11/30/20 Boilermaker Weekly Water Cooler-Round Up!!

A punchy smattering of Purdue snidbits, mashing up the past week of Boilermaker Football and Basketball

Desperate times call for desperate measures. In these uncertain times, where there is significant overlap of both Football and Basketball seasons, I will be combining my weekly columns for multiple reasons.

Reason 1) The ISC Purdue Lean 6 Sigma Department has determined that this is the best, and most efficient way of delivering the must have Purdue news.

Reason 2) My sausage fingers get too fatigued during the typing of multiple articles. The ISC Purdue Human Resources Department has determined this a potential injury risk.

Reason 3) It is unfair to you, our fair readers, to be subjugated to my nonsense for more than one article on Monday mornings. Why ruin the week before it has even started?

None the less, I have always had a strange goal of attending a Purdue football game during the day, and a Purdue game at Mackey Arena at night. Has never happened, and probably will never. I figure that these articles are the closest that I will ever get to this, so just deal with it.

Basketball:

Matt Painter’s squad returned to the hardwood, taking on stiff competition in the first annual Space Ghost Coast to Coast Challenge. Finishing the week 1-1 with a victory over a stout Liberty team and a loss to hyper-athletic Clemson.

Purdue saw the emergence of multiple budding stars within the program as Jaden Ivey, Brandon Newman, and Zach Edey all impressed this week. Being without star guard Eric Hunter, Purdue was needing to rely on preseason All Big-Ten big man Trevion Williams.

Williams, however, hasn’t quite hit his stride yet and struggled these two games.

The Good:

  • Slam it Home, Big Man!: Freshman center Zach Edey is every bit of his billed 7’4″. While an unknown leading into this season, rumors began to surface that Edey was starting to assert himself in practice. I tell you, he looks like a force. In just two games, Edey is averaging 18pts, and looking very athletic doing so. Excited to see how he grows his game going forward.
  • Looks like they can fill it up…: In the absence of Eric Hunter who is out for injury, Brandon Newman and Jaden Ivey have shown flashes of brilliance so far. Averaging 12.5 and 12pts respectively, they are able to fill some of the scoring void left by Hunter. Their dynamic on this team already gives Purdue a new look, as they provide a scoring option that outgoing G/F Nojel Eastern simply did not have the skill set to do. They’re already a tremendous step-up in that regards. Teaming these folks with Hunter will create a dynamic Boilermaker backcourt.
  • He’s one of ours, that’s for sure: You can’t tell by the stat sheet, but the gutsiest performance on the team has been from Ethan Morton. The highly touted freshman has struggling with mono in the preseason and was put on a 10minute cap for the first game. Following news that Jaden Ivey was out for the second game with a minor foot injury, Morton had to step up. He played 25 minutes, notching 5 assists in the process. Big jump going from barely practicing, to a 10 minute “pitch count”, to playing 25 minutes against a highly athletic, high-major basketball team. No wonder Matt Painter praised the freshman following the Clemson game.

Opportunities for Improvement:

  • Need that leader out there: Trevion Williams has worked tremendously hard over the offseason, garnering plenty of preseason accolades. His performance in the Space Ghost Challenge left plenty to be desired. Only averaging 8.5pts is not all Big-Ten worthy. He is still hitting the boards, averaging 9.5 over the two games, but Purdue needs more on the scoring front. Likewise, only playing 21 minutes/game is not optimal considering his experience. Everyone has rough stretches, and hopefully this is just a slow start for the big man.
  • Apple tends to be the most popular…: Type of turnovers. The least popular type of turnovers are the ones which lead to Purdue losing an athletic contest. Through two games Purdue has committed 38 turnovers, averaging 19 per contest.
    • This is more than likely a two fold issue for the Boilers. 1) Purdue was missing their most experienced, and steady guard in Eric Hunter Jr. 2) Purdue relied on inexperienced guards to fill in for him. These types of things happen when you have a young squad. This team will grow out of it.

Football:

Much like Rutgers (2017), Eastern Michigan (2018), Nevada (2019), and now Rutgers (2020), Purdue has now lost a game every season to an opponent in which they have no business losing to.

You know what. Lets be real with ourselves right now. Rutgers is on that list twice now. Maybe it is time to simply say, Rutgers is the better program than Purdue is? They sure do have Jeff Brohm’s number…

I’ve digressed. I guess all I am saying is, Brohm (who is getting paid in the neighborhood $6 some-odd million per year) is providing “baffling losses to Nevada and Eastern Michigan” results. He is providing “can’t beat Rutgers” level of success.

I am not saying that this is the potential end of the line for Coach Brohm. I am not advocating for the removal of him as the head man. Brohm is getting paid far to high for losses like this to continue. He has far too much talent to lose this game. He needs to figure it out.

