The Purdue Boilermakers have been the unfortunate recipient of some dismal defeats so far this season. The most recent was their a 56-0 beating at the hands of the top team in the Big Ten, the Ohio State Buckeyes.
Unfortunately for coach Darrell Hazell, Urban Meyer and the Buckeyes were looking to prove something this weekend in hopes of receiving attention necessary to gain the right to participate in a National Championship game this season. This drubbing was the seventh loss for the Boilermakers this season, distancing the Boilermakers from bowl eligibility by yet another game.
The Boilermakers have not won a game in conference play this season, and their only victory was a 20-14 home victory over the in-state rival Indiana State. The question is, could there be a silver lining to be found this season?
Of course, some victories would be very welcome in West Lafayette. With four opponents left on the schedule, the Boilermakers cannot be ruled out for another win, but they are not likely to be the favorite to win any of their upcoming contests. They will next face the stout rushing attack of the Iowa Hawkeyes, then it will be Allen Robinson and Penn State in Happy Valley, where Purdue will likely face a team that can ill afford to give up a home loss.
How about the preparation of some NFL talent? If the Boilermakers are capable of having their university represented on draft day, that will help their recruiting effort for seasons to come. A big question will be whether former quarterback Rob Henry can make the transition to safety and play well enough to earn some NFL recognition.
Also on the roster is the big tight end Gabe Holmes, who is 6-foot-5 and 248 pounds of basketball player at tight end. The NFL has shown a lot of interest in players of this build, and Holmes may have enough speed to make an impact for a NFL team. On the defensive line, the Boilermakers have two draft prospects in Ryan Russell and Bruce Gaston. Both of these young men have size and strength enough to contribute on Sundays.
Finally, the Boilermakers’ best defender may be their cornerback Ricardo Allen, who is a delight to watch. If it wasn’t for his slight build, he may jump up on some draft charts. Keeping young men like these in the news helps to keep the Boilermakers relevant and will aid them in their search for replacement talent in upcoming recruiting classes.
Probably the two most significant ways that the Boilermakers can save their season are to save their coach and save their quarterback. Hazell has simply not had enough time nor talent on the roster to make an impact in one year. Hopefully, the university will be patient with their coach and allow him to develop some talent and bring some players in that will fit his system.
Also with a young quarterback like Danny Etling, it is vital that the Boilermakers do not allow his composure or confidence to be damaged in the remaining games this season. Etling has a great arm and an opportunity to be a great quarterback in the future at Purdue if they are able to protect him for the remainder of the season.