Yes, the Purdue Boilermakers were only able to accomplish a single win in the 2013 football season but the first season under new Head Coach Darrell Hazzell was far from a complete loss. In fact, there were many positive signs that shined through in Hazzell’s rookie season as a head coach in the Big 10. The most positive aspect of this pervious football season that coach Hazzell and his coaching staff can reflect upon during their offseason may be the performance of their often underrated offense.
Coach Hazzell has been recognized as a coach who often fields an effective offense. Hazzell prefers to operate an offense that is modeled after a more traditional pro-style offense, which fits in well to the style of football that is often played in the Big 10 today. Coach Hazzell had productive offensive squads in his previous position as head coach of the Kent State Golden Flashes and has spent the entirety of his coaching career focusing on the offensive side of the ball often with running backs or with the wide receivers, which is the position he lined up at during his playing days. Hazzell has had the benefit of coaching under and alongside some very successful coaches including Don Nehlen, Greg Shiano and Jim Tressel.
While Penn State freshman quarterback Christain Hackenberg garnered awards and the lion’s share of the attention as a Big 10 freshman of the year, Boilermaker freshman quarterback Danny Etling was able to carve up big 10 defenses and carve his name into the hearts of the Boilermaker Nation. Etling replaced senior quarterback Rob Henry early in the season and never looked back as he lead the Boilermakers passing attack that would go on to finish the season in respectable fashion especially considering the youth and lack of experience of the offense that was coupled with a new offense and head coach. In fact the most glaring statistic that sticks out from Etling’s first year as a starter could be his very low number of interceptions, seven. On the negative side the most polarizing statistic was the astonishing 31 sacks that Etling took during the 2013 football season. Only Michigan Wolverine quarterback Devin Gardner took more sacks this season. Gardner had the unfortunate circumstance of playing behind an oft injured offensive line while Etling’s sacks may be attributed somewhat to his lack of experience but to poor play by the Boilermaker offensive line. Undoubtedly, coach Hazzell will have his quarterback and offensive line on the same page in 2014 which should lead to Hazzell getting the ball out quicker and utilizing the talents of his offensive line to better avoid situations that put his team in negative yardage situations.
Etling will have two classmates returning at wide receiver who contributed to the Boilermaker offense in 2013 that are potential play makers. Cameron Posey a freshman from Florida had 3 touchdowns this season on 26 receptions. Posey has good size and speed and could be an excellent option for the Boilermaker offense in 2014. Also returning is the Boilermakers leading receiver from 2013 freshman DeAngelo Yancy. Yancy is a potential deep threat with great speed and the freshman from Georgia showed his skills this season catching 32 balls for 546 yards and averaging 17.1 yards per catch. With young skill players with skill and speed like these young men on offense Hazzell and his squad could stand a chance to turn things around in 2014.