A Lot to learn

I'll be honest- I don't know what's going to happen in '09 to Purdue's football team. A lot has changed...and the coaching staff and players both have a lot to learn before they can be considered a cohesive unit.

At the same time, we as fans have a lot to learn about what type of football will be played, offensively and defensively, what type of mentality this team has and who is going to rise to the occasion as opportunity presents itself to a slew of new players who will be starters or in the two-deeps for the first time in their careers.

There are a few people out there, myself included, who have thought of the parallels with Tiller's first season that we're going to see in Hope's first campaign.

-The starting quarterback will likely be a Senior who is coming off of a shoulder injury. In 1997, it was Dicken, this time, it's Elliott...both had rotator cuff injuries.

-Last season's team finished near the bottom of the conference with just four wins. The 1996 team did too, with just three wins.

-In 1997, expectations were that Purdue would finish near the bottom of the Big Ten, it's once again the case in 2009.

It seemed pretty bleak then, and it has that feel now. But there are some differences that are noteworthy, some are positive, others are negative.

-Billy Dicken had started a few games at QB...and at DB before his final year in West Lafayette. Joey Elliott has not started a game.

-Tiller's coaching staff was nearly completely in-tact coming from Wyoming. Hope's staff is a bit of a patchwork of Tiller guys, EKU and some transplants from other programs still.

-Tiller's hire came with very few votes of confidence within the Purdue family. Conversely, players like Rosey Colvin, Drew Brees, Matt Light and others seem to think Hope is exactly the right guy for the Purdue football program.

A few friends of mine are already cynical because of the age of Hope's coordinators and the fact that Hope's teams at EKU were never great...they're bothered that so much is being asked of so many underclassmen and that so many skilled players will be starting who have never done so before. All those things are true. But really, none of it can't be changed at this point. Furthermore, while there are parallels and contrasts to the last coaching transition, none of those matter either.

I think the best and fairest thing we can do is wait until we see the product on the field before we make our decision about this team and the level of success they might have. Give Hope, his players and coaches the chance to succeed or fail on the field of play before making a judgement call.

At this point we all have a lot to learn.

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