Some people claim that Purdue doesn't exist, but the blog Hammer and Rails certainly does, and they agreed to answer some questions for us about our game tomorrow. My answers to their questions can be found here.
1. How would you grade the job Danny Hope has done in his 2+ years on the job? I've heard some talk that he might be on the hot seat. Is that true or do you think his job is safe for another year or two?
I think he is safe for another year or two simply given Purdue's history. We gave Jim Colletto six years and he was awful for all six, and would have been worse if not for Mike Alstott. Hope has done some good things. He has improved recruiting and I really like his attitude, but there have been several in-game decisions (such as the time out against you guys two years ago) that have upset people. The Rice game was a microcosm of that. He blew our last timeout, went away from what was working, settled for a rushed field goal instead of a possible touchdown, and it led to the block and a loss.
I think this year he has to produce a bowl, but in reality it already should have happened. If you look at our 2009 season we were 5-7, but we were within a play or two of beating Oregon, Northwestern, Notre Dame, Michigan State, and Northern Illinois. Last season we started 4-2 even with all the injuries, but lost winnable games (even with injuries) to Toledo and Indiana, plus blew a big fourth quarter lead at Michigan State. The trend of dropping games like Rice, Toledo, and Northern Illinois is very disturbing. I think he gets another year regardless, but if we drop a game say to Marshall next year it gets really warm.
2. I'm sure you're sick of talking about this, but what's going on with the ACLs at your school? That kind of bad luck that stretches across multiple sports programs defies the laws of probability. Did Joe Tiller curse the school on his way out or something?
I have no idea, and most people don't either. It hasn't been limited to football and Robbie Hummel, either. We also lost the starting point guard for our women's basketball team four minutes into last season and a main volleyball player in the NCAA Tournament. Shoot, even I tore something in my ankle last year on the weekend we played Notre Dame and it took months to heal.
3. I've heard reports that Caleb TerBush will start against the Irish but Robert Marve is expected to get plenty of snaps too. Do you like the idea of using two quarterbacks? What can each QB bring to the table that the other can't?
I hate the idea. I think Marve gives us the better chance to win because he is the better thrower. TerBush has been solid in his first major career action. He's not thrown up huge numbers, but he has been respectable and hasn't turned the ball over (only one interception). Marve gives us more versatility in the passing game, however. The running game will be fine with the variety of backs we have, but I think Marve is much more accurate as a thrower and gives us the ability to stretch the field.
4. Who's a player on each side of the ball that Irish fans should worry about on Saturday?
I saw some of the comments on Inside the Irish about Ricardo Allen being able to cover Michael Floyd, but he is the only player we have that has a chance of handling him one on one. If anything, he might take coach Kelly's words as an affront and play that much better. Floyd is a hell of a player and it will be a challenge for us to stop him, but if Allen can single-handedly at least slow him it will help a lot.
On offense I really like Antavian Edison. He's averaging more than 20 yards per catch and had a rushing touchdown against SEMO. He's probably our best big play threat in the passing game and he needs the ball in his hands more often.
5. Who ya got?
Unless Notre Dame continues turning the ball over too much they shouldn't have a problem. You guys are simply the better team and I don't trust our coaching staff right now. Sadly, it shouldn't be that way, either. There is no reason we can't be at eat competitive with ND each year and win at least 1 in about 4, things have been getting progressively worse since 2007.
Thanks again to the guys at Hammer and Rails!