It seems that the Purdue football coaching staff is now digging their heels in, which I think is a very bad sign. In this article by the always excellent Mike Carmin of the J&C, you hear from Coach Nord who seems to be on a perpetual mission to make everyone hate him.
I tweeted a story that had some of these quotes in it, but this is a different one, in which Carmin examines the thoughts of Tim Tibesar and juxtaposes them next to Nord's. Maybe this is Carmin's way of illustrating how far gone Nord is, I don't know. But I do know that it is infuriating.
Tibesar, to his credit, acknowledges there are no real bright spots on defense.
“I wouldn’t say we have a great strength,” the first-year defensive coordinator said about his group. “The last two weeks, we haven’t had something we can hang our hat on. We have to get back to the basics, work our tail off and earn some respect and earn that pride back.”
This is close to what I want to hear. When a team is putting forth an embarrassing product and everyone who looks judges it as awful, you need to eat some humble pie as a coach. You need to acknowledge that it is terrible and then tell us that it's not acceptable to you either, and that you're going to work hard to fix it. And then get back to work. Tibesar pretty much does this, so good for him.
Nord, on the other hand, lives in fantasyland:
“I really believe, and people around here will see what I’m talking about, I think the strength of the football team is the quarterback spot,” the program’s offensive coordinator and assistant head coach said. “I have total confidence in that position. The way they’ve been practicing the last couple of weeks, it hasn’t carried over to the game, but they’ve been practicing very well.”
I don't even understand what "they've been practicing very well" even means. Yes, I know that's because I'm not as smart as Gary Nord. But to say the strength of the football team is the quarterback spot? And we'll see what he's talking about? When, exactly? It's six games into a twelve-game season, TerBush's second as the starter and the last season he will play college football. If he isn't showing it on the field yet, isn't it time to just admit he is what he is?
We've said for a long time that he's a good soldier, he does what he's told and he tries his best to run the offense he's asked to run. His skills are limited, though, and there is a ceiling to what he can do for you. If Caleb had Alabama's defense and running game, being a game manager and completing 61% of his passes would probably suffice. But that's not the situation here.
Nord goes on to try to make your brain hurt more:
“I think Caleb has improved tremendously in the last three weeks on the practice field,” Nord said.
That's just incredible. This is something that losers say...."Hey, on the driving range, I was hitting them so straight!"
Who gives a rat's ass how he did in practice? Does Gary Nord actually think that should translate? When the QB is wearing the green jersey and there is no crowd or opponent, he definitely should look better. Even I know that.
“When you go out there against Michigan and what he threw for in the first half, and then everybody criticizes him,” Nord said. “He was 66 percent and he had three drops. That’s a pretty good day for anybody. (Against Wisconsin), he throws very well on the first 12 throws. We got in a situation where we got behind the chains.
This is the kind of thing that makes people (rightfully) mock your program. As was mentioned to us on Twitter, the whole "Hey, he did great except for some drops and some high throws" kind of remark is just so hollow. He did not have a "pretty good day" against Michigan. 16 of 25 for 105, with a TD and a pick-6 is not really good. Sure, it could be worse, but if that's this team's definition of "a pretty good day," then there are some serious misunderstandings about what constitutes good football in West Lafayette.
And then Wisconsin, Nord is even arrogant enough to suggest TerBush threw "very well"?? The line there was 7/16 (43%) for 80 yards, zero TDs and one pick.
Again, I am not putting the recent disappointments at the feet of Caleb TerBush. He does what he's asked and does his best. I've said for a long time that it's the coaching staff that I have zero faith in. And Gary Nord is digging his heels in:
Support from outside the program to start and play Marve grows every week. Nord said there’s only one person qualified to make the quarterback decision.
“I’ve committed my life to this thing for 32 years, and I’ve been coaching quarterbacks for 28 years and I’ve had these quarterbacks in the system for three years,” Nord said. “There’s nobody more qualified to say who should be playing on the field than I am. I don’t listen to the critics. They don’t see anything except a few plays. I see them every day.
“I’m in the meeting room with them three hours a day, I’m on the practice field with them two hours a day. I don’t know what they’re saying. I don’t read it, I don’t watch it and I don’t care. I know in my heart that we have a quarterback that can get it done, and I have total confidence in him. Everybody will see that as time goes on.”
So just to be clear, Nord doesn't care one bit that people are restless and unsatisfied. He's the only one qualified to know who should be playing and how they should be playing. I mean, look at his track record of success!
And the critics "don't see anything except a few plays"? Really? That's not a solid argument, Gary. Because the plays that all of us see are the absolutely most important plays of the season -- the ones on the field during the games! Those are the plays that actually matter! Not the way he throws a ball in Mollenkopf on Wednesday afternoon, you jack!
And once again, Gary knows "in his heart" that they have a QB who can get it done and, you know, as time goes on you'll all begin to see that.
Awesome. Can't wait.