national champs baby
Previewing Purdue's Secondary
Previously, I had discussed the Purdue front seven, Dispelling a Myth: Purdue's Front Seven, I thought I would take a look into the secondary and see if there was anything interesting.
Ricardo Allen is one of the two starting cornerbacks for Purdue. Ricardo is a 5’9” 186 lb junior from Daytona Beach, Florida.
Some of his career highlights include being tied for the all-time record at Purdue for interceptions returned for touchdowns with 3. He started 12 games for Purdue in 2010 as a true freshman and was second team Freshman All-American by Rivals and Scout.com. In 2011 he was a coaches second team and media honorable mention for All-Big Ten.
Here is how he has fared in his 2 years versus Michigan. In 2010 he returned an interception for 94 yards and recorded 8 tackles. In 2011 he didn’t get many chances to intercept the ball as Michigan only threw the ball 17 times. Not throwing a pick to Allen was good, but sadly Michigan did throw 2 interceptions in 2011 to his teammates. Denard and Devin took turns gifting Purdue with 1 interception each.
So far in 2012 Allen has 16 tackles, 1 of those for a loss, 1 interception returned for 39 yards, and 1 broken up pass.
At the other corner position is Josh Johnson. Josh is a 5’11” 195 lb senior from Dade City, Florida.
Some of his career highlights include causing 2 forced fumbles in 2010, he also led the team in passes broken up with 9 and intercepted the ball 2 times in 2011. He was on special teams in 2009 as a freshman and started at cornerback 23 times in 2010 and 2011.
He has done well versus Michigan in the 2 years he has played us at the cornerback spot. In 2010 he intercepted the ball and forced a fumble. In 2011 He had 5 tackles and 1 interception. Let’s try not to make it 3 years in a row this guy gets a pick fergodsakes…
So far in 2012 Johnson has recorded 16 tackles, 1 of those for a loss, has 2 interceptions, 6 passes broken up, and 1 fumble recovery.
Another cornerback to watch for is up and coming redshirt freshman Frankie Williams. Frankie is a 5’9” 186 lb 3 star athlete from Tampa, Florida. He has been impressive this year for the Boilermakers recording the second highest amount of tackles on the team. His 19 tackles, 1 interception, and 2 passes broken up this year should earn him a lot of playing time versus Michigan.
Both of Purdue’s starting cornerbacks have faced Denard Robinson before, and both of them have recorded picks. They know his tendencies and hopefully will not be tested much early on (if at all). All of Purdue’s corners run around a 4.5 second 40 yard, so we won’t have a speed advantage. However, Purdue will give up a lot of size to Gardner and Jackson, so that should make some interesting matchups outside.
While Purdue’s cornerbacks are well experienced with Michigan, their safeties are not. Both are fairly inexperienced overall, and have seen the field very little in starting roles. They are both sophomores and will probably be tested early and often.
Taylor Richards is a 5’10” 192 lb sophomore free safety from Lake Mary, Florida. Richards appeared in 10 games last year as a true freshman, none of which he started, recorded 7 tackles on the season, and saw limited action. Saturday will be the first time Richards has started versus Michigan, so I don’t have any stats for him from last year’s game.
So far in 2012 Richards has recorded 8 tackles, ½ of those for a loss. He also has ½ a sack and 2 passes broken up. Not exactly a game changer so he will surely get picked on. Richards will need to make some big plays early in order to force Michigan to go through the middle of their defense. Without contain on the edges and over the top, Michigan can run around Purdue all day, just as they did last year.
At strong safety the Boilermakers have Landon Feichter. Landon is a 6’0” 189 lb sophomore from Ft. Wayne, Indiana. Landon was a walk on in 2010 that did not see any action and appeared in 13 games in 2011. He did record 25 tackles in 2011, 22 of them solo. This will be the first time Fiechter faces Michigan, so there aren’t any stats to show.
So far in 2012 Feichter has shown some flashes of brilliance, recording 16 tackles, 2 interceptions, and 2 passes broken up. Even with the 2 interceptions, I can see this young player being tested by Borges, anyways. Let’s hope he doesn’t pass.
I am anticipating one of these guys( or maybe both) getting burned for big yardage at least once or twice, due to their inexperience. Feichter’s 2 interceptions are concerning, so there is that. Purdue will need their safeties to step up in their secondary, just as much as their linebackers will have to do the same in their front 7. If the two of those groups underperform (linebackers and safeties) expect an easy game. If those two groups step it up a notch, and create a couple plays, it could get pretty hairy.