The "All-American" Marching Band (photo by Purdue University)

Monday Morning Quarterback: Nebraska at Purdue

The Purdue All-American Marching Band is billed as the “Pride of Purdue”. There certainly was no question that the halftime show was the only decent performance on the field Saturday. Let’s compare (credit for the idea goes to Chris Ford, proprietor of All My Sports Teams Suck)

Purdue band Category Purdue football
0 Sacks allowed 5
0 Penalties 7
0 Opp. 3rd down conversions 11
0 Points scored in first 59:20 -2
1 Kelly Clarkson songs played 0

I think you get the point. At least the hordes of Nebraska fans who descended on Ross-Ade Stadium (and believe me, there were many) had nice weather for their trip. It really is tough to come up with nice things to say about this game from a Purdue perspective. Even Cody Webster’s punt game was off.

The defense, while collecting three turnovers, looked pretty terrible. Even the painful bad Nebraska passing game could do what Purdue opponents do: convert third-and-long into an easy first down. Despite changes to personnel and scheme, we still saw plenty of missed tackles, soft coverage, and general ineffectiveness.

Nebraska’s defense has been pretty bad this year, too, but you couldn’t tell from watching the game. I was shocked to hear that Danny Etling was only sacked five times. Sure, he held on to the ball way too much, so some of those sacks are on him. The offensive line looked like the world’s worst Red Rover team, allowing the entire Nebraska defense VIP access to the backfield. DeAngelo Yancey had something like 146 receiving yards, but when the team crosses midfield twice over the course of the entire game, it doesn’t really matter.

I’m beginning to think we have a coaching problem. Darrell Hazell has certainly found Danny Hope’s notebook labeled “How to blow sunshine”. After the first five games, it was too much to expect this team to win on Saturday, but we might have expected something more than the most expensive scrimmage Nebraska has ever played. I really don’t get the “line up, hope the defense get penalized and if they don’t, call timeout and punt” play we saw several times. This team is 1-5 and on the way to a third straight 30+ point loss. If you’re ever going to go for it on 4th and short, now is the time. Then again, the one fake punt we did get to witness served only as a reminder of why Rob Henry isn’t the quarterback.

If Danny Hope were still coaching, I’m not convinced the results would be much different right now. Maybe he would have found a way to lose the Indiana State game so that Purdue could have a chance at an un-feated season. Still, this is quite likely to be the worst football season in living memory. You can expect our Boilers to be double-digit underdogs in each of the remaining six games, and possibly against the bye week, too. (Recall that in the last bye week, Purdue had two players suspended after a combined $40 in retail theft.) It’s not time to give up on Darrell Hazell yet — plenty of successful coaches had awful starts in the Big Ten — just don’t expect to see much this year.