Well, that was sure as hell disappointing, wasn’t it? I admit I made a fairy tale prediction, because I bought into Hazell (still do), but it didn’t work out that way. Now we move on to look at the 2014 campaign. What weapons are the Boilermakers looking at for next year? Can Hazell’s first recruiting class fix the problems on defense?
Luckily for Purdue, they are going to be returning almost all skilled players on offense, including Gabe Holmes who was granted a medical red-shirt. Also back will be Hunt and Cottom, who I am hoping are more of a thunder-lightning combination I thought they would be this year. As for the OL, I predict there will be an immediate impact by recruit Kirk Barron ad Denzel Ward, and I think maybe a second year in Bridge’s system will also help. I just think that maybe the older guys were struggling with the scheme. Luckily, the problems with the OL can be fixed over the offseason. I think Bridge just threw too much at the boys at one time, but they did get better as the season went along. I look for Etling to breakout more, have better footwork and better understanding of the game, as he will be the starter in the spring and not 3rd on the depth chart. I also look for Etling to do better about not holding the ball as long, which killed us at times.
On the defensive side of the ball…I don’t even know how to look in to this crazy crystal ball. It will all initially depend on if Hudson stays 3-4, reverts back to 4-3, or goes hybrid and switches back and forth, throwing a gigantic monkey wrench into the whole thing. Either way, we lose some terrific talent in Gaston and Allen, two guys that showed up and played hard on every play, at every time in their careers. Russell is going into his senior season and is looking to make the most of it. I look for Big Dog, Part Deux - Gelen Robinson - to play a major role in rebuilding a depleted and suffering line backing corps if Hudson stays at 3-4, or another addition to the den of defensive ends if it’s 4-3. Who knows where he will play! We will see when he gets on campus. As far as defensive back and safety, Purdue returns a lot of depth. However losing Allen will be big shoes for someone to fill.
|I see this young man having a bright future and immediate impact|
This is my up-in-the-air section. I have no clue what could happen here. I will predict that everyone will be back next season. Frankly, if Hazell was going to fire anyone, it would have happened by now. I agree with the decision to keep everyone. It’s hard for Hazell to evaluate his coaching staff with the forth-toughest schedule in the nation, along with it being hard for your players to get everything down correctly. However, I do see that if things don’t drastically improve next season, there will be mid-season changes.
As we look to next season, there are many bright spots in the future of this program that is currently under a very dark cloud. 19 freshman played/started at one time or another for this program. That is a lot of experience that will pay out in the end. Keep the faith folks.