Saying the Right Things So Far

We've been tough on Morgan Burke here before and I'm sure we will be tough on him again. However, we also want to give credit where it's due (which we do our best to do) and so I'd like to say here that, so far, Burke is doing and saying the right things.

There are rumors -- seemingly credible ones -- that Burke and company essentially made the decision after the embarrassment vs Wisconsin. Which makes sense in retrospect, because if you haven't already noticed, if Purdue wins that game -- and does nothing else differently this season, blowouts and all -- the Boilermakers are in the Big Ten title game. My point is that this is a plus for Burke on the credibility scale. He's not good at firing people -- doesn't like to do it -- so this shows he realizes what's at stake.

During the press conference, Burke also talked directly and succinctly. He was done with his comments in a mere 7 or 8 minutes and then took questions. He acknowledged the lack of improvement was a factor, the alienation of season ticketholders was a big issues and so forth. These are things worth noting, as in the past we've been critical of him and the athletic department in general of seemingly failing to see the reality of the situation, regardless of whether it was the listing football program or the clumsily-handled Matt Painter situation.

Burke gave credit to the players for their ability to stick to it and win these final three games -- again, something we agree with and give him credit for. That wasn't the result of excellent coaching. It was the result of continued mediocre coaching, bad opponents and, most importantly, the will of the players, especially the seniors. Good for Burke for crediting them.

As an aside, I liked Burke saying that "by tomorrow" coaching candidates will be all over the internet. Someone in the press pool informed him, "They already are." 

I also liked his acknowledgement that they'll need to pay someone. He said clearly that they're aware of what Big Ten coaches get paid and they are prepared to take that on. He didn't give a specific number they're going to pay a head coach, but it's been documented that there is money being raised among JPCers to reportedly fund both a buyout and a first year salary. These are signs of the coaching search being taken very seriously, and I like it. Burke also didn't seem his often-prickly self in response to the questions. Carmin (I think) asked him how he would sell Purdue to a potential coaching candidate and Burke clearly gave it some thought and then talked about Purdue's brand and why Purdue is a good destination. He ticked off points about the incoming President, the brand of football, the trustees, and others and pointed out that they all like to win. That's important. It's also key to me that, as b-dowd pointed out, having "Purdue ties" isn't that critical. He said he thinks "ties to Purdue are tie-breakers; they're not pre-requisites." That, too, makes me feel good. As I said, saying a lot of the right things. 

Another aspect that I really like and that also supports the notion that Burke realizes fully how significant this hire is, is his search committee advisers. Ryan Grigson, Rick Smith and Bill Polian are guys who know football, plain and simple. And Smith, working in Texas, is closer physically to a hotbed of college football coaching, recruits, etc., so his take on what should be considered is interesting to me. There are some who think this committee is window dressing, but regardless of how much advising they're actually doing, it's a good move in practice and optically. Purdue is taking this seriously.

Morgan Burke told us that Pasadena is the goal, which is to say BCS bowl games are the goal. I think it's fair to say that's the kind of thing many of us have wanted to hear for a while. It contradicts statements such as 6-6 being "extremely successful" and referring to yourselves as "bowl champions" following an uninspiring win over a MAC team in a nothing bowl game. We've longed for someone to say this isn't acceptable (besides us low character fans) and, so far, Burke is saying that. He did everything but come out and admit that they tried their patented cheapo approach and it just didn't work.

So far, Morgan Burke is saying the right things. Let's hope it continues, as this hire could be the one that cements his legacy at Purdue.

Handsome Hour Football Finale -- Danny Hope Memorial Edition

Raw Footage of Morgan Burke Press Conference