You can see my answer's to Travis's questions HERE at Hammer and Rails, along with answers from UHND.com and Keith Arnold. Please give @HammerAndRails a follow on twitter, if only to hopefully enjoy sweet, sweet schadenfreude come Saturday night. (Please, schadenfreude, don't turn into masochism this Saturday night). Without further ado, let's get into the questioning:
1. Darrell Hazell, he of the doubled consonants, has gotten off to a slow start in West Lafayette. What bright spots have you seen him bring to this Boilermaker team in these first two games that have given some "Hope" for a full recovery from the previous regime?
Well, we didn't completely embarrass ourselves and lose to Indiana State. That's about it. Saturday was a double whammy because as we were struggling to score against a team that gave up 73 points a week before the Cincinnatiteam I thought was pretty good got absolutely drilled by Illinois, who was 3-16 in their last 19 games with two losses to Purdue.
The offense has been a complete mess of late. The Sycamores stuffed a first half 4th and 1 near midfield, then stuffed Purdue three times on first and goal from the 1 to hold for a field goal. Late in the half Purdue against got a first and goal from the one and was again stuffed three times, only ran out of time to get the field goal unit on the field.
Things are very, very bad when an FCS stuffs you seven times in a row when you need one yard. The defense looked far better, but the offense continued to be out of sync and showed nothing of the power run game we expected. I fear we are Michigan State without the benefit of having an excellent defense. Purdue's defense can be good, but it is not good enough to save the offense being as bad as it is right now.
2. Notre Dame struggled last week on defense trying to contain Devin Gardner, who found the soft spots of our zones and hit his receivers perfectly when they were in man coverage. The ground game was pretty non-existent for the Wolverines, however. What do you think Purdue's strength will be in this game against the Irish defense?
Well, that could be very bad, because Rob Henry has not been terribly accurate of late. He has either overthrown or not even seen open receivers. The offense only had some success last week when a double blocking-TE set and a fullback. Even then they hardly ran at will against an FCS defense.
Much of the problem lies with the offensive line, which did not allow Henry any time to throw at Cincinnati and did not open any holes in the running game against Indiana State. The knock on Henry has always been his accuracy. He is a threat with his legs and throw better on the run, but he lakes the arm that Robert Marve had last year. Purdue is probably in for a long night if he can't find those soft spots in the zone.
3. Who is one player that we aren't aware of right now that will have us worried about playing Purdue in the near future after his performance on Saturday?
I am going to go with freshman running back Dalyn Dawkins. He was a solid player for national power Louisville Trinity and has shown some flashes of being very shifty with the football if he can get a little space. He has 52 yards receiving on four catches and 63 rushing on 15 carries. Seeing as how he has taken over the No. 2 spot on the depth chart as a true freshman it makes me very excited for his future.
4. How are you feeling about the rest of Purdue's season, and the prospects moving forward?
As long as the offense continues to be one of the worst in the country, not good. Purdue has scored 27 points in two games against defense that have given up 73 and 41 in their other two games. Seven of Purdue's points came on a kickoff return for a touchdown to open the Indiana State game. Even when Purdue does move the ball, points are not assured as we have missed two field goals.
Purdue has to figure out some way to consistently move the ball. The line is not opening holes in the running game and Henry has been horribly inaccurate. It doesn't matter, then, how good the defense is.
5. How do you see the game Saturday night playing out, and what's your prediction for a final score? (Bonus points if you relay the answer in GIFs).
I predict that I will be taking advantage of the fact that my sister is watching my 4.5 month old son over night and I will be going to Harry's Chocolate Shop before the 8pm kickoff for some long islands. As excited as I was to see Purdue start this season, the offense has looked so horrible that I have no delusions of actually winning the game. It will probably go more like this:
That was a travesty of epic proportions. My original thoughts were here before I even saw it, with the video breakdown appearing here. As someone who actually holds a degree from Purdue in video production, my school should never be allowed near a camera again.