Work continues to be busy and keep me from important things like posting on this site...But, I have a couple of thoughts about what's been happening in the world of sports and near me.
CHS v. CHS on the Entertainment Network
-First off, my alma mater played a football game on national TV earlier this afternoon. Many of you probably saw EsPN's High School game between Carmel (IN) v. Cathedral (IN), the latter being my high school. While I kind of think it's nifty, especially for the kids playing in the game, to be on a big stage, I also think it's negative. EsPN continues to profit off of making big business out of small time sports. I'm stoked for the CYO championships on the deuce in October.
...News from God's Country
-There have been some noteworthy position switches during camp in the past week in West Lafayette:
Magee from Tackle to D-End
Holland from Safety to LB
Siller from QB to RB
While I think it's odd to have such a big DE, especially in the defenses that Tiller's had the last 11 years, It seems like Magee might have the feet of a much smaller man and the size to actually stop the run...Great combo. If worst comes to worst, he can move back inside with little problem.
Joe Holland is pretty young and seems to be a mini-Jason Werner from a few years ago...Much like Werner, he should be able to pack on some pounds as he was a lean sprinter in high school. If he's as promising as Werner seems to be, this move might be brilliant.
The biggest head-scratcher of the bunch is Justin Siller's. Prior to spring ball, there were whispers that Siller would be the next great quarterback at Purdue...During Spring, it became clear to the coaching staff that he wasn't going to pass Elliott as the two. Then, early this fall, Caleb Terbush surprised many by showing he could run the offense well and actually make a wide-range of passes.
All of a sudden, Siller was an ultra-athletic player without a position. So the story goes, the coaches wanted him on the field because he has too much ability not to be utilized. Now, he's in the stable of running backs behind Kory Sheets, Dan Dierking and Frank Halliburton.
Honestly, Siller doesn't look like a running back, to me...but Reeves and Werner didn't look like LBs following their switches. He's tall and pretty lean...but just because taller running backs haven't been the norm in Tiller's offense doesn't mean they can't find success. I don't know his 40 time, but I do know he ran the option in high school and didn't pass a whole bunch, so he can carry the ball. I'd assume he has good vision, and God knows he knows the offense (he seemed to be in huddles all last year just soaking up Painter's direction), so I'm hoping for the best. That said, I don't have the best feeling about this move. I said it earlier in the week in a discussion that it reminded me of the move Bill Foran made a few years ago...That was the end of his Purdue career, pretty much.
I got to talk to Justin Siller during the spring and he sounded like a guy who was ready to take the reins at QB. Furthermore, he seemed pretty confident that he could do the job. That kind of makes me think he'll move on to another locale and try to be quarterback elsewhere...I really hope not, but that's what my gut says. Granted, if he sees the field this season and makes an impact, I think that could keep him here, but if his experiment at RB goes like Foran's one season there, it's audios Mr. Siller.
-In the biggest scrimmage of camp so far, the defense surprised a lot of people by holding the offense in check for most of the contest. I'm always torn when I hear reports like this- Does it mean the defense is good or the offense isn't as good as they're supposed to be? My guess is the new receivers are still figuring things out and Taylor's loss to the offense is still fresh. I think the next scrimmage should prove successful for the offense as the wideouts decide to hang onto the ball and Sheets comes in with a chip on his shoulder. We'll see.
-In about nine hours Team USA will try to re-claim the gold. I'm hoping they do so...and am pretty sure they will. But, I'm kind of ready for the olympics to be over. They've worn out their welcome, to me. It could be because I've had a taste of football now or it could be because I'm sick of hearing human interest stories about all that China has to offer. Whatever the case may be, I'm excited for Thursday night, as college football returns to us like a long-lost lover. I can't wait to see her.
Hoosiers to be Hurting in 2008?
-The IU fanbase is excited about what's coming this season...Maybe it's because I'm not a fan of IU that I see things through a completely different prism.
I've said this before, I think James Hardy's importance to that offense was immense- he drew the number one corner and usually a safety on every play and freed up IU's other receivers...He also made Lewis look brilliant as he threw jump balls up and the 6'5" Hardy caught about everything.
Next, Lewis may or may not be still struggling with much bigger problems than anything football-related. According to many, Hoeppner kept him glued when he almost came undone...He finally became unraveled last spring and it led to his suspension. I don't think IU or Lewis are out of the woods yet with his problems. And without Lewis, that offense is nothing noteworthy.
On the other side of the ball, the Hoosiers lost two shut-down corners that allowed guys like Middleton to thrive with coverage sack after coverage sack. Plus, IU loses key players at LB and on the D-line...that leaves a lot of responsibility on the shoulders of a not-very-talented group of young players in Bloomington.
The thing up against IU is the simple fact that their coach hasn't had a bunch of success prior to last year. He did a masterful job leading IU to a bowl while bolstering the team with Hep's inspirational "Play 13" speech, but that's now gone. Friends of mine at Ball Sate don't think the guy could coach while at the helm for the Cardinals, I tend to think he didn't pick it up in the last 4 seasons.
So what's it all mean? To me it mean that despite playing EIGHT home games, the Hoosiers will struggle to win 5 or 6 games. Sure, they play a slew of mid-majors, an amount that makes Joe Tiller jealous, but that may not be so good. CMU and Ball State both have quarterbacks who are receiving publicity nationally...both can improvise and both are accurate passers. I'm really happy Purdue doesn't play Ball State as I think they're the most over-due program in the MAC...and Hoke actually is a pretty good coach, in my opinion. We'll see, but don't expect IU to lose any until the third week...then the flood gates might open.
I predict 4-8 with wins coming versus Western Kentucky, Murray State, Minnesota and Iowa. IU won't play 13 in '08.