For the first five weeks of the season, I blamed Shoop's playcalling for the Boilers' struggles. I often thought his approach was too conservative. Purdue's offense was constantly stalling, and frustration after weeks of failing to move the football boiled over (pun intended) after a complete no-show at home against Iowa.
It turns out quarterbacking was the problem.
|Appleby with Trent Dilfer at the Elite 11 camp||.|
Danny Etling was simply incapable of executing the plays Shoop called. I don't mean to call him out or put him in a bad light, but these are just the facts. It's been a completely different ballgame after the switch to Austin Appleby, whose hard work really seems to be paying off.
I found an article on ESPN.com that details Appleby's tireless work ethic. I'm not saying Etling didn't do his homework; he certainly did, otherwise the coaches wouldn't have given him a fair shot to prove his worth. But Appleby seems to have an unrelenting desire to be great.
And it translates to the field.
You could hear it when rising sophomore Danny Anthrop commented on the difference between the two quarterbacks in an interview with BTN.com:
"He takes control of things. He has a lot of confidence and a lot of command in the huddle ... When he's in there and saying stuff, you know it's not fake."That might have been some kind of shot at Etling, but it really just speaks to a night-and-day difference in leadership. Players believe in Austin Appleby in the same way that he believes in them.
Just take a look at the Appleby's numbers in three games as a starter. He's thrown five touchdowns to three interceptions. He's completed 55 of 83 passes (66 percent) of his passes, which is obviously pretty good.
This offense has become explosive, lighting up Michigan State and Minnesota in losses. The next step for the team as it learns to win will be developing a pretty young defense, but for now the offense has shown progress.
I was wrong about you, Mr. Shoop. Now let's forget about that poll, eh?
Note: We'll post several more times throughout the week with thoughts during Purdue's first of two weeks off. The "four downs" posts will be back before Purdue plays at Nebraska next week.