year senior doesn't magically give you better ability. QB play has not exactly regressed under Etling – pretty sad when 3 seasons of D1 ball give you virtually no advantage over a college freshman. Response: Marve and co. got killed on a regular basis last year, too. Response: Are you suggesting that we go back to the system that didn't work before since that is what our guys were recruited for?
It sounds like you have an inside track on recruiting news. Do tell - who is / isn't coming next year?
No four-star offensive linemen. One three-star OL, and Boilerdowd alluded to him last week.
I'm suggesting that the coaching staff runs a system that can be executed with some degree of success with the talent on hand.