The Purdue Boilermakers are coming off a 6-7 season that ended with a loss to Oklahoma State in the Heart of Dallas Bowl. The Boilermakers also finished with a disappointing 3-5 record in the Big 10 Conference. If things are going to be any better in 2013, the defense is going to have to play a key role.
This season brings a lot of changes to West Lafayette. New head coach Darrell Hazell will try to get the Boilermakers moving in a positive direction. Aside from a new coach and style, there are several key offensive positions that will be filled by new starters.
Quarterbacks Robert Marve and Caleb TerBush, who both saw ample playing time last season, are no longer around. Akeem Shavers, the team’s leading rusher and Antavian Edison, who led in receiving, are also both gone.
With several big holes to fill at key positions and the offense likely going through a transition, it won’t be a surprise if the Boilermakers struggle on the offensive side of the ball. Due to those reasons, the defense will be leaned upon heavily, especially to start the season.
Although Purdue struggled on defense last year, finishing 11th in total defense in the Big 10, the Boilermakers return eight starters from 2012. Experience is never a bad thing, and Purdue’s defense will have plenty of that this year.
The strength will be in the secondary. Senior cornerback Ricardo Allen, who has big-play ability, will look to have a big season. He made 45 tackles and one interception in 2012. Safety Landon Feichter, who led the team last year with 80 tackles and four interceptions, will anchor the back of the unit.
Linebackers Joe Gilliam and Sean Robinson will bring both talent and experience to the middle of the Purdue defense.
After a disappointing 2012, the Boilermakers should be much improved on defense this season. With a new-look offense likely having some growing pains, it will be up to the defense to step up and ensure that Purdue is competitive this season.