2013 Purdue football's 10 things to know: Playing it safe

Andrew Weber-US PRESSWIRE

Purdue's hire of new head coach Darrell Hazell was safe and sensible. But with a flawed roster at his disposal and a brutal schedule on tap, we probably won't begin to learn if he was the right hire until at least 2014. For more Boilermakers, visit Hammer and Rails.

Confused? Check out the glossary here.

1. Taking the mannequin home

Darrell Hazell was born in New Jersey. He played college football in Ohio (Muskingum). He has coached in Ohio (Oberlin), Illinois (EIU), Pennslvania (Penn), Michigan (Western Michigan), New York (Army), West Virginia (WVU), New Jersey (Rutgers), Ohio again (Ohio State), and Ohio again (Kent State). He is a Big Ten head coaching mannequin, right down to a "seven years of coaching under Jim Tressel" back story. He likes defense, he likes running, he really likes special teams. He is Big Ten in every possible way, and his hiring makes perfect sense.

It was the safe, sensible hire in every way. I even gave it a B+ last December. But was it the right hire?

There are red flags. Being that coaching hires always have red flags, this shouldn't be surprising. But let's go through some of them:

  • He's been a head coach for two years. At 49, he's been around a while, but he only recently got a chance to succeed. That he brought an 11-win season to a Kent State program that hadn't been good since Jack Lambert and Nick Saban were in uniform certainly suggests he might know what he's doing. But all we really know is that he was able to win a) in a league that doesn't have true heavyweights, and b) mostly with somebody else's players. Winning in your first two years on the job is certainly a valuable skill set, but we have no idea how he will fare as a program builder.

    (Retort: There are plenty of coaches who succeed in a job without head coaching experience or proof of "how he will fare as a program-builder.")

  • Kent State was pretty lucky last year. The Golden Flashes recovered 68 percent of all fumbles in 2012 and picked off about 29 percent of their defensed passes (national average: 21 percent). They were nearly plus-4 points per game in terms of turnover luck, and during their 11-1 start, they won two games by one possession. Going 9-3 in the regular season may not have gotten him as sustained a look from Purdue. (Or, hey, maybe it would have.)

    (Retort: Kent State still improved from 105th in the 2010 F/+ rankings to 48th in 2012, and only a portion of those numbers are impacted by turnovers. A 9-3 season at Kent State would have sttil been an incredible success story.)

  • On average, Ohio State recruits a hell of a lot better than Purdue does. Kent State aside, his biggest draw could be his TresselBall experience. He knows the lay of the land in the Big Ten, and he studied under a known winner in Tressel. But TresselBall works best when your recruiting rankings are superior to those of your opponents and your talent advantage allows you to avoid too many risks. The only guy to win at any high level in West Lafayette in the past three decades, Joe Tiller, brought an innovative offensive scheme to the table in the process.

    (Retort: Barry Alvarez built a winner at Wisconsin while playing a rather risk-averse style of football, and he did so without the same level of recruiting that he experienced as Lou Holtz's defensive coordinator at Notre Dame. Do what you do well, and you'll get somewhere, no matter what you're attempting to do.)

Okay, fine, so we don't actually know yet if Hazell's a good hire, just like we don't know about any 2013 hires yet. What we do know, however, is that Purdue needs help. In the eight seasons for which we have F/+ data, the Boilermakers have been below the Big Ten average seven times, far below in each of the last three under Danny Hope. The record has changed through the years 8-6 in 2006, 4-8 in 2010), but for the most part, the quality of the product has not. Hazell certainly knows what that's like after his experience in Kent.

