If you're anything like me, it's kinda tough right now to look ahead to spring football. But, I alway love hearing reports out of spring football practice and get excited about the Black/Gold game. Sure, last season and this off-season haven't given us much to write home about- A season that ended with IU taking back the bucket, tons of major injuries that still aren't healed coming into the spring, a couple of coaches getting hired by Hope and quickly leaving West Lafayette and finally, Keith Smith being ruled ineligible by the NCAA for no good reason. These things are enough to make the sunniest of optimists feel a bit blue. But Hope said getting on the field was exactly what the team needed...and that the team just needed to be playing again...even if that's just drills, walk-throughs and formations.
I said this a lot last year- I don't like the way this coaching staff (and Tiller in his last few seasons) control information out of practice. I think opening up at least part of the practices to the media breeds positive feelings for the fans unless there are recurring discipline issues (a la those last few JT-coached teams). But it's probably not going to change, and we have to deal with the limited access and second-hand accounts of the team...and everyone's looking at the same Hope interviews, and a couple of hand-chosen player quotes for info...but a little is better than nothing, I guess.
I've said it before and I'll say it again, I like Danny Hope's personality and generally-positive outlook. I think I'd really like having a beer with him. But, I think he's way too silver-tongued. And seasons like the last one make the norm quickly become painful for fans. But there is info to be gleaned from Hopes happy talk. Here are a couple tidbits:
-The offensive line looks like it's in better shape than last year in every way. They're physically-fit, deeper and more-experience...so the coaches don't have to spend as much time going through basics as they did in the spring of '10.
-Marve and Bolden are only going through drills without contact and won't see full action until the fall.
-Nord has Henry as the #1 QB...and Henry is throwing the ball better than last season at the end because his finger is healed. TerBush is also throwing well. Hopefully Purdue will have a QB behind the center that allows them to pass more than they run in the fall, regardless of whom ends up starting.
-Ricardo Allen was good...wants to get better and sees Kerrigan's departure as only more reason that he must improve. When talking about his fitness level, work ethic and overall technique as a corner he said, "Last year was just last year...and I gotta get better." Sounds like a captain...even as a Soph.
We didn't talk about this a whole bunch when it happened because it was kind of veiled in confusion, but BYU's suspension of Brandon Davies was flat-out ballsy and respectable. On Twitter, we had multiple people ask if everyone thought BYU would suspend Fredette had he broken the moral code. My answer is an unequivocal, "Yes." That institution is consistent...and its athletes know what they're getting into when they sign their LOI to play or the Cougars. Judging through the prism of BYU's game v. UNM, I'd say they'll land at around a 4 or 5 seed simply because they're not the same team without Davies. That said, with Fredette on the roster, they'll be dangerous because you never know when he'll score 60 or 70 points...he'd better actually for their sake.
On a related note, I understand much of their moral code and agree with the principles within it...but how is drinking a cola a punishable offense? I seriously don't get this even a little bit.
I had a minor medical procedure today, so I'm incapacitated moreso than usual. But the silver lining is I am watching early conference tourney games. The Valley tournament had Cuonzo Martin's #1 seeded Bears facing Matty's old team, #8 SIU. Martin's team was down for the entire game, before taking its first lead in the final minute- they won by two and advanced. I'd bet they'll play with more urgency in the next round. But, his squad handled being down by as many as 9 with just minutes left, in a very cool, calm manner.
It was a fun one to watch and a great way for me to kick off (perhaps) my favorite week of the year.
According to Rivals.com's power rankings, Moore is the #2 shooting guard, Johnson is the #2 center and Painter is now the #1 coach in all of NCAA basketball. These rankings are hard-earned and deserved. One problem I have with their lists is their consistent belief that there are at least 25 point guards in America that are better than LewJack.
Purdue's Composite Computer Ranking current holds at 5th. Keep in mind, that average is still that high in spite of the laughable RPI having both SDSU and BYU (after its 19 point loss v. UNM) both ahead of the Forces of Good.