2012 Game Preview – Purdue

What to watch on offense

Danny Hope was an assistant under former Purdue HC Joe Tiller from 1997-2001. Hope returned to Purdue in 2007 as the named successor to Joe Tiller who retired a year later. DHope PurdueAn OL coach by trade, Hope maintained Tiller’s spread offense but has incorporated a zone based running attack to create some balance offensively. Purdue is still among the conference leaders in passing but they are no longer completely dependent on completing passes in order to win games.

Since taking over Purdue, Danny Hope has consistently used multiple QBs. Former Miami QB Robert Marve was expected to lock down the QB position when he transferred to Purdue in 2009. Injuries and the emergence of the more athletic Caleb Terbush has lead Purdue to continue the practice of rotating QBs. Marve is the better passer and is used primarily in that role while Terbush poses a duel-threat to opposing defenses.

RB Ralph Bolden was expected to carry a heavy load this season after posting more than 700 yds a year ago. Unfortunately for Purdue, Bolden’s late season injury from a year ago has kept him out of the lineup so far this season. Bolden has been a light participate in Purdue practices this week and he has stated that he’s ready to play. Danny Hope has kept his cards close to the vest in an effort to keep the Michigan coaches in the dark about the possibility of Bolden returning on Saturday. Akeem Shavers who filled in for Bolden at the end of last season has averaged 60 yds on the ground per game this season while in a time share with sophomore Akeem Hunt.

Purdue’s receiver core lost just one player from last year’s team, returning much of the unit intact. Senior Antavian Edison is the leading receiver but far from the only weapon in the Purdue WR core. Juniors OJ Ross and Gary Bush have also played key roles helping Purdue rank 2nd in the Big 10 in passing offense.

Purdue lost its best offensive linemen from a year ago to graduation but still returns 3 starters including Honorable Mention All-Big 10 guard Peters Drey. Purdue lacks size on the offensive line, especially at the tackles. Converted DT Justin Kitchens returns at the RT but weighs in at just 275lbs while brand new LT Trevor Foy checks in at 287lbs.

Best Offensive Player

WR Antavian Edison – If he was healthy and certain to play this spot would list Ralph Bolden as the best offensive player. As it stands the best offensive player for Purdue this season has been Antavian Edison who has averaged more than 11yds per reception and scored 5 TDs this season.

Head Coach– Danny Hope-4th year

Off Coor– Gary Nord-4th year

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Purdue Game Prediction

Purdue comes to town this week, and while a typical pushover the past 50 years, save the occasional Drew Brees year, Michigan Football isn’t back to being your Daddy’s Michigan Football, at least yet.

Danny Hope has his Boilers (and his stache) stylin’ these days, coming off a 21-14 upset against Illinois. How much of that is Purdue improving, as opposed to the Illini being overrated and frankly, coached by the Zooker, remains to be seen. I’m leaning towards the latter, afterall, we’re talking the same team that lost to Rice, who happened to give up 9TD passes last night to Houston. In a little over 3 quarters. Yikes.

They kind of remind me a little of Western Michigan (although I think a better team than WMU)  A couple outstanding defensive players in Short and Allen on the D-line and Secondary respectively, and a smattering of average players.

On offense, they sport an average to above average QB, whether its the rookie, or Marve, and a good but not great RB in Bolden.

I think this game will end up similar to the Northwestern game, however not go the same way. While UM may start off a little rusty after the bye week, I think there is a nasty taste in their mouth after the Sparty game that needs some cleansing.

Look for Michigan to continue to try and find some consistency in both the running and passing games, and sans a repeat of Hurricane Willie and 40mph winds, I expect Michigan to do so.

Michigan pulls away in the second half, Denard is much less pedestrian with his passing game, and finds some seams in the running game.

Michigan 34, The Stache 17.