2012 Schedule & Results

Record: 6-7 | Adj. Record: 6-7 | Final F/+ Rk: 76
Date Opponent Score W-L Adj. Score Adj. W-L
1-Sep Eastern Kentucky 48-6 W 33.8 - 15.8 W
8-Sep at Notre Dame 17-20 L 22.8 - 21.1 W
15-Sep Eastern Michigan 54-16 W 33.3 - 21.6 W
29-Sep Marshall 51-41 W 20.2 - 28.0 L
6-Oct Michigan 13-44 L 16.0 - 27.7 L
13-Oct Wisconsin 14-38 L 19.9 - 42.4 L
20-Oct at Ohio State 22-29 L 26.8 - 19.9 W
27-Oct at Minnesota 28-44 L 27.2 - 45.9 L
3-Nov Penn State 9-34 L 21.9 - 38.5 L
10-Nov at Iowa 27-24 W 32.9 - 21.6 W
17-Nov at Illinois 20-17 W 29.2 - 30.8 L
24-Nov Indiana 56-35 W 39.9 - 28.9 W
1-Jan vs. Oklahoma State 14-58 L 24.0 - 29.4 L
Category Offense Rk Defense Rk
Points Per Game 28.7 65 31.2 88
Adj. Points Per Game 26.8 76 28.6 66

2. Good, bad, average

Purdue faced a rare opportunity in 2012; Ohio State and Penn State were ineligible for the postseason, Wisconsin was rebuilding both its offense and coaching staff, and there was a chance that what we'll call an atypical team could sneak out a trip to the Big Ten title game. It wasn't likely, but it was at least conceivable.

And heading toward October, the Boilermakers actually looked like they might be up for the challenge. They handled bad Eastern Kentucky and Eastern Michigan teams as they should have, and they damn near knocked off Notre Dame in South Bend (a result that would become more impressive as the season unfolded and Notre Dame kept winning).

But when conference play began, the candle blew out pretty quickly.

Adj. Points Per Game (first 3 games): Purdue 30.0, Opponent 19.5 (plus-10.5)
Adj. Points Per Game (next 6 games): Opponent 33.7, Purdue 22.0 (minus-11.7)
Adj. Points Per Game (last 4 games): Purdue 31.5, Opponent 27.7 (plus-3.8)

In October, Purdue was as bad as it was good in September. The offense rallied around hobbled (as in, he tore his ACL but came back to play anyway) quarterback Robert Marve, and the defense improved just enough to allow the Boilermakers to get past bad Iowa, Illinois and Indiana squads and rally for bowl eligibility. It wasn't enough to save Danny Hope's job, and that was probably more than fair, but it was still a nice story ... at least until Purdue got run off the field in the bowl by Oklahoma State.

Offense

Category Yards/
Game Rk
S&P+ Rk Success
Rt. Rk
PPP+ Rk
OVERALL 58 72 98 58
RUSHING 59 79 105 65
PASSING 56 69 72 59
Standard Downs 81 116 53
Passing Downs 63 50 74
Redzone 47 53 44
Q1 Rk 78 1st Down Rk 71
Q2 Rk 88 2nd Down Rk 83
Q3 Rk 59 3rd Down Rk 46
Q4 Rk 38

3. Shoop vs. TresselBall

Close your eyes, and think of the tenets of the stereotypical TresselBall offense. You run the ball, you avoid mistakes, you run the ball some more, and if you have Ted Ginn, Jr., you throw some quick, safe, horizontal passes to him in space. Occasionally you go play action. But the assumed goal of TresselBall is to avoid putting your (probably great) defense into inconvenient situations.

That's not really John Shoop Ball. It will be quite interesting to see how Purdue's offense takes shape in 2013 with Shoop serving as Hazell's offensive coordinator. Shoop ran a pretty good pro-style attack at North Carolina -- 41st or better in Off. F/+ in four of the last five seasons, 20th in 2012 -- with an accurate, if limited, quarterback in Bryn Renner and a run-catch threat in Giovani Bernard. This wasn't a high-risk, high-variance attack, but it wasn't incredibly risk-averse, either.

That's probably a good thing, of course, because Purdue doesn't have the typical Tressel defense at its disposal. Playing it overly safe would just result in closer losses.

4. Wanted: run efficiency

Purdue's offense had its moments in 2012; two of the top three running backs averaged at least 6.0 yards per carry, for instance. The problem, of course, was that the backs didn't get nearly enough open-field opportunities from a below-average line, and the receivers weren't good enough to break open big plays from short passing. That Purdue was forced to play three different quarterbacks because of injuries didn't help, but all three QBs averaged between 10.3 and 10.6 yards per completion (and only one had a decent completion percentage).

