Joe Tiller Says It's Gonna Be A Rough Ride
Joe Tiller was quoted on Friday in the South Bend Tribune -- the first place I go for all Purdue-related coverage -- talking about the state of Purdue football.* While Joe's comments are interesting, it's probably worth noting that he's firing off these opinions from the porch of his home in Buffalo, Wyoming, which means he's pretty far from West Lafayette and knowing what's going on inside the program. That said, Coach Tiller thinks it's going to be a tough road.
“I watched that Cincinnati game (a 42-7 loss in the Aug. 31 season opener), and I felt sorry for them. They’re in for a long season.”
Related to that, Coach Tiller thinks Coach Hazell has a job ahead of him:
“Probably the hardest thing is the expectation level,” Tiller said. “I see some statements about how good they could be and how they could win seven or eight games or whatever. And if I see anybody says that, I’m thinking, ‘Man, they’re pie in the sky.’
“I have not seen (Hazell) say that, but I have seen the Purdue administration say that. And so the more of that that gets repeated, that creates some expectations that are difficult to measure up to. Furthermore, I think I’m glad that we were able to accomplish something at Purdue, but I think that we’re probably his worst enemy from the point of view that people expect some quick results and they expect them to be successful now and the like. And that’s unrealistic."
So expecitng reasonably quick success from a coach who has a recent (albeit short) history of quick success coaching a team that reminds many of a period of Purdue football where they had quick success is.... unrealistic. And why does ol' Joe think that's unrealistic?
"I think there’s a big misnomer that Purdue has recruited well in the last short period of time, recruited better than what they had been recruiting. And as a result of that, you would think that all those players that were such good recruits would be on the field today and they would be an improved squad.
“In reality, I think they’ve gotten worse. And that’s a tough deal for Darrell to swallow, because some people actually bought that BS and they do think that Purdue is a more talented team than it was six, seven, eight years ago. And that simply isn’t true. So he’s got to dig his way out of that dilemma, and that’s going to take some time.”
No word on whether by "BS" Joe is referring to Boiled Sports (but probably).
I also find it interesting that Tiller is apparently trying to point out something of a defense for Hazell -- and by doing so, he seems to be taking a direct shot at the man he helped pick to succeed him, Mr. Daniel Hope. Most Purdue fans tended to agree that Hope wasn't a terrible recruiter at all -- and it stands to reason, given his energy and "Go team!" persona, not to mention is unwavering loyalty to "his guys" -- but it sounds like Tiller disagrees. I have not found myself wishing for more talent in recent years -- really in many years, going back to Colletto -- but instead wishing for things that are in a team's control: effort, focus, preparation, discipline, etc. I think we all agree that Coach Hazell has the most emphasis on those items of any coach we can remember.
The truth is, by "six, seven, eight years ago," Joe Tiller was tired of the job and a big part of the job is recruiting -- especially at Purdue, where 4 and 5 star guys don't line up to attend. Maybe he wasn't being specific, but he's offandedly referencing 2005-2007, a period in which Purdue severely underachieved. 2005 was that magical season where Purdue was ranked #11 after a 2-0 start and then lost six straight. 2006 and 2007 were both 8-win campaigns, but in 14 and 13 game seasons. Ugh. By far Purdue's easiest years to achieve the mystical 10-win plateau.
So yes, I guess Purdue was fairly talented then (but grossly underachieved) and Coach Tiller thinks this team is "worse." It's also true that Purdue has a far more challenging schedule this season (4th toughest in the nation) and so could wind up being a better team than some of those aforementioned squads even if they have a worse record.
Time will tell. Also, Joe, watch out around those coeds.
*Thanks to reader John for the heads up.