Many of us have had issues with the QB rotation we've seen at Purdue over the past year, especially since it sounds like it's simply going to continue unabated this year. While there were some differing opinions over who should be the starter last year, one thing I think we all realized was that shuttling QBs in and out with little predictability or apparent strategy was not a good thing.
At the center of some of this nonsense is offensive coordinator Gary Nord. Nord is frequently labeled as an exciting OC ("Gary Nord will never allow a defense to get comfortable." -- GBI), yet I know that we have often felt frustration at the vanilla nature of things. Sure, I know there have been injuries, such as two years ago when the QB position was a mess and Rob Henry had certain passing limitations and Sean Robinson simply wasn't ready. And then last year, Caleb was thrust into the starting role after Rob's knee was injured and Marve wasn't completely recovered. HOWEVER, at some point, you need to show us why you're a supposedly clever and offensive-minded OC. Don't you? I think this season there are absolutely zero excuses to not open things up, at least in the sense of mixing it up and catching defenses off-guard. If opposing D's can begin to accurately predict what Purdue is going to do and capitalize on those predictions, then Nord has failed in my eyes. This is a team with seniors and a team with more returning starters than anyone in the conference. It's time to deliver. But I'm digressing.
More concerning to me than Gary's unimpressive tenure thus far were some comments he made recently in GBI's season preview issue. On the subject of using multiple quarterbacks, Nord got a bit prickly at Neubert's continuing pressing him on the issue, ultimately suggesting that a) the other players probably don't care who is under center and b) that rotating QBs in and out is no different than any other position. I sincerely hope he does not believe this. But let's look at the quotes.
"We practice them the way we are going to play them and they know what their roles are, so there should not be any change of momentum and there shouldn't be any trouble. I don't believe the other ten guys in the huddle even give a damn which one is in there. I really don't."
Wow. Just.... wow. I'd love to hear from people who have played organized football at almost any level on this. But from my uneducated opinion (I never played organized football), it would seem that stability at the QB position would be desirable by most players. Like any sport, you learn tendencies, you get comfortable, you begin to be able to communicate non-verbally, etc. I would think the guys even care about the punter, since the more reliable and better he is, the better your field position will be. So if you could argue that even kickers are important to the other guys, it would seem a bit disingenuous to say nobody cares which QB is in there.
Coach Nord continued...
"No one said anything about it when we rolled Ralph (Bolden) and (Akeem) Shavers in there last year. No one even made a stink about it at all. No one said anything when Gabe (Holmes) and Crosby (Wright) rolled in and out at tight end. It gave us some different momentum and gave us a different personality, but it is one of the 11 positions. It's just the one that gets the most publicity, the one that gets the most talked about."
What the what?
Do I really need to address this like a lucid human being said it? Okay, fine.
Ralph Bolden had a history of injuries and getting banged up easily. Also, you always rotate RBs. Unless you have an absolutely workhorse like Mike Alstott, you have multiple options at RB. Sometimes one guy just needs a breather.
And TE is the same as QB? Just "one of the 11 positions"? Are you fricking serious? This entire line of thinking makes me actually angry, because it just sounds belligerent for the sake of being belligerent. It also sounds ignorant. If you're a football coach at the Big Ten level and you think a QB is no different from the RBs or the TEs, then, frankly, I have serious concerns about your competence.
That said... I'm not a coach. I am not qualified to pass judgment as an expert. But I am qualified to pass judgment as a fan and a witness to mediocre season after mediocre season.
If Gary Nord was doing great things here and his offenses were always clicking and he was always doing innovative things... well, then, fine. In that case, he would have earned the right to a) be different and b) be cranky when his methods are questioned. However, he has most assuredly not produced good results at Purdue.
I don't like what I've seen from Coach Nord and I don't like his attitude when he's questioned. As we've been saying for a while, this is a big year all around at Purdue -- mainly because continued futility will not be tolerated. I'm not saying Morgan Burke or Danny Hope have the stones to can this guy, but the fans have spoken over the course of the past 5 or 6 years as attendance has taken a nosedive. Another year of boring, predictable offenses run by indecisive coaches and QBs who don't know where they stand will push this program further towards the brink of complete irrelevance.
Prove me wrong, Coach Nord.