There were a lot of issues here, in other words, but Purdue's greatest weakness came in early-down efficiency. The Boilermakers were 116th in Standard Downs Success Rate+, which means that on first-and-10, second-and-short, or third-and-shorter, they were unable to stay ahead of schedule. The run game was particularly unreliable; though Shoop is not in any way a Tressel disciple, he does fancy a good running game, and that's something Purdue didn't really have. Purdue fans complained about a barrage of bubble screens last year, but one can understand why Danny Hope and company didn't trust the run much, even with the big-play capability.

That has to change. The line must replace its two most experienced pieces, but five players with starting experience do return (52 career starts), and losing experienced players from a good line means a lot more than losing them from a mediocre line.

Quarterback

Note: players in bold below are 2013 returnees. Players in italics are questionable with injury/suspension.

Player Ht, Wt 2013
Year
Rivals Comp Att Yards Comp
Rate
TD INT Sacks Sack Rate Yards/
Att.
Robert Marve 166 253 1,734 65.6% 15 5 15 5.6% 6.1
Caleb TerBush


108 189 1,150 57.1% 12 8 10 5.0% 5.4
Rob Henry 6'2, 200 Sr. *** (5.5) 21 38 216 55.3% 3 1 0 0.0% 5.7
Austin Parker 5'11, 202 So. NR 1 1 0 100.0% 0 0 0 0.0% 0.0
Bilal Marshall 6'3, 170 RSFr. *** (5.6)








Austin Appleby 6'5, 235 RSFr. *** (5.5)








Danny Etling 6'3, 215 Fr. **** (5.8)








Running Back

Player Pos. Ht, Wt 2013
Year
Rivals Rushes Yards Yards/
Carry
Hlt Yds/
Carry
TD Adj.
POE
Akeem Shavers RB 181 871 4.8 4.9 6 -1.3
Ralph Bolden RB 54 326 6.0 6.9 0 +7.5
Akeem Hunt RB 5'9, 184 Jr. *** (5.5) 42 335 8.0 15.3 2 +12.6
Caleb TerBush QB 39 144 3.7 2.3 2 -4.7
Rob Henry QB 6'2, 200 Sr. *** (5.5) 28 74 2.6 2.5 1 -6.3
Brandon Cottom RB 6'4, 258 Jr. *** (5.5) 23 209 9.1 9.7 0 +7.3
Robert Gregory RB 6'3, 195 RSFr. *** (5.7)





Dalyn Dawkins RB 5'9, 175 Fr. *** (5.6)





Keyante Green RB 5'9, 190 Fr. *** (5.6)





David Yancey RB 5'11, 205 Fr. *** (5.5)





5. Give the ball to Hunt

For two years, Akeem Hunt has teased us. He's averaged 8.3 yards per carry (in three carries per game) and 14.9 yards per catch (in about one target per game). For an offense bereft of big plays, he seems to have a lot of potential. But for one reason or another -- blocking issues, fumbling problems in practice, frail frame, other -- he just hasn't gotten many opportunities.

That could change in 2013. Not only is Shoop likely to call more runs than his predecessor, but both Akeem Shavers and Ralph Bolden are gone. Hunt and big Brandon Cottom are the only returnees who got carries last season, and while there are some interesting youngsters entering the rotation, one has to figure that Hunt will get as many touches as he can handle this fall. That's a very good thing. He's exciting, and this offense needs some excitement. He could be this offense's Dri Archer.

In theory, Hunt and Cottom could form a decent thunder-and-lightning combo of sorts, and if they're effective, they could do their passing game some serious favors. Quarterback Rob Henry has shown potential through the years, but injuries and inconsistency have prevented any serious progress. Meanwhile, the top two pass targets are gone; that would mean more if Antavian Edison and O.J. Ross had averaged better than 7.1 and 5.9 yards per target, respectively, of course. They're replaceable, but that doesn't mean somebody in this particular receiving corps is capable of replacing them. The three returning receivers who were targeted at least five times last year (Gary Bush, Dolapo Macarthy, Gabe Holmes) combined to average an awful 5.4 yards per target in 2012.

