Thursday Football Gumbo
I heart recruiting.
I'm writing this post for a myriad of reasons...but the main one is I really don't want anything soccer related to be atop our website...so here goes.
If you're saying to yourself, "What's wrong with the BS guys??? Two verbal commitments to Hazell in the last two weeks an not a mention of recruiting???" Well you my friend know as much about the site as the clown who told me (in our comments section) that I should be rooting for Notre Dame or IU because I'm unhappy with the football season.
We're well-aware of what's happening in recruiting, but we've been burnt once in the last few months for getting excited about a verbal commitment, so call our enthusiasm tempered, I guess.
Signing day is the day that we get officially excited about recruits. Verbal commitments are worth as much as those vouchers you get in the mail for free, unsolicited vacations. Sure, there are guys that seem to be completely on board...that's great! But sadly, we've seen this movie before...and sometimes it ends with me secretly sipping alfredo sauce to make the pain go away.
I've had a few of my fellow Boilers assure me that one of the solid verbals, who flirted with a few other programs for a few months, is now solidly on board. Great!! I'll talk about him when he signs.
Hazell just plucked a verbal commitment to a MAC school and much of the Purdue nation rejoiced...and another guy made a commitment to Hazell even more recently who looks like he could be a diamond in the rough. I'm very happy these guys want to play at Purdue.
But, Hazell still has a lot of room in the class of '14...and absolutely nothing is final until they're signed. And even then, we know that things sometimes change between signing day and their first day on campus.
I'm probably most excited about the guy who is going to enroll early because that's not so far off in the distance. Until he's wearing metallic beige and black and attending classes this winter, it's not a done deal.
You asked for it...
Let me be really really clear- I'M NOT POSTING THIS BECAUSE I AM UPSET WITH THE HIRING OF DARRELL HAZELL...even in the face of the horrendous start we've seen.
I'm posting this because we've had a decent calling for it.
If you remember the late last fall around here, we were ready to see a new coaching staff installed over the Purdue football program. I liked Dave Doeren a lot...thought he'd be the choice...but after Doeren there were a ton of candidates that we presented as viable replacements for Hope. Here are five of those guys:
Doeren took over at NC State after Tom O'Brien wore out his welcome. The NC State faithful thought O'Brien's recruiting efforts had waned in the last few seasons, and they thought his attention to detail had decreased (he was 64 years old). He still led the Wolfpack to 7 regular season wins in '12.
So Doeren inherited a 7 win team with a returning QB and a ton of Jrs and Srs on the roster.
We liked Doeren...still do. Doeren has led the Wolfpack to a 3-3 record...none of their wins have come against BCS conference foes.
One note: NC State's AD PROMISED Alabama-like recruiting and on-field results with the hire of Doeren...At least the expectations are reasonable down there.
Like Doeren, Kingsbury walked into a pretty damned good situation. TT had seven regular season wins in '12 and a bowl win. They've got a Senior leading the offense that was pretty wide open last season...but now is silly-fun; they've scored over 40 four times this season on their way to a 6-0 record.
Hiring Kingsbury is like Purdue hiring Drew Brees...First off, they're both damned handsome, they're the same age and they're favorite sons of their alma mater. Before the Red Raiders stepped on the field, many Tech alums thought KK could do no wrong; now as they're undefeated, 16th in the nation, and have 3 wins over BCS teams (one was ranked) already...they know he can do no wrong.
Make no mistake though, Kingsbury inherited a great situation. His roster is chocked full of Seniors who are being backed up by Juniors...a pretty great honeymoon.
Sonny Dykes was one of the names that seemingly was mentioned in about every opening across the NCAA in '12...we liked him and thought his offense would be a good fit for a fanbase that was ready to see some FUN football. They haven't gotten it yet.
"From down here we still look pretty horrible."
Cal hired him in the wake of Jeff Tedford's eleven year run as their head coach. There had been grumblings that Tedford had kinda lost 'it' in the last few seasons. A five-win season, followed by a six-win season, followed by a three-win season was enough for Cal's AD to give Tedford the boot. Tedford was kind of like Tiller for Purdue, he rebuilt the program completely and made them relevent...he had three nine-win seasons and a ten-win season...but his last few were sub-par.
Dykes inherited a project- His starting QB is a Freshman...and so his his backup. The starting RB is a sophomore and his backup is a Freshman. The wide receivers are Freshman and Sophomores and he even has an OLine with Freshman and Sophomores starting...and just like in God's country, the record shows it.
Cal current stands at 1-5 with their only win coming over lower-divisional foe, Portland State (like Purdue's v. ISU, it was a bit of a nail-biter...a seven-point victory). His defense has allowed 50+ points twice...and 40+ twice (and 37 points once)...at the same time, they've struggled to score. With the exception of being fifth in the nation in passing, Cal looks like a mirror image of Purdue (sadly for both programs).
When we saw video of Jones getting off of Purdue's private plane with Morgan Burke, we were all pretty sure it was a done deal...turns out, we were wrong. Jones had his eye on an even greener piece of land on ole Rocky Top.
After hemming and hawing his way to accepting the Tennessee job, Jones inherited a program hungry for a winner. After three straight sub-.500 seasons (one was 6-7 after a bowl loss), Tennessee hired Jones.
Jones inherited a two-plus year starting QB and a roster riche with Junior and Senior returning talent.
Tennessee is currently 3-3 with zero wins over BCS conference foes...but their game versus Georgia shows that they're pretty damned close to turning a corner.
I'm not sure if this was therapeutic for you or not...honestly, it didn't provide me with a ton of solace. But one thing is fairly obvious when you read about these teams that are in transition- changing coaching staffs isn't easy...even when the cupboard is far from bare...But it's really hard when a team is leaning heavily on Freshman and Sophomores.