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2008 Opponent Preview: Purdue

Purdue Offense:
QBs
Curtis Painter enters his final season at Purdue with hype as the conference's best quarterback, and perhaps a first-round draft pick (I think this speaks more to the quality of the rest of the nation's QBs, not Painter's supreme skill). Backing him up will be Joey Elliott and redshirt freshman Justin Siller.

Statistics:
Purdue Quarterbacks Passing 2007
Name
Comp
Att
%
Yds
TD
Int
Yds/Att
Curtis Painter
356
569
62.57
3846
29
11
6.76
Joey Elliott
13
24
54.17
147
1
1
6.13
Purdue Quarterbacks Rushing 2007
Name
Att
Yds
TD
Yds/Att
Curtis Painter
53
-20
3
-0.26
Joey Elliott
2
5
0
2.5

Analysis:
I think Painter is being overrated in most preseason publications. He is a fairly efficient passer, but it comes in a system that asks the quarterback to get the ball to receivers and allow them to get YAC. He rarely is asked to throw deep, and instead throws lots of screens and slants with major help from his WRs. If he gets hurt, however, Elliott is probably a big step back. While Painter isn't Heisman material, he is still probably the best QB in the conference.

RBs
Kory Sheets and Jaycen Taylor will be the primary ballcarriers for the Boilermaker offense. Sheets is a 5th-year senior, while Sheets is a redshirt junior. True sophomore Dan Dierking will play behind them. Fullback Frank Halliburton paves the way when the Boilers go to a strong set.

Statistics:
Purdue Running Backs Rushing 2007
Name
Att
Yds
TD
Yds/Att
Kory Sheets
168
859
11
5.11
Jaycen Taylor
107
560
4
5.23
Dan Dierking
42
181
2
4.31
Frank Halliburton
11
26
1
2.36
Joe Williams
2
10
0
5.00
Purdue Running Backs Receiving 2007
Name
Att
Yds
TD
Yds/Att
Kory Sheets
30
216
2
7.20
Jaycen Taylor
11
65
0
5.91
Dan Dierking
5
52
0
10.40
Frank Halliburton
1
3
0
3.00

Analysis:
Sheets and Taylor gain yardage primarily due to the spread's ability to bring defenders out of the box rather than their own ability. However, they are competent backs, and each is a threat to receive the ball as well. Neither should challenge for all-conference, but they will get the job done when called upon.

Receivers:
Dorien Bryant finally graduates after what seemed like 100 years at Purdue, and tight end Dustin Keller is gone as well. Selwyn Lymon was expected to be a big contributor for the Boilermakers, but he had off-field troubles and is no longer with the team. That leaves big Greg Orton as the primary playmaker. Tight end Kyle Adams and 5th year receiver Desmond Tardy should also play big roles for Purdue. As often as this school throws the ball around, they aren't particularly deep at wideout.

Statistics:
Purdue Receivers 2007
Name
Rec
Yds
TD
Yds/Rec
Dorien Bryant
87
936
8
11.14
Dustin Keller (TE)
68
881
7
10.48
Greg Orton
67
752
3
9.87
Selwyn Lymon
40
450
2
15.83
Jake Standeford
35
396
3
10.95
Kyle Adams (TE)
8
109
2
12.20
Desmond Tardy
10
93
0
9.14
Brandon Whittington
1
24
0
19.00
Jerry Waslkowski (TE)
2
8
1
7.50
Byron Williams
1
5
0
7.50
Jeff Lindsay
3
3
2
7.50
Purdue Receivers Rushing 2007
Name
Att
Yds
TD
Yds/Att
Dorien Bryant
14
85
0
6.07
Desmond Tardy
1
8
0
8.00
Dustin Keller
0
0
1
-
Dustin Keller is not morally opposed to statistical anomalies.

Analysis:
One thing I'm surprised about is the receivers' lack of rushing attempts last year, given the bubble screen-happy nature of the "basketball on grass" offense. With the losses of 4 of their top 5 receivers, Purdue has very little depth. One injury could really screw them over, given wide receivers' importance to this offense. Younger players will have to step up and carry some of the load.

Line:
Left tackle Sean Sester is the most experienced lineman of the bunch, as the fifth year has started 38 games for Purdue (I'd be surprised if this wasn't more than every Michigan lineman combined - not just the starters). The other bookend will be former walkon and redshirt junior Zach Jones, who started nearly every game for Purdue last year. On the interior, redshirt junior Zach Reckman returns after starting every game at left guard last year. The final two positions have been vacated by Jordan Grimes and Robbie Powell. 5th-year senior Cory Benton will fill the center slot, with redshirt sophomore Justin Pierce filling in the final guard position.

Analysis:
With three starters back, including both tackles, Painter should have the protection he needs to get the ball to the playmakers on the edges. Though Purdue rarely excels in rush offense, this is more because they think of it as an afterthought to passing, not because they can't block.

