I spent a few hours watching videos from last spring to last week posted by the Purdue football team...and it was pretty fun.
Just as companies tend to reflect the boss' personality due to his example and hiring practices, this Purdue team reflects Danny Hope. They're loose, they seem to really genuinely like being around eachother and love the game of football.
What's not to like about self-deprecating guys like Carlino and Holland, hams like Wiggs and Lichtenberg, nice guys like Short, Rouse and Thomas, polite, soft-spoken players like Gaston, Robinson and Shavers, Amazing athletes like Bolden, Henry, Mostert, Marve and Ross, hard-workers like Allen, Sinz and Lucas, and physical freaks like Beckford, Kitchens and Plue?
There's a lot to like on this team...and these guys are easy to root for. And while on paper, and even on the field, we can see a ton of potential, it's still tough to know whether they can put it all together in reality.
There just always seem to be a ton of loose threads for Hope's teams- waiting for academic clearing, awaiting someone to get healthy, looking forward to see if a guy would see the field in his Frosh season or redshirt, and everyone on the field knowing their role and just executing.
A lack of cohesiveness and poor chemistry have not been problems for the teams over the past two years- something that Tiller teams struggled with from time-to-time...so there's definitely a good foundation to be built upon. But consistency has been something the last two Purdue teams simply haven't been able to find...and this team must change that trend in order to get Purdue's football team back to respectability and above .500.
At the mid-way point of the pre-season practice schedule, like every team in America, there are some good reports coming out of camp and some things that sound kinda lousy. Two-a-days have left a few players like Roberts and Johnson hurting to the point that they might not be back for more than a month. Other "little" injuries and ailments are keeping guys from practicing for days or weeks at a time- that's football.
But as this team heads down the final stretch of practice prior to playing MTSU, one thing I hope they're able to find is focus...because dropping an early game versus a team they should beat can't happen if they are to take the program forward this season. Likability is extremely important...but nothing excites a fanbase like a winner.