In 2010, the Boilermakers started out 4-2 but finished just 4-8. After being riddled with injuries Purdue re-vamped it's Strength and Conditioning program. Pre-Season expectations were for improvement but the question of how much improvement was left to be seen. When we talked to Boiled Sports before the season, they said a successful season would be going .500 (or better) and getting back to a bowl game. We tabbed the Boilermakers to finish 5th in their half of the Big Ten (as did Phil Steele in his preview magazine). When all was said and done Purdue finished in 3rd place in their half of the conference by going 7-6 overall and 4-4 in the Big Ten. So was the season a success? We caught up with Ryan from Boiled Sports to get his take on the 2011 Purdue Boilermakers and also get a quick glimpse into what 2012 might hold...
CFBZ: When we did our Pre-Season Preview you said a winning record and a bowl game would make the season a success. Now that the season is over and the Boilermakers went 7-6 do you see this season as a success?
Boiled Sports: Yes...but it's not without some reservation. Sloppy play, stupid penalties and inconsistent effort plagued Hope's team this year, and the result was an awful loss at Rice and some really ugly, lopsided shellackings at the hands of Wisconsin, Michigan and UND. While Purdue only beat two teams with a record better than .500, and neither was very good, getting to the post-season was paramount for the state of the program for a number of reasons. In hindsight, do we think they should have won a game or two more? Yes...so it's not a complete success. Even with a QB who was only starting his second game, the Boilers still should have beaten Rice...and if they had played with some sence of urgency versus Iowa, we think they could have beaten the up and down Hawkeyes. The defense was suspect for much of the season and the 2-QB system kept either QB from getting into rhythm during the season...so under those self-inflicted situations, it's pretty amazing that this team finished above .500.
The bowl win, while not over a great opponent or in a good bowl, gives the program at least a bit of momentum heading into next season that it hasn't had in a few years.
CFBZ: QB Rob Henry was the projected starter for the season but tore his ACL. How do you think Caleb TerBush did in his absence and who do you see as the starter in 2012?
Boiled Sports: TerBush managed the game well-enough. Purdue's running game was very good, at times, in '11, especially against bad teams, so TerBush didn't really have to go out and win a game with his arm. TerBush's slow decision making and delivery hurt him throughout the season and pushed Purdue backwards as he took costly sacks...but he didn't try to force the ball into double coverage or do too much. For Purdue to take the next step forward in '12, they'll need to have a QB capable of making plays with his arm and willing to take some risks...regardless if that quarterback is TerBush or someone else.
I think if Robert Marve has a Spring and Fall without major injury, he will earn the starting spot. I fear that unless he shows significant improvement in his decision making, the two-QB system will return.
CFBZ: One of the big changes for Purdue this past season was in the Strength & Conditioning Program. Did this pay dividends on the field this year?
Boiled Sports: We really like the overhauled Strength and Conditioning program and the new staff. While these guys can't prevent all injuries, I think the new staff's focus on flexibility and more modern techniques will pay off in the coming seasons.
CFBZ: What is the lasting memory you will have of this season?
Boiled Sports: There are two; one good, one bad. The bad one is watching Purdue getting the hell beaten out of them by UND. That game was a big game on a big stage and Purdue laid and absolute egg in spite of Hope expressing the importance of the contest during the bye week prior to kickoff.
The good memory was the dramatic win over aOSU. Even when they're not a good team, it's still good to beat Ohio State...and doing it in improbable fashion was fun to watch.
CFBZ: Looking ahead to the 2012 season, what are biggest issues facing Purdue?
Boiled Sports: The two QB system didn't really help Purdue in '12...and if utilized again on a quarter-by-quarter basis, Purdue will not be able to be much more than a .500 team. On top of that, the lack of on-field discipline has been a problem for Hope's team since he arrived. Momentum-killing false starts, illegal formation and holding calls helped to earn Purdue become one of the most-penalized teams in the B1G...and it wasn't Freshman making the mistakes. Hope's staff needs to have a better focus on details and that must begin in camp so Purdue doesn't drop yet another game versus a bad team in the pre-conference schedule.
Previous 2011 Exit Surveys