Receiving Corps

Player Pos. Ht, Wt 2013
Year
Rivals Targets Catches Yards Catch Rate Yds/
Target
Target
Rate
%SD Real Yds/
Target
RYPR
Antavian Edison WR 92 58 652 63.0% 7.1 20.2% 55.4% 7.0 76.7
O.J. Ross WR


81 56 474 69.1% 5.9 17.8% 63.0% 5.9 55.7
Gary Bush WR 6'0, 185 Sr. *** (5.5) 67 41 385 61.2% 5.7 14.7% 55.2% 5.7 45.3
Dolapo Macarthy WR 6'5, 220 Jr. *** (5.7) 42 28 260 66.7% 6.2 9.2% 61.9% 6.2 30.6
Gabe Holmes TE 6'5, 247 Sr. *** (5.6) 39 25 158 64.1% 4.1 8.6% 59.0% 4.1 18.6
Crosby Wright TE 38 22 283 57.9% 7.4 8.4% 57.9% 7.4 33.3
Akeem Shavers RB 26 18 350 69.2% 13.5 5.7% 76.9% 12.9 41.2
Akeem Hunt RB 5'9, 184 Jr. *** (5.5) 20 13 204 65.0% 10.2 4.4% 55.0% 10.3 24.0
Brandon Cottom RB 6'4, 258 Jr. *** (5.5) 9 7 79 77.8% 8.8 2.0% 77.8% 7.4 9.3
Rob Henry QB 6'2, 200 Sr. *** (5.5) 9 6 57 66.7% 6.3 2.0% 55.6% 6.3 6.7
Justin Sinz TE 6'4, 251 Jr. ** (5.3) 4 4 48 100.0% 12.0 0.9% 25.0% 8.7 5.6
Charles Torwudzo WR 6'4, 223 Jr. *** (5.6) 4 2 19 50.0% 4.8 0.9% 25.0% 5.8 2.2
Danny Anthrop WR 6'0, 180 So. *** (5.6) 1 1 25 100.0% 25.0 0.2% 100.0% 15.1 2.9
Carlos Carvajal TE 6'7, 244 RSFr. **** (5.8)








B.J. Knauf WR 5'10, 180 RSFr. *** (5.6)








Cameron Posey WR 6'2, 180 RSFr. *** (5.5)








Offensive Line

Category Adj.
Line Yds
Std.
Downs
LY/carry
Pass.
Downs
LY/carry
Opp.
Rate
Power
Success
Rate
Stuff
Rate
Adj.
Sack Rate
Std.
Downs
Sack Rt.
Pass.
Downs
Sack Rt.
Team 98.1 2.84 3.13 39.0% 75.0% 19.1% 106.2 2.5% 8.6%
Rank 78 83 71 64 27 66 59 21 95
Player Pos. Ht, Wt 2013
Year
Rivals Career Starts/Honors/Notes
Peters Drey LG 33 career starts
Rick Schmeig C 29 career starts
Trevor Foy RT 6'7, 300 Sr. ** (5.4) 17 career starts
Justin Kitchens RT 6'4, 294 Sr. ** (5.3) 13 career starts
Kevin Pamphile LT 6'5, 300 Sr. ** (4.9) 9 career starts
Robert Kugler C 6'3, 280 So. *** (5.5) 7 career starts
Devin Smith LG 6'7, 320 Sr. *** (5.7) 6 career starts
Cody Davis RG 6'5, 286 Sr. ** (5.3)
Josh Davis LT 6'5, 300 Jr. ** (5.4)
Jordan Roos LG 6'5, 305 RSFr. *** (5.6)
J.J. Prince C 6'6, 275 RSFr. *** (5.5)
Cameron Cermin RG 6'5, 300 RSFr. *** (5.5)
Jason King OL 6'4, 305 RSFr. ** (5.4)

Defense

Category Yards/
Game Rk
S&P+ Rk Success
Rt. Rk
PPP+ Rk
OVERALL 77 69 71 66
RUSHING 79 77 96 58
PASSING 63 51 45 56
Standard Downs 78 78 82
Passing Downs 53 72 44
Redzone 57 61 56
Q1 Rk 61 1st Down Rk 75
Q2 Rk 65 2nd Down Rk 58
Q3 Rk 80 3rd Down Rk 68
Q4 Rk 66

6. Wanted: run efficiency

Purdue had a pretty active front four last season; starting linemen combined for a solid 34 tackles for loss, and as you see below, the Boilermakers ranked a solid 33rd in Stuff Rate (run stops behind the line). The problem was that if they weren't making a tackle behind the line, they were probably making it about nine yards downfield.

