|It's not much fun right now on Saturdays for us, either.
(credit GBI's Tom Campbell for the pic)
Twitter, message boards and this site's comments are calling for Hope to be gone...and while we haven't come out and do that, many are requesting we do so. Do we dare wield our massive power with the athletic department to focus on Hope being pushed out the door?
Well, since we have no power... and the season is only half over, the short answer is no.
We're not going the other way either; Hope deserves no vote of confidence nor blind, unwavering support...Being critical of the head coach and his staff is absolutely in order at this point, in our opinion. I didn't have the heart or the time to watch the videos of the press conference just yet...I might later, might not. But what I'm hearing is Hope looked beaten up and defeated and the talk of being inches from victory and success was gone. Good- it shouldn't have been in his lexicon last week either.
While a few of Hope's players are whining and bellyaching via Twitter about ridding themselves of all negativity, their head coach finally has his eyes open to reality...after five-straight halves of simply awful football. Like we've said over and over and over- this isn't an offensive issue, a defensive issue, a special teams issue, a coaching issue or a personnel issue...it's a Purdue football issue and the failure has been rampant and across the board.
I still think the last two weeks were Purdue's best chances to make a statement about the program in the last few seasons. They made their statement...it just wasn't what I thought or had hoped it'd be.
So with 7 weeks down and six games behind them, Purdue's football team has six-straight weeks of opportunity to play well and pull themselves out of the outhouse hole that they've lept into head-first. The stakes aren't quite as high as the division championship is out of their hands, but, not every team they play from here out is garbage. The stakes are still kinda high though- if the players love Coach Hope as they seem to, this is their chance to sell the idea that he deserves to be coaching them next season.
Morgan Burke doesn't fire coaches in the middle of the season...hell, Burke really doesn't like firing all that much, especially in the big revenue sports. It probably comes back to his aversion of spending money when he can avoid it. BUT, if you think he hasn't made a note of the empty seats in Ross-Ade, and the continuous drop of sales of the rich guy seats, you're crazy. He prides himself on keeping the program in the black, and that is an impossibility with the loss of revenue each and every Saturday in God's Country during the fall.
If Hope can't reach 7 wins during this regular season, I think Burke will be forced to find a new coach for the football program- not just because of the record, but because of the lack of support for the program. Plus, he's made public statements of how six win seasons really aren't successful in this era of football.
Purdue's players and coaches can't afford to play one more quarter of football like the last 10...let alone another entire game. The problem is, they're facing the best team in the conference on Saturday...in their house. aOSU has been scoring 40pts/game...Purdue has been allowing 41/game for the last three- sounds like a match made in hades for the good guys.
I don't think Saturday is a must-win for Purdue as it'd be beyond foolish to expect that. But, for the team's psyche, they have to play with the Bucknuts...IU just nearly beat them. By the way, in case you want to discredit IU, don't- they're playing well. They still have the same amount of losses the last two games as Purdue, but unlike Purdue, most of their leaders return in '13. Purdue needs to win this season...IU's fans and AD know that they're on a journey, and have a goal. Purdue's coaching staff has been on a similar road for too long to be in the same category, and in a similar standing, in my opinion...but they absolutely are at this point- a cellar-dwelling also-ran.
So Purdue has six games to win four...and five are absolutely winnable. Granted, if you're like me, you might have seen a few of those as wins a few weeks ago; I see none of them as guaranteed, left column games, regardless of the opponent.
Ex-Boiler, Rosie Colvin, sent a note to a bunch of current Purdue players yesterday via Twitter telling them that they were the only ones who could change the trajectory of the season (in so many words)...and he's a guy that knows a thing or two about performing under pressure, winning and changing the complexion of a program. They should listen to him. Not only has he walked in their shoes, he's been a public cheerleader for them via BTN's Friday night show.
At BS, we have a hard time believing this coaching staff can change things (based on what we've seen this season and those prior to this one). But instead of constantly complaining about Hope and company, we're offering solutions.
This post is the easiest solution to the problem: Win now and this coaching staff will have earned another season. Transitions are generally messy and painful- Joe Tiller's first season at Purdue and Kevin Sumlin's first season* at A&M are the exception, not the rule...no one really likes to see an overhaul of the football program, if it can be avoided. But squeaking by, going .500 and beating the bottom of the conference and crappy out-of-conference foes simply isn't acceptable for this team.
We'll be offering a few more solutions to the problem in the form of coaching candidates if things don't change. We've been asked by a few people who Purdue could hire...and we're not talking dream hires in which budgets and infrastructure changes overnight. We're talking Purdue in '12; our alma mater.
Stay tuned this week...join the discussion.
*Yes, I went there...and it hurt.