If you want to motivate young people, displaying a positive, high-energy personality is a good start. And if you feel like you can't motivate them properly, you might ask for help...Bring in a guest speaker...ask others for tips. While Joe Tiller no longer seems to believe his team can win every game it plays, at least his energy level is nice and even. Wait a second...
IU knew they needed a win and Bill Lynch felt like he needed a hand getting the young men ready to play their arch-rival this afternoon. He first, called on his predecessor's words imploring the team to reach its goal of playing 13 games. Next, he asked the widow of that same predecessor to come in and speak to the team...and finally, he got his counterpart from the basketball team to give one more pep talk. Well, Lynch's humble tactic of stepping aside and bringing in some experts helped...to the tune of a 24-3 third quarter lead.
My Boilers came out flat. They picked up at the spot they left off versus MSU. Purdue Radio's Pete Quinn said he "welled up in pride" at the Boilers' effort in the comeback loss. I gotta tell you, I don't feel the same way...I was still a bit shell-shocked and smarting from the sound ass-kicking that had dominated the game's first 40-or-so minutes.
Honestly, many of the players, like Keller, Grimes, Powell, Standeford, Vinson and others deserved to be on a legitimate good team. But, despite a ton of talent on offense, a much-improved defense and a stronger kicking game, this team grabbed a 7-5 record out of the mouth of a 10-2 potential. I can remember thinking, "with all of these offensive weapons, how will teams be able to stay with my Boilers..." But, as the season went on, Keller wasn't getting the ball enough, Bryant couldn't seem to get open, Lymon simply wasn't taking advantage of his abilities, Orton lossed the ability to catch the ball consistently, Painter started locking on one receiver over-and-over and the running game became an afterthought once again. Why do teams not improve as the season goes along? Well, just like ND this season, it's coaching, plain and simple.
As fans we went from "At least we only lose to the conference elites..." To "At least we beat everybody we're supposed to..." To "I honestly don't know who we can beat anymore."
Thanks to Western Michigan's defeat of Iowa, Purdue will probably get an invite to a bowl...But just like the possibility of Tiller passing Molenkopf next season in total wins, it just won't matter all that much. Merely winning enough games to be invited to just any bowl nearly every season isn't admirable in itself...nor is becoming the all-time winningest coach in a program's history when you're little more than a lame duck.