Offensive Analysis:
Curtis Painter should continue to improve, limiting his turnovers in 2008. The passing game at Purdue will, as always, allow Painter to make easy throws and rack up yardage. The run game will be more of a change of pace than anything. With three returning O-linemen and experienced running backs, the offense should click as long as the wideouts can step up.

Purdue Defense:

Defensive Line:
The team leader in TFLs and sacks, Cliff Avril, is gone from one defensive end spot. Eugene Bright, who split time with Keyon Brown at the other end, is also gone. Brown will take over full-time for his senior year. The other end spot will be taken over by Ryan Kerrigan, a true sophomore. Both starting defensive tackles return, with Ryan Baker entering his fifth year and Alex Magee a true senior. Backups will be Mike Neal and Jared Zwilling.

Statistics:
Purdue Defensive Line 2007
Name
Tackle
TFL
Sacks
Cliff Avril
40
15
6.5
Alex Magee
38
4.5
0
Eugene Bright
28
6
5
Ryan Baker
22
4
0
Mike Neal
22
4
2
Keyon Brown
21
3.5
3.5
Ryan Kerrigan
18
1
1
Mike McDonald
8
0
0
Jared Zwilling
8
0.5
0
Jermaine Guynn
3
0
0
Jeff Benjamin
2
0
0
Gerald Gooden
1
0
0

Analysis:
Cliff Avril was a farily accomplished pass rusher, so it may be difficult to replace him. However, the other three starting linemen return, with Keyon Brown taking over full time at the end spot. This unit will struggle to get to the quarterback without Avril.

Linebackers:
Anthony Heygood is back for his fifth year, starting in one of the positions. However, the Boilers' next three leading tacklrs at the linebacker position are gone, leaving starting positions to relatively-inexperienced Tyler Haston and Kevin Green. They will have to learn fast, since they have primarily been special teams players to this point in their careers.

Statistics:
Purdue Linebackers 2007
Name
Tackle
TFL
Sack
Int
Anthony Heygood
80
14
1
0
Stanford Keglar
70
4
0
0
Josh Ferguson
69
4
0
0
Dan Bick
63
6
4
1
Tyler Haston
8
0
0
0
Kevin Green
7
0
0
0
Jeff Lindsay
5
0
0
0
Mike Durrett
1
1
0
0

Analysis:
Losing several of your most important players at a position is never a good thing. However, Heygood was the best linebacker for Purdue, and should continue to be. If the other linebackers aren't up to task, however, it could be along year for the Boilermakers.

Defensive Backs:
Corner Terrell Vinson is gone, as is safety Justin Scott. The returners in the secondary will be junior corner David Pender, who played in every game and started most of them, and safety Brandon King, a senior who got every start last year. Replacing the departees will probably be senior corner Royce Adams, who got the starts last year that Pender didn't, and either senior Adam Wolf or junior Josh McKinley at safety.

Sttatistics:
Purdue Defensive Backs 2007
Name
Tackle
TFL
Sack
Int
Terrell Vinson
84
7
3
5
Justin Scott
73
4
0
3
David Pender
44
1
0
1
Brandon King
44
1
0
1
Royce Adams
30
0
0
0
Jason Werner
29
3
1
0
Josh McKinley
17
1
1
0
Torri Williams
17
1.5
1
1
Frank Duong
12
1
0
0
Adam Wolf
8
0
0
0
Charlton Williams
4
1
0
0
Brandon Erwin
2
0
0
0
TJ Stark
1
0
0
0

Analysis:
The Boilers lose their top two tacklers from the secondary, though I personally subscribe to the school of "if a corner is among your leading tacklers it means he can't cover anyone." However, the secondary loses its best two players nonetheless.

Defensive Analysis:
Purdue, despite having some fairly strong defenses earlier this decade, has never been known for its defense, but rather its fairly innovative offense. The trend should continue this year, with no stars on the D. It appears as though Purdue will have to outscore most of its opponents if the Boilers want to win (see: Motor City Bowl: Purdue 51, Central Michigan 48).

Special Teams:

Junior kicker Chris Summers returns, but punter Jared Armstrong departs. Armstrong will likely be replaced by Brody McKnight, or Summers will take care of both duties.

Statistics:
Purdue Kicking 2007
Name
FGM
Att
%
Long
XPM
Att
%
Chris Summers
18
22
81.82
51
56
56
100.00
Purdue Punting 2007
Name
Punts
Yds
Avg
Jared Armstrong
67
2724
40.66

Analysis:
Summers is one of the most consistent kickers in the conference. The punting situation is unknown, but losing a multi-year starter is never referred.

Overall Analysis:
Purdue should turn in its standard middle-of-the-pack performance this yea runless Painter balls out of his mind. Expect a loss to a team they shouldn't lose to, and maybe a victory over a game peopel don't expect them to win. In the end, Purdue is an offensively-oriented team this year, and it is too difficult to win championships with that build.

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“2008 Opponent Preview: Purdue”

  1. Anonymous Justin Says:

    Werner was moved to linebacker on the other side of Heygood. He's being hyped in the local media. Hopefully strength on the sides can make up for losing Avril.