Like the offense, the Purdue defense was terribly inefficient on the ground, allowing quite a few good plays for every play it made. Purdue was decent to average in most categories, but run efficiency was a constant issue, one that simply must change. That six of the top seven linemen and three of five linebackers return could be a good thing, but the talent to make stops has to be there, too. We'll see what defensive coordinator Greg Hudson is able to figure out in his first year.

Hudson, previously linebackers coach at Florida State, was another telling hire, albeit one with midwestern ties (he went to school at Notre Dame and served five years as Glen Mason's defensive coordinator at Minnesota). Hazell is, as much as possible, basically installing a "pro-style attack" (whatever that term does for you) on both sides of the ball. That works just fine as long as you have pro-style talent. Purdue probably doesn't in 2013.

Defensive Line

Category Adj.
Line Yds
Std.
Downs
LY/carry
Pass.
Downs
LY/carry
Opp.
Rate
Power
Success
Rate
Stuff
Rate
Adj.
Sack Rate
Std.
Downs
Sack Rt.
Pass.
Downs
Sack Rt.
Team 100.9 3.00 2.91 41.7% 76.9% 21.8% 85.4 4.3% 5.4%
Rank 57 78 35 99 114 33 85 71 82
Name Pos Ht, Wt 2013
Year
Rivals GP Tackles % of Team TFL Sacks Int PBU FF FR
Kawann Short DT 13 39.0 5.3% 15.5 7 0 4 1 2
Ryan Russell DE 6'5, 275 Jr. ** (5.4) 13 33.0 4.5% 8.5 4 0 1 0 1
Bruce Gaston DT 6'2, 303 Sr. *** (5.7) 13 23.5 3.2% 5.5 0 0 0 2 2
Jalani Phillips DE 6'4, 260 Jr. ** (5.2) 13 21.0 2.9% 4.5 2 0 0 0 1
Ryan Isaac DE 6'5, 294 Sr. *** (5.6) 12 10.5 1.4% 0 0 0 2 0 0
Greg Latta DE 6'6, 265 Sr. *** (5.5) 13 10.0 1.4% 1 1 0 1 0 0
Brandon Taylor DT 6'1, 295 Sr. ** (5.3) 9 10.0 1.4% 1.5 0.5 0 0 0 0
Eric Mebane DE 2 2.0 0.3% 1 1 0 0 0 0
Michael Rouse III DT 6'4, 295 So. *** (5.5) 9 2.0 0.3% 0 0 0 0 0 0
Ryan Watson DT 6'3, 294 So. **** (5.8) 9 1.5 0.2% 0 0 0 0 0 0

7. A Kawann-sized hole

The one loss up front is a pretty big one. Kawann Short was probably the source of quite a bit of Purdue's run inefficiency -- he was a bit of a risk-taker, at least when I was watching -- but his stats were still great. If you're leading your team in tackles for loss and sacks from the tackle position, and if you're batting down four passes to boot, you're doing something right. In Bruce Gaston, Purdue still has an experienced play-maker in the middle, but Gaston was always a complement to Short; now he's the main man.

As a linebackers guy, Hudson probably can't be incredibly pleased with what he inherited there. Will Lucas is certainly serviceable on the weakside, but the depth is questionable at best, and last year's linebacking corps was in no way impressive against either the run or the pass. And the five returnees who saw the field last year combined for a single sack.

Linebackers

Name Pos Ht, Wt 2013
Year
Rivals GP Tackles % of Team TFL Sacks Int PBU FF FR
Will Lucas WLB 5'11, 230 Sr. *** (5.5) 13 60.0 8.2% 6.5 0 1 1 3 2
Joe Gilliam MLB 6'1, 227 Jr. *** (5.6) 13 49.0 6.7% 2.5 1 0 1 1 0
Robert Maci SLB 13 31.5 4.3% 6.5 2 0 1 2 1
Antwon Higgs MLB 13 22.5 3.1% 1 0 0 2 0 0
Sean Robinson WLB 6'3, 240 Sr. *** (5.7) 13 22.5 3.1% 0.5 0 0 3 0 0
Nnamdi Ezenwa SLB 13 19.0 2.6% 3 1 0 1 1 0
Armstead Williams SLB 6'3, 223 So. *** (5.5) 11 7.5 1.0% 0 0 0 0 0 0
Ruben Ibarra MLB 6'1, 225 Sr. *** (5.6) 1 2.0 0.3% 0 0 0 0 0 0
Andy James Garcia SLB 6'0, 220 RSFr. *** (5.6)








