Northern Colorado Wrap-Up

Good...Not Great...Lots of Room for Improvement...and a bit uninspired, at times. But a victory, no less, and an easy one at that.

Our Boilers played what seems to be a not-too-horrible CSD team and beat them by a final score of 42-10. Seven of those points were all but handed to them as a punt careened off of the leg of Fabian Martin in the fourth quarter and the Bears recovered the ball deep in Purdue territory. Tiller said the film of the Bears was less-than-impressive and thought his team might have a difficult time getting up for the game- they looked like it.

The defense seemed to struggle mightily with NC's slippery little running back and dump passes and safety valve passes underneath the linebackers. The guy I was looking forward to watching defend these plays, Jason Werner, was a late scratch from the lineup due to more back problems...That's bad, if not sad news since his career has been hampered by surgeries and injuries to his back. I actually got to talk to one of his pals after the game...She told me that his back wasn't too bad and he'd be back next week...Tiller didn't seem as positive that he'd be playing next week v. the Ducks.

On the other side of the ball, the play calling was pretty vanilla and Painter had quite a few problems...I'll dig into both sides of the ball below:

I was impressed with the defensive backfield. They didn't have any interceptions, but seemed to be in good position most of the day. Torri Williams made some thurnderous hits, McClean didn't seem to be out of position or make any glaring mistakes and both corners were hawkish.
The front four looked very solid. Magee, Baker, Neal and newcomer to the starting lineup, Gerald Gooding all played good games. Baker was as disruptive as I've seen him in the last four years and Neal and Magee both seemed like they were running at a high speed all day.

The linebackers were as questionable as many thought they'd be coming into the season. Joe Holland played well- especially when you take into account the fact that he was a Safety two weeks ago, and a second-string LB two days ago. That said, he's not the player that a healthy Werner is (yet)...and it showed. Heygood played well and was very active in fact he probably over-pursued a couple of times simply because he was flying around so aggressively. Kevin Green looked lost quite a few times and was taken advantage of quite a few times.

I think it's safe to say that Painter is not a legitimate Heisman candidate. His tendency to lock in on a receiver from the second he catches the snap hasn't gone away...and he still tends to sail passes, especially early in the game. And while he nearly threw for 300 yards and zero TDs, he simply didn't look comfortable with the corps of newbies. That said, he threw a simply beautiful touch pass to Orton for a 43-yard TD...and was hitting Smith in the center of the "8" all day.

Keith Smith was exactly the player I thought he'd be. He's a big target, caught almost every ball thrown his way...and even had a TD on his very first reception of his career. He reminded me quite a bit of Keller...He finished with 67 yards receiving.

Greg Orton had 89 yards receiving including that long TD mentioned above. It was a great example of two guys who are on the same page because they have played together a while.
Desmond Tardy, who would have received one of my game balls as he had 180 all-purpose yards including 113 yards receiving, largely from some very shifty yards-after-catch. He didn't have a touchdown, but he was extremely effective in multiple facets of the game.

Kory Sheets ran the ball quite efficiently and often in the first half- 10 rushes, 64 yards and a TD. He ended the game in the third quarter with 81 total yards and two TDs. Dierking, Halliburton, Siller and Elliot all ran the ball effectively, but sparingly. I was surprised at how well Siller seemed to get his shoulder pads down low for a guy of his height.

Special Teams
How many games during the Tiller era has the Special Teams lost? A lot. Well, that definitely wasn't a concern today. The punters kicked the ball OK, but Summers absolutely crushed a 49 yarder that seemed to explode off of his foot and Wiggs handled kicking the ball off of the short tee well.

The punt coverage wasn't needed as the one-man wrecking crew, Frank Halliburton tied a Purdue SEASON record for blocked punts with two...and he effected a third. One of his two blocked punts was recovered for a TD...That's why Frank the Tank would get my second game ball.

Desmond Tardy returned the ball very well and reminded me of a tougher, stronger and larger version of Dorien Bryant. I am positive he'll take one to the house again this season. That said, the Bears kickoff coverage was pretty horrible.

Up Next...
If I was allowed to adjust my season prediction based on what I saw today, I probably wouldn't...It looks to me like this Purdue team is about a 7-win team.

The next game will teach us a lot as Painter has a chance to beat his first ranked opponent as a starting QB...and Tiller has the chance to beat his first ranked team since 2003. Tiller will also surpass Fat Jack as the all-time winningest Purdue head coach with just one more win...Some might think it'd be more fitting for him to do so versus a MAC opponent, I would be as happy as a little girl if he did it v. the Ducks.

God's Team
Sadly, I didn't get the chance to write up a BSRWG entry...but almost did. In fact, I think SDSU's last fumble of the game was a TD. But it doesn't matter. We learned that:
A) UND is still not very good
B) Clausen is gayer-looking than ever
C) Clausen thinks his Irish are a good team (ref. Jimmy's postgame comments). He can think whatever he wants, but good teams don't make that many mistakes or those types of mistakes (over and over again) nor do they allow an undersized and under-talented opponent slap them around in the trenches like the Manatee's club did this evening.

Football Jambalaya

2008 Boiled Sports Season Preview (About Time)