Rants, ravings, and somewhat sensical opinions following the wild, wacky, and wide-wide world of Purdue sports.
About 600 years BC, a storyteller walked the earth. Wise in his fables, the man named Aesop weaved stories which enlightened his listeners, and instructed the masses for millennia.
While I have taken a shining to some of his stories, one of which seemed particularly apt this week. This story is called the North Wind and the Sun.
The story is as follows:
The North Wind and the Sun were disputing which was the stronger, when a traveler came along wrapped in a warm cloak. They agreed that the one who first succeeded in making the traveler take his cloak off should be considered stronger than the other. Then the North Wind blew as hard as he could, but the more he blew the more closely did the traveler fold his cloak around him; and at last the North Wind gave up the attempt. Then the Sun shined out warmly, and immediately the traveler took off his cloak. And so the North Wind was obliged to confess that the Sun was the stronger of the two.https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_North_Wind_and_the_Sun
No matter how hard the wind blows, the radiant energy will eventually prevail.
Now this theory doesn’t help a pass-heavy offense on the football field, really. Clearly the wind helped tip the scales on Saturday. It wasn’t all that caused another disappointing Purdue defeat, but rest assured, Boilermaker Faithful, the sun will continue to rise.
If it doesn’t… well, Saturday’s disgusting football performance is the least of our worries.
The Game: Iowa Hawkeyes 24, Purdue 3
While the weather didn’t help on Saturday, the most significant aspect of this Purdue lost was the overabundance of apathy, malaise, and lethargic effort against another opponent that the Boilers should have beaten.
Purdue curled into the fetal position against the vaunted Iowa Hawkeye defense, scoring only 3 points, and barely threatening all afternoon. Five turnovers (two interceptions and 3 on downs), and a less than impressive 255 yards of total offense was not the best laid plan for winning a football game.
Purdue curled into a fetal position against the “vaunted” Iowa… OFFENSE as well.
Heisman candidate Extensively struggling QB Spencer Petras diced the Purdue defense through the air, despite 50 mile per hour winds. He threw for 192 yards and 2 touchdowns, which is a breakout performance for him, despite the poor weather conditions. Purdue showed no signs of life on the defensive end, allowing TD plays of 16, 29, and 75 yards respectively.
Break It Down:
Something is wrong with the Purdue football program right now. Two games in a row, in which Purdue has been primed to take a stranglehold on the Big Ten West, playing teams that they were (at worst) equally matched up with, and put up an incredibly passionless fight. When the games get more important, the passion should rise.
I am not sure why the mojo is off here. Injuries are a thing, for sure. Perhaps there are some things behind the scenes which are causing a morale issue, a disconnect, or some sort of discontent. I don’t want to speculate on any rumors. All I know is that things are broken, and need to be fixed quickly.
The thing is, pretty much every year under Brohm, there have been times and moments in which the team has appeared to be a sinking ship. Every season, Brohm seems to be able to pull them out of the funk. Hopefully this is the case.
The Sun Will Rise Once Again:
The dawning of a new Basketball season is upon us, as Matt Painter’s squad is going to have a new look this year.
The 2021-22 season saw one of the most physically talented Purdue basketball teams. Losing the likes of Jaden Ivey, Trevion Williams, Sasha Stefanovic, and Eric Hunter, some familiar faces are no longer gracing the hardwood of Mackey Arena.
Last season was a trip… but not always the best trip. Purdue was so talented, that they were favored in almost every game. Turnovers and defensive lapses hurt the team, and although they won 29 games and made it to the sweet 16, every game seemed like a panic attack. Games which they should have won by 20 were only by 5. Games which they should have won by 50 were only by 15. Boilers lost multiple games by buzzer beaters, banked shots, and statistically implausible performances. The ups and downs of last season were as thrilling as they were nauseating at times. Clearly I will take a campaign in which Purdue is ranked #1 and has a deep run in the NCAA tournament every single year, no doubt. In my lifetime, last year’s team was probably top 5 in the list of best Purdue teams. Incredible talent, that was undone by defensive lapses and turnovers.
The 2022-2023 basketball season provides opportunity for the Boilers to soften the edges of some of the outliers from last year. Gone are some of the superstars, but the door opens for others to take their place.
Preseason All-American Zach Edey and Mason Gillis return as starters. They will be flanked by Caleb Furst and RS Freshman Trey Kauffman Renn. Purdue’s frontcourt should be a valuable weapon and strength for the team. The second line will provide a change of pace, and mismatch opportunities with their athleticism and ability to stretch at the 4 and 5 position. Camden Heide provides a 3-4 style player in the system, with tremendous athleticism and shooting ability. 7’2″ Will Berg will redshirt this season following a hand injury which will delay his development. The center from Sweden looks to be a type of big man that Purdue is not used to, the hybrid stretch 5, known equally for his shooting ability and formidable post presence.
The backcourt will be led by newcomers. Freshmen Braden Smith and Fletcher Loyer, will see significant minutes, if not starting spots. Utah transfer David Jenkins Jr. will provide experience and scoring aptitude. Brandon Newman will finally have an opportunity to shine as his skillset and leadership will be sorely needed. Swiss Army Knife type players in Ethan Morton and Brian Waddell will be able to fill in positions 1-3, if not even a small ball 4. While the backcourt is a question mark for the Purdue squad this season, the talent is there to be able to round into a strength of the team.
The double edged sword of this team is the lack of a second superstar type of player. Zach Edey will be a huge force in the front court. The best teams normally have a second and third option who can get a bucket when needed. Who will fill that role? Does that role need to be ‘filled’?
The best part of the way that this team is constructed is that there are 10 players deep that would not surprise me if they would score in double digits. There are options. What is most important for the advancement of this team is the team’s willingness to buy in to the defensive philosophy, and take care of the ball. With a young back court, that could be a concern.
None the less, the expectations for this team are much lower than in year’s past. That is ok. At this point, Purdue is under the radar for the rest of the Big Ten. That is a dangerous place to be slotted with all of the talent on this roster.
A Look Ahead:
Purdue football will take on the F’ing Illini for a Nooner in Champaign on Saturday. As of the writing of this article, Illinois is about a touchdown favorite. Surprisingly, the winner of this game has the inside track to win the Big Ten West.
The Basketball team opens up action on Tuesday against Milwaukee at Mackey Arena. Purdue is a huge favorite in the game.
This is one of my favorite times of the year! Both Purdue basketball and football in the same week! Lets enjoy it!
Purdue-Iowa Photo Recap by Dave Wegiel:
Purdue-Truman State Photos by Mark Elsner:
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