Shoop! There It Isn't!
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.