Our Boilers are number seven in both polls...and while I'm not a math guy, I think that's top-10. Atop of being highly-ranked, this season has a different feel coming into it than last year. We all talked about last year possibly being too much, too fast...but this season, I don't think you're hearing that from anyone.
In fact, as J pointed to, there's really no pressure...these Boilers aren't even the top team in their conference...I'd say that makes them the underdog.
So, what's different from last season? A couple things.
-First, Robbie Hummel's back looks healthy. Granted, we didn't know about his high school injury at this time last season, but we found out in the first 7 games last year.
-Keaton Grant is once-again, Keaton Grant. I think you might even see Keaton as the starter for most of the season this year again as a healthy knee is carrying him and he didn't have to take this past summer off as he did in '08.
-And speaking of starters, remember last year, because of Grant's injury, Purdue started a true-Frosh PG. Well, that guy's not a true Freshman. So, all of you guys who were critical of LewJack last season should be quieted a bit this season. I think you're going to see a guy who can finish consistently this season...and if not, he's going to have some folks behind him that can spell him.
-And speaking of the people behind him, Ryne Smith had a damned-good summer in International play. Last season, he was a guy who looked like he wasn't ready to play college ball...from what I hear, he's now ready, and should contribute...maybe he and Hart can do an offense/defense substitution pattern this season. From what I hear, Smith can score...Hart, not so much...reminds me of a short Herb Dove.
And, while Painter has downplayed the role that this Freshman class will play in '09, don't be surprised to see one or two of these guys emerge as the season progresses. Here's how the rotation might go:
Fr G Jackson
Sr G Kramer
Jr G Moore
Jr F Hummel
Jr F Johnson
Sr G Grant
So G Smith
Fr F Bade
Fr G/F Byrd
rFr G Hart
I'm not saying Marcius and Barlow won't play, but I haven't heard a lot about them out of practice yet. That said, Barlow might be ready sooner than Marcius- he's long and can do a lot of things...Hopefully Painter has already began to instill a bit more of a work ethic into the Indy product. I watched him play in HS and he looked skilled, but disinterested at times. Marcius, while big and strong might have a problem of the pace of Purdue's offense...at least for a season, in my opinion.
But, keep in mind, I didn't think Hummel would be much of a contributor his Frosh season...so I know little.
Regardless, I like the situation our Boilers are in at this point and love the fact that the program just seems to be gaining momentum...almost like a train, if you're looking for a simile. And like a locomotive, once they're up to speed, these guys might be pretty damned tough to slow down.
Choo choo, muthas (to quote a pal of mine).
Quick question- as a fanbase, are you guys excited to see the new gold unis (probably around mid-season) or not? I think I'd like to see them as the home uniforms because while the new all-black unis are pretty menacing, I never got on board with the new white uniforms in '09.