It’s hard to say how good or bad the Purdue Boilermakers truly were last year. Can any team survive losing it’s starting quarterback and go-to wide receiver for the season? When they had already lost their main tailback for the year BEFORE the season even started? The Boilers were even playing a fourth string QB (first time in school history) at one point.
So maybe Purdue wasn’t all that talented, but they certainly weren’t near as bad as the cadre of key injuries made them look in 2010.
In 2011, there’s again not much room for error, as they’ve lost one of the best players in the Big Ten, DE Ryan Kerrigan to the first round of the NFL. And the NCAA had no remorse for Keith Smith and his season ending injury, as the 2009 league leader in receiving was denied a sixth year of eligibility.
2010 was: a phantasmagoria of injuries at the skill positions. the heavy losses at the places where football’s household names play was so destroyed by injury, the circumstances seemed mathematically impossible. This yielded a 4-8, 2-6 in conference campaign. The only bright spot might have been the emergence of Rob Henry, now a sophomore, who will enter a training camp battle with Robert Marve for the starting signal caller position.
BMOCs: DT Kawaan Short. a possible NFL first rounder with tremendous size (6-3, 305) and athleticism to go with it. He could be as good as Kerrigan. Well close, maybe. Cornerbacks Ricardo Allen and Josh Johnson will be among the best tandems in the country and maybe the best pairing in the league. Carson Wiggs could be the nation’s best kicker, and he drilled a 67 yard field goal in the spring game.
2011 will be fruitful if: They can out-slug and out-bludgeon their opponents. Short leads a very impressive DL, and the secondary is really good. The LBs aren’t bad either. Running back Ralph Bolden is healthy again and he’s good when he’s not on medical leave. If all these units click, a very big if, they should win some games.
2011 will be awful if: the passing game is as atrocious as it was last year. 112th in the nation. This led to the offense being 104th overall and 105th in scoring. It seems weird to not list any WRs or QBs in the BMOCs when previewing Purdue, a school known as “the cradle of quarterbacks” and during the apex of Joe Tiller’s reign “basketball on grass.” Don’t expect anything exciting and fun like that in 2011.
Bottom Line: Too many questions for this team to make a bowl. Marve is on his second ACL injury in as many years. Bolden is recovering from knee surgery. They will be more competitive in games than they were last fall, and the schedule helps out quite a bit. But it doesn’t look like it’s going to be enough for them to get their first winning season/bowl trip since 2007.
Purdue Rankings: #64 Athlon, #58 Lindy’s, #53 Phil Steele
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