Secondary

Name Pos Ht, Wt 2013
Year
Rivals GP Tackles % of Team TFL Sacks Int PBU FF FR
Landon Feichter SS 6'0, 189 Jr. NR 13 67.0 9.1% 2 0 4 3 0 0
Josh Johnson CB 13 62.0 8.4% 3 1 3 16 3 1
Taylor Richards FS 5'10, 192 Jr. *** (5.6) 13 47.0 6.4% 0.5 0.5 0 6 0 0
Ricardo Allen CB 5'9, 186 Sr. *** (5.7) 13 43.5 5.9% 4 1 1 4 0 0
Frankie Williams CB 5'9, 186 So. *** (5.7) 13 40.5 5.5% 1 0 2 9 0 0
Max Charlot SS 13 30.5 4.1% 1 0 1 3 0 0
E.J. Johnson FS 6'1, 185 Jr. *** (5.6) 8 12.0 1.6% 2 0 0 1 0 1
Normondo Harris CB 6'0, 180 Sr. ** (5.3) 5 8.0 1.1% 0 0 0 0 0 0
Antoine Lewis CB 5'10, 193 Jr. *** (5.5) 12 7.5 1.0% 0 0 2 2 0 0
Anthony Brown DB 5'11, 185 So. *** (5.6) 10 5.0 0.7% 0 0 0 0 0 0
Ashkan Mizani SS 6'0, 200 RSFr. NR
TyVel Jemison DB 5'10, 175 Fr. *** (5.7)
Leroy Clark DB 5'10, 169 Fr. *** (5.6)
Da'Wan Hunte DB 5'10, 185 Fr. *** (5.6)






8. Depth vs. star power

Only six players defensed more passes than Josh Johnson's 19 last year; the corner threw in three tackles for loss and three forced fumbles in one of the most statistically impressive cornerback performances in the country last year. He was small but feisty, and he was one of the primary reasons why Purdue's overall Passing S&P+ ranking (51st) was decent despite a minimal pass rush. He's gone, but just about everybody else returns in 2013. Frankie Williams is pretty intriguing, having defensed 11 passes as a freshman, and Antoine Lewis defensed four in minimal playing time. Plus, Landon Feichter is a nice back-line defender, even if he was a bit lucky with the picks last year (typically, you intercept one pass for every four passes broken up). There are ball skills to go around in this secondary despite Johnson's departure; it is easily the least-worrisome unit on this defense in 2013.

Special Teams

Punter Ht, Wt 2013
Year
Punts Avg TB FC I20 FC/I20
Ratio
Cody Webster 6'1, 210 Sr. 70 42.3 7 20 29 70.0%
Kicker Ht, Wt 2013
Year
Kickoffs Avg TB TB%
Thomas Meadows 6'1, 180 So. 70 58.9 12 17.1%
Place-Kicker Ht, Wt 2013
Year
PAT FG
(0-39)
Pct FG
(40+)
Pct
Sam McCartney 6'4, 215 So. 28-31 5-7 71.4% 0-0 0.0%
Paul Griggs 6'1, 200 So. 16-18 2-3 66.7% 2-4 50.0%
Returner Pos. Ht, Wt 2013
Year
Returns Avg. TD
Akeem Hunt KR 5'9, 184 Jr. 39 22.2 1
Raheem Mostert KR 5'11, 180 Jr. 18 25.7 0
Josh Johnson PR 9 3.0 0
Frankie Williams PR 5'9, 186 So. 8 1.4 0
Category Rk
Special Teams F/+ 74
Net Punting 72
Net Kickoffs 109
Touchback Pct 110
Field Goal Pct 91
Kick Returns Avg 42
Punt Returns Avg 117