Jeff Brohm, it is time to put up, or shut up. Don’t just cash the paycheck, earn your money. I am so sick and tired of being a punchline in football. Losses like this are embarrassing, and the buck has to stop somewhere.

What Went Well:

  • HORVATH WARPATH!!: Zander Horvath ended the game with 101 yards on 19 carries, and nabbing a TD. He looked powerful and assertive when running. Shame the coaching staff didn’t stick with him.
  • Double Digit Destruction: Jaylan Alexander tallied 10 tackles, and looked like a force out there for the Boilers. He was one of the few defensive highlights on the night.

Photo Credit: Purdue Athletics

Opportunities for Improvement:

  • Diaco Fiasco: The Purdue defense was incredibly abysmal. The funny thing is that the statistics don’t say it. The eye test does, however. From the first drive onward, I had zero faith that Purdue was going to stop Rutgers once the entire game. The Scarlet Knights converted ten (10)(TEN!) third downs, and held the ball for over ten (10) (TEN!) more minutes of game time that Purdue did. This type performance can absolutely not stand. There is too much talent on this defense for them to produce this poorly.
  • Not so special: For the second week in a row, Purdue’s special teams crapped the bed. This week, the Boilers gave up a 100 yard kickoff return TD, which swung the momentum to Rutgers for good.
  • I just don’t know anymore…: Just like special teams has bitten Purdue two weeks in a row, this week the completely inept Big Ten officiating reared their ugly head, biting the Boilers for the second straight game. A debatable roughing the passer was called on Purdue in which the defender hit the QB before the pass was thrown, but that wasn’t the most egregious. The worst offense this week was Derrick Barnes getting ejected for targeting for (checks notes) hitting someone directly in the chest.
    • Keep in mind that this call didn’t garner a flag on the field. It was only assessed after the play, and it was reviewed. Every week the Big Ten provides a new and interesting way for me to be ashamed for them. Yes ashamed FOR them, because they clearly have no shame.
  • Since when…: Is Jeff Brohm an offensive play calling coward? Why has he gotten so vanilla this season? Did he make a deal with someone behind the scenes that he wasn’t going to utilize the talent on this roster effectively? Two All-Americans on the field at the same time… and he runs a straight QB sweep on a must-have 3rd down in the 4th quarter. Can’t even bully freaking Rutgers around the field. Stop managing risk. Take the risks.
  • You’d think that…: Jeff Brohm would be able to motivate the team following the 2020 Minnesota Screw-Job. You’d think that Brohm would come out guns-freaking-blazing to prove a point. Nope. Brohm is seemingly going through the motions.
  • It is almost like…: Jeff Brohm got his big payday and is now coasting. No need to be creative anymore. His name is good enough to win games now. Hell, he beat Ohio State that one time! Clearly he will beat Rutgers, right? Nevada too! MAC schools!? Piece of cake.
  • The buck stops with…: Jeff Brohm. I believe that he is a tremendous coach. I really do. I believe that he has an incredibly high ceiling. He needs to start showing the ROI on his huge contract. Win freaking games. It doesn’t matter if Diaco can’t coordinate a defense that could stop 11 kittens. I don’t care if Biagi’s coordination efforts are as special as plain rice. They’re Jeff Brohm’s coordinators. The buck stops with him.

Big Man on Campus:

Zach Edey very well might be the literal biggest man on campus. Also, his dunk-a-thon has shown promise for the future. His presence on this squad makes up for the void that Matt Haarms left, and then some. Edey is the future of Purdue big men, and I can’t wait.

Photo Credit: Purdue Athletics

A Look Ahead:

Purdue Basketball plays 2 games this week. Tuesday they play an early afternoon tilt with Oakland. On Friday the Boilermakers play an evening clash with in state foe, Valparaiso. Boilers should be comfortably favored in each of those tilts.

Purdue Football meets Nebraska on Saturday for a nooner. Boilers start the week as a slight favorite. Who knows, maybe Coach Jeff Brohm will give me a reason to believe that?

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About Benjamin Kolodzinski 22 Articles
Blending the passion of a sports fan with years of media experience, Ben Kolodzinski is unique personality for ISC Purdue. Since the 2017-18 NCAA seasons, Ben has written weekly columns for ISC, with a style that can only be described as snarky, irreverent, and often times irrelevant. A 2008 graduate from Purdue West Lafayette, Kolodzinski has worked for several local and regional media outlets. Best known for his television and radio work at Lakeshore Public Media, Kolodzinski helped grow Northwest Indiana's only nightly news show Lakeshore News Tonight, along with The Region's only local sports shows Prep Sports Report, and Prep Football Report. Kolodzinski is known, locally, for having a fun loving and gregarious personality, and for attempting to inject humor into his reporting... sometimes successfully.

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