Purdue: the Good, the Bad(ish), the Ugly and the Gratifying

Submitted by Eye of the Tiger on October 29th, 2011 at 3:03 PM


The Good:

1. The defense.  Aside from the opening drive, it was an impressive performance from top to bottom.  I think it’s safe to say that the unit has improved more than anyone could have reasonably expected, given last year.  The secondary did a great job making up for Kovacs' absence.  

2. Denard’s passing.  INT also aside, he threw the ball accurately and confidently.

3. The safety.  It’s always a pleasure to see your team score one of these rarities.  

4. Fitz.  This was a breakout performance.  Borges put him in a great position to succeed, and he executed.  I’m not sure why we didn’t see more of him against MSU, because it does look like he’s our best tailback.  I'm looking forward to seeing more of him in the coming weeks.

The Bad(ish):

1. The opening drive.  I feel I’m stretching to find things to criticize, but for the first 2 minutes of the game, things didn’t look good.  I had flashbacks to 2009 when this happened.  Thankfully it was just one drive, and when everything was said and done, our team looked more 2006 than 2009. 

2. Putting Gardner in for random plays when the game was still in question.  I know others feel differently, and I’m open to being convinced that I’m wrong, but I just don’t get it.  Yes, he’s immensely talented, and will eventually make an excellent starting QB, but Denard is currently our best QB and the engine that makes our offense go.  The INT play seemed particuarly odd, given Denard's 60-yard completion. I felt better about Borges putting Gardner in short-yardage situations (when his size can be impactful) and in garbage time (when he can get experience).  It upset me early on when the score was close, but when all was said and done, it wasn’t all that consequential, and he had some good plays later.

The Ugly:

1. Injuries on the O-line.   It was bad when Barnum came out, and worse when it Lewan started limping.  Here’s hoping for speedy recoveries, both for their sakes (always hate seeing anyone get injured) and for the team's: we have limited depth on the O-line, and we need good performances from our O-line in the very-winnable-but-potentially-difficult games against Iowa and Illinois coming up. 

The Gratifying:

1. After all his ridiculousness during the RR era, the fact that we really beat the snot out of Danny Hope’s team.

2. Winning a conference game against someone other than 2011 Minnesota in [edit: such] convincing fashion.  The last time that happened was against an actually pretty good 2008 version of Minnesota. 

3. Securing a winning season for the second year in a row.  There was once a time when getting a seventh win wouldn’t have excited me like it does now, but after reading “Three and Out” and reliving all the crushing losses from 2008 and 2009, and knowing how they impacted the players and coaching staff, it feels great to reach this milestone, even if it is just a small step on the road back to glory.  Congrats to Hoke, his staff and all our players.   




October 29th, 2011 at 3:50 PM ^

while its great to win ANY game, Purdue is just bad. 

And we have lots of injuries piling up...


And we have very very tough games to play yet.

Its very possible we could lose all of our remaining games. 

The best team we played rolled us.



I enjoy all wins...but we need to have some perspective here too.


October 29th, 2011 at 3:54 PM ^

We didn't exactly get rolled by MSU, but whatever.  As long as injuries don't pile up we should win at least 2 of the remaining 4 games... 

If I had told you we would be 7-1 at this point before the season started, would you have been disappointed?  We won convincingly, enjoy it.



October 29th, 2011 at 3:53 PM ^

Looked good on both sides of the ball and outside of a fluke play on the opening drive and a questional PI call on the last drive, probably would've shut Purdue out.

Not so sure about DG in at QB outside of select situations to keep the defense guessing, but I'm willing to trust Borges knows what he's doing.

Also, I must protest the lack of Fitzy two weeks ago. Dude was a beast today. Cutbacks, bursts, breaking tackles, he did it all.


October 29th, 2011 at 4:22 PM ^

This game will give the team confidence that this season will not end up like the previous two. The defense is by far the most improve unit this year. They should continue to improve!

The offense will improve if we keep the running game going. DROB needs to run or throw the ball away if he is not confident in making the pass. We cannot average 2 interceptions against the remainder of our schedule.

Overall, I'm very pleased with the progress of the team and I think we'll win at least two if not three more games!


October 29th, 2011 at 4:27 PM ^

That was the best game they had all year defending the perimeter I thought, bodes well for the rest of the year.

Even though they gave up that long TD the rest of the game was pretty damn ineffective for Purdue.


October 29th, 2011 at 5:04 PM ^

don't worry guys I have class on mondays and wendsdays with lewan, i'll report back on any limping, paying attention in class if for losers anyways.  Also under center worked today and it made me happy.

Steve T

October 29th, 2011 at 5:06 PM ^

I was pretty pleased with his play today.  He has really improved from the beginning of the season and I am excited to have him over the next four years.  I will be interested to see how he grades out in the UFR.

El Jeffe

October 29th, 2011 at 5:35 PM ^

I'm coming around to the I-form stuff, except the waggle still isn't working, and I don't like our running out of it on short yardage. The sneak was good, and even the zone stretch out of the I-form on one of the first plays of the game was nice. But in short yardage I'd rather let Denard do his thang. That goal line stand gave me Illinois flashbacks, which is not Borges's fault, but still.

Eye of the Tiger

October 29th, 2011 at 8:17 PM ^

Who both had fantastic games, and played beyond their years.  Purdue might not be Wisconsin, but they have a decent perimeter attack, and we stuffed it.  Ryan and Morgan were instrumental in that.  


October 29th, 2011 at 8:30 PM ^

The Good:

1.  Thinking about next year's option offense.  Denard, Devin, Fitz, and Vince all bring their own type of big play ability.  Fred Jackson says: "It's like Pat White, Vince Young, Tyrone Wheatley, and Inspector Gadget in the backfield at once, only faster."

Add Stephen Hopkins really adopting the true option fullback role, and the young talent Michigan has in Rawls and Hayes, and I think they sure to have as explosive a backfield as any team in the nation.

2.  Fitz specifically.  He may still be trying to put it all together, but he looks like a special talent to me.  He gets to the line with a lot of momentum, has good change of direction which he uses well to set up blockers, has good burst, and his balance is phenomenal.


The Bad:

1.  Ricky Barnum and Taylor Lewan's injuries.  I gotta imagine Lewan's gonna be dinged up for the rest of the regular season.  Lucky for us, he's a tough bastard.  Ricky Barnum's quick exit was not so lucky.  This line is razor thin and getting increasingly rickety.  Even more immediate is the performance of Omaneh.  He looks like a monster out there, but he also looks indecisive and well behind the pace of the rest of the offense.


The Just About What I Expected:

1.  Everything.