9. Kent State was masterful on special teams

Hazell certainly inherited a potentially favorable situation at Kent State. He inherited Dri Archer and Trayion Durham, and he inherited a mostly competent defense as well. But in the four years preceding Hazell's arrival in Kent, the Golden Flashes ranked 98th, 119th, 77th, and 101st in Special Teams F/+. When you're a constant underdog, stinking on special teams is a serious missed opportunity. In Hazell's first season, Kent State improved to 52nd; in 2012, the Golden Flashes were second. They derived an extreme field position and points advantage from the special teams department; in Hunt, Hazell does have an Archer-esque kick return threat (though Raheem Mostert might be even better in that role), but otherwise special teams were mostly lacking last fall, especially in terms of kickoffs and coverage. Expect improvement, but probably not too much improvement, in Year 1.

2013 Schedule & Projection Factors

2013 Schedule
Date Opponent Proj. Rk
31-Aug at Cincinnati 26
7-Sep Indiana State NR
14-Sep Notre Dame 13
21-Sep at Wisconsin 16
28-Sep Northern Illinois 39
12-Oct Nebraska 21
19-Oct at Michigan State 18
2-Nov Ohio State 10
9-Nov Iowa 44
16-Nov at Penn State 24
23-Nov Illinois 94
30-Nov at Indiana 62
Five-Year F/+ Rk 72
Two-Year Recruiting Rk 46
TO Margin/Adj. TO Margin* -2 / -1.1
TO Luck/Game -0.4
Approx. Ret. Starters (Off. / Def.) 13 (5, 8)
Yds/Pt Margin** +0.7

10. Good luck

In terms of overall quality, Hazell's first Purdue team will probably be comparable to Jerry Kill's third in Minnesota. But wow, what a difference a schedule makes. Whereas Minnesota could start the season 5-0 with a Top 60-70 squad, Purdue could start 1-7 with a Top 40-50 squad. By the time Ohio State comes to town on November 2, the Boilermakers will have already hosted two projected top-25 teams (Notre Dame, Nebraska) and visited three top-30 teams on the road (Cincinnati, Wisconsin, Michigan State). As with last season, there are wins to be found in November (Iowa, Illinois, at Indiana), but if Purdue is going to reach a bowl, it has to figure out a way to score at least one upset, possibly two (depending on how good Northern Illinois is). That might be a lot to ask.

In Darrell Hazell, Purdue made an incredibly safe hire. Lucky or not, Hazell oversaw a miracle run in 2012, and he's got all the midwestern ties you could possibly want. But is Purdue squad is probably flawed in too many damning ways to survive this schedule, and we probably won't learn a lot about Hazell's potential until 2014.

But seriously, give Akeem Hunt the damn ball.

More from SB Nation:

Six current players taking on the NCAA

Loads of SEC Media Days coverage, live from Hoover

EA Sports to keep using real college names in video games

Projecting every 2013 college football conference race

National recruiting coverage

Today’s college football news headlines

Latest News

In This Article

Teams
Players
X
Log In Sign Up

forgot?
Log In Sign Up

Please choose a new SB Nation username and password

As part of the new SB Nation launch, prior users will need to choose a permanent username, along with a new password.

Your username will be used to login to SB Nation going forward.

I already have a Vox Media account!

Verify Vox Media account

Please login to your Vox Media account. This account will be linked to your previously existing Eater account.

Please choose a new SB Nation username and password

As part of the new SB Nation launch, prior MT authors will need to choose a new username and password.

Your username will be used to login to SB Nation going forward.

Forgot password?

We'll email you a reset link.

If you signed up using a 3rd party account like Facebook or Twitter, please login with it instead.

Forgot password?

Try another email?

Almost done,

By becoming a registered user, you are also agreeing to our Terms and confirming that you have read our Privacy Policy.

Join SBNation.com

You must be a member of SBNation.com to participate.

We have our own Community Guidelines at SBNation.com. You should read them.

Join SBNation.com

You must be a member of SBNation.com to participate.

We have our own Community Guidelines at SBNation.com. You should read them.

Spinner.vc97ec6e

Authenticating

Great!

Choose an available username to complete sign up.

In order to provide our users with a better overall experience, we ask for more information from Facebook when using it to login so that we can learn more about our audience and provide you with the best possible experience. We do not store specific user data and the sharing of it is not required to login with Facebook.