5 Things We Learned From Purdue’s Week 1 Loss
5 Things We Learned from Purdue's Loss
Nothing extinguishes a fanbase’s hopes like a good 'ole fashioned butt kicking, which is exactly what the Cincinnati Bearcats did to the Purdue Boilermakers. The 42-7 drubbing — worst Week 1 loss by Purdue since 1996 — got new head coach Darrell Hazell’s career off to a rocky start.
Hazell replaced Danny Hope who was let go after four seasons at Purdue, where he led the Boilers to two bowl games and no regular season winning records.
First order of business for Hazell was to overhaul the offense and replace the spread option with the West Coast offense. Not a problem since all coaches run their own offense, but trying to teach a team a brand new offense in a short period of time is always tough, and it was very apparent that the Purdue offensive players had not fully grasped the new playbook.
The offense struggled mightily — two fumbles and two interceptions — with fifth-year senior Rob Henry under center. Purdue put up 161 yards through the air and only 65 on the ground — five more yards total than what the Bearcats ran for as a team — which showed the glaring holes the offense still needed to work through and how good the Bearcats defense was, at least on Saturday.
But the loss can’t solely be blamed on the offense. The defense, which lost top players Josh Johnson and Kawann Short, looked like they failed to game plan at all. Bearcats running backs ran for 221 yards and four touchdowns, while quarterback Munchie Legaux sliced and diced the defense with his precision passing (145 yards and one touchdown) and agile running ability (55 yards and one touchdown).
This loss stung not only for the team, but for the Purdue Boilermaker fans.
Now let’s find out the five things we learned from Purdue’s Week 1 loss.
Rob Henry is Not the Best Fit
We learned Rob Henry may not be the best quarterback to run Darrell Hazell’s offense. After sitting out the 2010 season due to injury, Henry was unable to win the starting or backup role last season. Trying to learn a new offense after having the same offense ingrained in you for the past four years is a tough proposition to take on. Henry won the job because of his veteran status, but if Purdue and Hazell want to succeed then they may need to turn over the reins to one of the freshman quarterbacks.
Purdue Offense Needs Some Tweaking
You could tell Darrell Hazell was looking to run a more balanced scheme and he did a pretty good job, 35 passes to 22 runs, but he failed to stick with what was working. Dalyn Dawkins only ran four times, but finished with an average of 6.5 yards per carry. Why wasn’t he involved in more running plays? I understand the team was behind, but Rob Henry’s passing wasn’t leading the Boilers anywhere, so seeing what your freshman running back could do would have been more beneficial. The offense still needs tweaking and the balance will eventually work itself out.
Going to be a Tough Year for the Defense
Purdue’s defense gave up 425 yards and five touchdowns — including four on the ground — and it’s not likely the defense will see better days this year. It doesn’t help that the defense lost their best players from last year, but the lack of effort was disconcerting. The defense is young and dealing with a new coordinator, so this season will be more of a learning process. Either way, the offense is going to need to carry this team to any victories they can get.
Purdue's Punter was The Lone Bright Spot
Cody Webster continues to be arguably the best punter in the nation. His 73 yard punt in the second quarter led to a Bearcat fumble on the return and eventually the only Purdue touchdown of the day. Webster finished with three punts for 169 total yards. If there was one bright spot from Saturday’s game it was Webster’s leg.
Purdue Fans are in for Another Long Season
Purdue hasn’t had a winning regular season record since 2007, one of Joe Tiller’s final seasons, and it doesn’t look like that streak will end this year. After the Boilers play Indiana State University this weekend, they play out of conference and No. 14 ranked Notre Dame. Then begin their descent to the bottom of the Big Ten. Wisconsin, Nebraska, Michigan State, and Ohio State make up the first four conference games for the Boilers; good luck with that. The only thing fans can do it sit back, relax, and hope Darrell Hazell starts playing some of the touted freshman he has.