Friday, September 29, 2006

Bang a Drum | by Jay

Hurrah! The circus is coming!

The undefeated Boilers thus far:

  1. Killed Indiana State (1-AA), 60-35. It was 26-21 PU at halftime, and then Purdue just turned it on.
  2. Beat Miami of Ohio (MAC), 38-31 in overtime (Miami of Ohio is now 0-4).
  3. Beat Ball State (MAC), 38-28. Score not as close as it would seem; it was 38-13 before the Cardinals scored two late touchdowns.
  4. Beat Minnesota, 27-21 in a pretty hard-fought game.
• Despite the saccharine schedule (154th in the nation by Sagarin), Purdue is only 105th in total defense.

• The gamesmanship on the part of the coaches has been relatively low-key (especially in comparison to last week). Joe (Jazz Hands) Tiller is taking a Holtzian approach to the game against the Irish.
“I want to preface this by saying I could be wrong, but this is most likely the most talented team we play this year,” Purdue coach Joe Tiller said. “Maybe we’ll see a team down the road that’s more talented, but I don’t think so at this time. ... I don’t think we’ll play a more experienced team and I don’t think we’ll play a more talented team. Those two factors right there suggest that this is one of the better Notre Dame teams that I’ve ever competed against.”
I initially scoffed at the idea that ND would be the toughest team on the Boilers' schedule, but then I took a look. No Ohio State. No Michigan. Iowa (#13), Penn State (NR), and Michigan State (NR) are the toughest remaining games. For the last game of the year, they head to Hawaii. Coupling the late-season luau with the cupcakery at the beginning (two MAC teams and a division 1-AA), does Purdue have the weakest out-of-conference schedule among BCS schools? (Well, we're on it, so maybe not.)

• Our preseason roster rundown on the 'makers has shifted a bunch since the beginning of the season. In one big change (so to speak), 6'9 wide receiver Kyle Ingraham was declared academically ineligible and will miss the season.

• The strength of the Purdue offense is its line, with five returning starters averaging over 300 pounds apiece. We had them listed as the best OL we'll see all year, and according to Lafayette reporter Tom Kubat they are living up to their billing.

• Other guys to watch on offense: QB Curtis Painter and WR Dorien Bryant. Painter took over from Kirsch down the stretch last year, and has incrementally improved his performance in each game so far this year. Bryant is a 5'10 lightning bug, very quick with good hands.

• RB Kory Sheets is tied for the lead in scoring in the NCAA with 10 TDs. You could look it up. In addition to carrying the ball, he also returns kicks and punts.

• In the secondary, Purdue lost two starters to injury, one for the season and one for 6-8 weeks. They are now starting two JUCO transfers (CB Terrell Vinson and SS Justin Scott) and two true freshmen (CB Royce Adams and FS Brandon Erwin). The nickel back (David Pender) is also a true freshman. They are giving up a lot of yards so far.

• Brock Spack apparently switched his defense to a 3-4 alignment, to better defend the pass. Results are mixed.

• Both of Purdue's defensive tackles are tall (6-5), but on the lighter side (282 and 275)...the lightest we've faced so far this year.

• Defensive end Anthony Spencer is Purdue's best player on defense. Here's a good piece on him from the FWJG.

• Flann over on NDN had a mini-review of the Boilers-Gophers game last week.

...and Toot a Horn

• While Purdue's schedule is an exercise in stretching, ND has the #1 strength of schedule so far. Our opponents are a combined 9-1, with that single loss coming to Ohio State.

• Someone to keep an eye on is freshman running back James Aldridge, who is recovered from a knee injury and has been practicing at full speed with the team this week. He should probably see his first action tomorrow. Here's a bit from the Observer on his likely debut. Outside of Sam Young, Aldridge was probably the most eagerly-awaited recruit from last year's class.