We all saw a potential weakness at D-End in the wake of Kerrigan's departure...even for the deepest programs (which Purdue isn't), it's tough to replace a unanimous All-American. But, with Gooden's spring injury, the position has gotten even more thin. Emanuel and Hope have moved Justin Kitchens from the inside to end to see how he looks out there and the reports are good. But even more interesting is that they've been running some 3-4. With the personnel and the glut of talent at LB, this might make some sense. That said, I think I'd just prefer to see Higgs move up and put his hand in the dirt- he seems like an excellent fit...but it hasn't happened yet.
Maci, Mebane, Isaac, Frazier and Phillips will probably all be in the discussion. What? You don't recognize many (any) of the names in the group? You're not the only one. But, rather than overhauling the defense, someone will probably find their way into the 4-3. Maci is a poor man's Kerrigan- he doesn't have the strength or talent that 94 had, but his motor is similar. You'd probably know him from Special Teams play as much as anything else. Mebane played in spots last season. He looked very lean for the position...that's probably changed a bit. Isaac, Frazier and Phillips are all newcomers. Phillips was recruited as a LB, but has very good size to be moved forward.
This was talked about in the comments a few days ago- Former Merriville QB, Dolapo McCarthy has landed at Purdue. Out of high school, he attended a military prep school...and said it wasn't a good fit- not on the field or off. He now considers it a dream come true to be on campus. If nothing else, he should be motivated to do big things.
Sadly for him, Purdue has Marve (R-Sr), TerBush (Jr), Henry (R-So) and Robinson (So) all in front of him. I never saw the kid play, but he made the KHC board buzz a few years ago. There was a period in which McCarthy had interest from Iowa, aOSU and FSU...but things all cooled a bit as his Senior year progressed. He finished with a low completion rate (43%), 1,800 yards passing, 10 passing TDs and 10 rushing TDs.
Hopefully he's willing to contribute where ever he can. I tried to find a video of him, and can't find anything. What I do find is that he's got great size (6'5") OK speed (4.58) and his scouting report says he throws a good deep ball, can escape pressure, but struggles with consistent accuracy. Does anyone else see another DE candidate who might be able to play right away? You never know. But what we do know is that if McCarthy is flexible, works hard and willing to move, he should be able make an impact somewhere...even if special teams, this season.
Lying with Fleas
I know, Jim Tressel is a snazzy dresser, wears glasses and seems like a control freak. So it's very hard to believe he'd actually lie to the NCAA about potential violations. Well, there's proof that he did. aOSU stepped up BIG by slapping a whopping two-game ban on the uber-successful head coach in hopes that the threat of investigation would quietly go away...and it still might. Let's not forget that a few years ago when Mo Clarett and Troy Smith received improper benefits from boosters, Tressel knew nothing of that. It's a damned good thing Clarett and Andy Geiger were the only people that had really done anything wrong...ammiright??
The point is nothing sticks to the vest, so as an opposing fan, you shouldn't get your hopes up for the NCAA to do anything of substance. Sure, there's "proof" of Tressel intentionally "lying" to a ton of people about this. But remember, he wears a tie on the sideline...that's gotta be worth something in the eyes of the NCAA.
He's nothing like Bruce Pearl, Kelvin Sampson or Lane Kiffin. THOSE rubes wear wind breakers, visors and sweaty, tacky, ill-fitting suit coats.
Granted, when IU fans heard that their AD had hired Sampson, they reassured us that all of his insurrections were behind him. Then when leaks came out about what had happened, they said these were just minor infractions...nothing to be alarmed by- he was their guy. NOW, things are different. Both he and Greenspan are Satan incarnate...and they're the only reasons IU can't win today. Perspective is a funny thing.
In Columbus, you have a waaaaaaaay different situation. The rumors that followed the vest from YSU are just rumors...no proof that Coach Tress knew anything. And unlike Sampson who intentionally lied to the NCAA about his phone addiction, Tressel merely didn't tell anyone what he knew, in order to protect his players. See, good dude...and aOSU fans couldn't agree more.
I really think this quote from Bucknut fan, Matt Jeffers says it all: "Get a couple of wins, and it'll be alright."
The only thing I'm worried about at this point is how angry the NCAA really is about being the victim of this well-intentioned, completely-amicable cover-up. If they're pissed and humiliated, Bowling Green, Cincinnati, Toledo and other near-by schools need to watch their backs and make sure they're staying clean. Nothing makes a statement to the nation about the resolve of the super-consistent NCAA like slapping some sanctions on a poorer, less-important, less-popular, but equally-guilty institution.
Watch your back, Frank Solich...the NCAA is watching you!!