|With this start, our Boilers are pretty lucky to be 1-0.|
I got to watch the MTSU game on DVR this morning...here are my thoughts.
-Caleb TerBush missed on a ton of throws because he wasn't setting his feet...kind of rushed his motion. But, a few of those were because his pocket collapsed very quickly.
His best drive was the last...probably because MTSU was dog-tired and Purdue's OLine rose to the occasion to protect 19. His last pass, as he looked off two receivers was something Curtis Painter didn't do his senior year. Granted, Painter was extremely accurate, but looking off covered receivers is a skill that some guys never figure out.
-On the flip side of the positives for Purdue's #1 QB, two of his incompletions were easy picks that were dropped because the MTSU players didn't watch the ball in. Also, Edison's fumble late in the game should have been easily recovered...and would have, had the MTSU DE not tried to pick it up and simply jumped on it.
On the other side, Purdue dropped a deflected interception attempt...but I couldn't recall another "break" that they didn't take advantage of.
Purdue MUST be more careful with the ball next week. Hope's boys flat-out got lucky that those three plays weren't turnovers.
-Sinz and Crosby were rock-solid...as receiving tight ends. If Holmes gets healthy in the next few weeks, the TE corps will look pretty mean.
-Really liked what I saw out of Gary Bush. He seemed to run better routes than Ross and I'd like to see him be in the starting rotation...No one's taking Ross' job on kickoff return though.
Siller was the best receiver all day, but had an inexplicable drop in the second half. He's gotta eliminate those as this offense, and particularly TerBush, can't afford that.
-Normando Harris, Josh Johnson and Ricardo Allen all tackled very well...and I couldn't find a play in which 28 and 21 weren't in position to defend their man -- good...that's what the hype told us they'd do. But Harris, who's a bit green, botched coverage once or twice.
-Gaston seemed to be more involved in pursuit of plays that broke off than did Short. I didn't notice that in person. Maybe Gaston's in better shape, or just has a better motor, but the reason doesn't matter...their best effort is needed on every play as the ends are just not where they need to be to make significant noise.
-A lot of people were getting after Holland specifically on pass coverage. I think it's fair to say he's not a good enough pass defender to stick with a WR...but the scheme simply demanded he do so over...and over...and over. So who's at fault? The LB covering the WR or the coach who refuses to change the scheme?
Also, Will Lucas, who plays like his hair is on fire, couldn't effectively cover MTSU's Beyah and allowed the Blue Raiders' first TD...but I've read NO WHERE that Lucas is lousy on pass coverage.
-If you've been here a while, you've heard me get after Gibboney quite a few times because I thought his ST units looked awful in previous seasons. Well, if I'm gonna be fair, I need to give props now...You deserve it, J.B.
The kick return team looked excellent...and OJ Ross showed where he belongs as he read the blocking well and assertively went North after getting the ball...so much so that MTSU was clearly scared to kick it to him in the second half.
Allen screwed up, but Gravesande came in and was solid on PR.
Wiggs and Webster crushed the ball with only a few exceptions. In fact, Wiggs was giving MTSU very few options other than to humbly take a knee. And Webster had a couple beauts. Sadly, both of them had to punt too often, and Wiggs wasn't given enough chances to kick off.
Speaking of special teams, Hope talked about using Wiggs leg to try very long FGs as the situation allowed. BUT, his talk led to Wiggs pooching more than attempting long FGs. That type of talk tends to make me nuts...especially year after year.
-TerBush shouldn't have to share game snaps with Robinson, at this point.
-This game was nearly as painful to watch on tape, with one exception...I knew the ending, so I could stomach it. The offense lacked rhythm, consistency and ingenuity. Routes were run poorly and plays seemed to have been chosen poorly. On the defensive side of the ball, Purdue allowed nearly 500 yards of offense to a Sun Belt opponent. They made a solid quarterback with a questionable arm look like Drew Brees.
That's a pretty big difference from what we've seen the past few seasons.
This game was so much like the NIU game two years ago that it's scary. MTSU, like NIU, had schemed perfectly for Purdue, was more motivated than Purdue and executed better than Purdue all day. But I feel like Purdue out-gutted MTSU, which they absolutely should. They are afterall a BT team...Purdue's players are bigger, stronger and faster than their Sun Belt counterparts...but a team is a combo of parts not a bunch of parts thrown together. MTSU was a better team than Purdue on Saturday, in my opinion...So our Boilers have their work cut out for them.
J and I, like some of you, had the gall to be happy that Purdue won on Saturday. Was it a
great good solid game? No. It was damned ugly. But the very end left my alma mater on top. Are they playing with fire? Hell yes. There's so much work to be done, I honestly feel less-confident about this team than I did before I watched the game. But I'm extremely happy that it was a win...and honestly have no idea how a Purdue fan, student or alum could think otherwise. After all, you play to win the game.
Purdue is 1-0...next up, Rice. It'll be around 94 degrees for the kickoff...so the heat/humidity that Purdue struggled through will once again be a factor on Saturday.