I had the chance to watch the game a second time last night and here are a few of my observations:
-The start felt lousy in person...but if Purdue starts off that flat v. UND, they'll be down by 14 before they can say "overmatched".
-OJ Ross' fumble was completely avoidable...but honestly, it's amazing he doesn't lose more fumbles with his lack of ball security. His arm seems to get farther away from his body the longer the run goes...clearly he has great vision and acceleration, but he must work on how he holds the ball...if only there was some sort of advisor or coach that could tell him this.
-I watched the two "dirty" hits (one from Purdue, one from SEMO) that resulted in 15 yard penalties multiple times...and I still don't agree with either flag. Neither player led with their head, both had their eyes up and both finished the hit by extending their arms. Football is a brutal game, these were good, clean, hard hits. Referees seem to throw flags based on how a player hits the ground, not based on the nature of the hit too often.
-On a related note, Marve should have thrown the ball to Edison earlier...it would have saved 13 from that shot...On the play, Marve felt like the pocket was collapsing, and it actually wasn't. Perhaps he'll feel more comfortable with reps.
-Marve clearly favors his donor knee still. That said, when he scrambled and plays broke down a bit, he had no limp...While I'm positive he's still a bit sore, I think much of that comes from his logical fear of getting injured again and wanting to protect himself. Once again, reps should help him feel more comfortable.
-Both TerBush and Marve looked as good on the replay as they did in person. BUT, SEMO was clearly waaaaaay past respectful to Purdue's receivers and were giving too much cushion. I might have been able to complete a few passes versus that kind of space.
But, Nord was smart enough to recognize the quick passes would shred that defense and he exploited it. The screens worked because of that space, sit-down routes were the same way...TerBush and Marve both delivered with ease.
-There is, and will be, a debate about who should start and who will start. Since our Boilers are probably just doing conditioning, lifting and getting healthy the next few days, there will be no evaluation. But when they return to practice, there will still be a ton of practice time for the coaches to get educated on who should be starting.
That said, I think it should be Marve's job.
Let's not forget, he was the first stringer last season before the rash of injuries...and would have been #1 had his knee healed faster...even still was ahead of TerBush coming into camp. Now that he's healthy, he's the deserved starter. He makes decisions faster, even without playing in any games, he has a faster release, is extremely accurate, and has a cannon of an arm. Plus, like Rob Henry, Marve seems to command the huddle and line of scrimmage with more confidence...I think lineman and everyone else feed off of that.
TerBush still floats the ball a bit and seems to over think every play. If Purdue had to start TerBush, I'm positive he'd develop...he already has. But I hope to see Marve starting v. UND...but I don't make the final call (obviously).
-Purdue's offensive line was silly-dominant. When they pulled, they beat the defender to the spot. When they went straight forward, they cleared holes that I could walk my kids through.
-Bolden looked unimpressive at times. Maybe it was because his head wasn't in the right place, but to me, he was less-impressive on the re-watch than in person. In fact, if I had never seen him play before, I'd guess he wasn't even on the depth chart as he was overshadowed by about everybody else who ran the ball.
I'm positive this was the exception, not the new rule...and I want 23 starting...but the mental focus has to be there. Plus, the tweak of his hammy probably didn't help much.
-Edison was playing in a higher gear than everyone on the field all day.
-Bruce Gaston and Will Lucas play angry at times...I like that.
-KK Short is a big, strong, ugly, sexy beast.
-Joe Holland lined up at end a few times in passing downs...I'm positive that was because of my suggestion following the Rice game. Glad to see my good ideas don't go to waste.
-Johnson and Allen clearly terrified SEMO's QB (with the exception of the first play of the game). SEMO was right to be afraid.
-Just as scary as the corners looked, the safeties seem that un-frightening. There's work to be done back there, and believe it or not, even with the lopsided score, the safeties missed some opportunities. I like the way Evans plays more than any of them, but he's still not playing like he was prior to his injury in '10. When Purdue's not in a nickel, I'd like to see Harris and Evans or Charlot back there.
-Ryan Russell was more impressive in this game than any other thus far...it could be because he was bigger, stronger and faster than the guy across from him...by a lot.
-There's a ton of work to be done. This was a fun vacation from the season...but really no more than that. Away from the site I called this game Disney World because it was like a fairy tale. After the first ten minutes or so, pretty much everything was easy and went Purdue's way. This isn't reality...this isn't at all like what the rest of the season will be.
Lots of improvement is still needed, but SEMO was a very poor barometer. UND won't be.