12/19/2022 Boilermaker Water Cooler Chat: “A New Chapter” Edition

Photo: David Kovich

Rants, ravings, and somewhat sensical opinions following the wild, wacky, and wide-wide world of Purdue sports

Today, I went to the gym, trying to lose the excess 15(+) lbs that the television cameras added while on the prep football beat this past fall. I do the normal weight lifting, cardio, water massage bed… as one my age does. Much to my readers’/followers’/viewers’ surprise, I used to be in pretty good shape. Decades of cheeseburgers, booze, and natural age progression have turned my once fairly decent physique into something more, round… and, uh, squishy. Now with graying hair! So I go to the gym, trying to burn the excess calories that my lifestyle has brought upon my body.

I used to be able to lift for 2 hours, run 5 miles, and still somehow make it to work. Now, I am physically tired after what my warmup used to be in my heyday. Its cool, you know, I’m now 37, I am married, two kids, a mortgage. I am no longer a spring chicken, and I take solace in convincing myself that I am just getting old, not out of shape. After all, round is a shape.

Wait a second… thirty seven. Thirty seven???!!

Purdue Football Hires Their New Coach:

Purdue hires 36 year old Ryan Walters to the helm as their 37th head coach. Yep, younger than me, and the 4th youngest coach in all of FBS. As for me, I believe that to be a good thing!

Ryan Walters is a young, exciting, and charismatic head coach, and former Defensive Coordinator for Illinois last season. He was a finalist for the Broyles Award, which celebrates the best coordinator in the nation.

Walters was a former quarterback, turned safety at Colorado, and is seen as one of the rising stars in all of college football.

With his defensive acumen, Walters hired an experienced (but 37 year old) Graham Harrell from West Virginia and USC. Harrell runs a pass-heavy attack, known for a cutting edge, high octane attack. Harrell was an excellent quarterback from Texas Tech, learning the air raid from the late, great, Mike Leach. He played in the NFL with the Green Bay Packers, and the New York Jets, and was offensive coordinator

Defensively, Purdue has hired Defensive Coordinator Kevin Kane (age 38) also from Illinois. Kane, was previously the Associate Head Coach for Illinois. Kane knows the strange Walters defense, and has been proven trustworthy to the new Boilermaker Big Boss-Man.

Photo: Mark Elsner

What Does This Mean?:

Youth and excitement are exactly what is needed from this Purdue hire, and Ryan Walters (and company) have that in heaps.

The ability to harness the youth and charisma movement is a key to the sport of football going forward. Look at other NCAA programs and look at the NFL. There is a surge in youthful, charismatic leadership. This, by no means, is any indication of success. I will say that I have been impressed with the excitement and personality shown by Walters to this point.

A defensive coach at Purdue is a unique circumstance. There hasn’t been much success historically from a defensive minded coach. The staff that Walters has put together, should, at least momentarily, quell concerns. I am excited for what this young group of coaches can bring. Hopefully they embrace the past Boiler players who were shunned during the Brohm years.

Boilermakers have their guy! I, for one, welcome our new football overlord! Here’s to many years of dominance, victories, bowls!

Oh Purdue Basketball Too!:

The Purdue Basketball team earned their second ever #1 ranking in program history (and second in consecutive years) this past week. The Boilermakers are playing as good of basketball as anyone in the nation, and continued their winning ways, improving to 11-0.

The Game:

Davidson 61, #1 Purdue 69:

A struggle some victory against Davidson in Gainbridge Fieldhouse in the inaugural “Indy Classic” kept Purdue unbeaten.

Purdue got out to a strong lead, but Davidson fought back. Boilers shot a horrendous 3/25 from the beyond the arc, allowing their opponent to keep it far closer than you would have thought on paper.

Zach Edey was his normal dominant self. The front runner for National Player of the Year garnered 29 points and 16 rebounds, despite being heavily bodied under the hoop. Two other players achieved double-double status, as Caleb Furst had 12 & 13, and Braden Smith accrued 10 & 12. Fletcher Loyer also added 14 points, outscoring his older brother, and Davidson star, Foster Loyer who had 11.

The horrendous shooting aside, Purdue still won through grit and defense. The hustle that this team is showing will continue to help lead them when the shots aren’t falling.

Break It Down:

Last week, Rusty, a grizzled old sports fan called into the Matt Painter show and said that Purdue is taking way too many threes. He knew better than Matt Painter (head coach of the #1 team in the nation, and well regarded as one of the best coaches in all of the NCAA) and dammit, he wanted his thoughts heard.

Rusty said that Purdue is shooting 11% from three, and that the team is relying far too much on the long ball.

Well, Rusty, I’ll have you know, that 3/25 isn’t 11%. It is 12%.

Far be it from me to give Rusty the benefit of the doubt, but he wasn’t far off, at least this game. Purdue shot horrendously, perhaps the worst that I remember seeing. This is coming off of the Nebraska game, in which Purdue shot 28%.

One time is a data point. Two is a pattern. Will three be the trend?

This team can shoot, but the numbers are starting to be a concern. Yes, there is a statistic anomaly with Purdue missing this many 3s, but this funk needs to be worked through before Big Ten season really gets underway. If Purdue continues to shoot at this level, they will lose multiple games, against opponents that they shouldn’t.

With this performance, there are some murmurs that Purdue may get jumped by UConn for the #1 ranking in the nation. I subscribe to the notion that you should not fall unless you lose, but those voters are a wily bunch, who sustain themselves on drama and chaos. Who knows what will happen. [Editor’s Note: Purdue did hold on to the #1 ranking following the writing of this story. Purdue w/ 40 First Place Votes / UConn 21).

Photo: Dave Kovich

A Look Ahead:

The #1 Purdue Basketball Boilermakers will host New Orleans on 12/21, in their only game this week. As of the writing of this article, there is no line on the game. However, if you trust the ESPN Matchup Predictor, Purdue has a 99% chance of winning. So, they have that going for them!

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About Benjamin Kolodzinski 93 Articles
Blending the passion of a sports fan with years of media experience, Ben Kolodzinski is a 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 (Lakeshore Public Television, and 89.1 The Lakeshore), 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. As of 2022, Kolodzinski hosts Lakeshore Gamenight, a prep football radio show and cohosts Lakeshore PBS Scoreboard, a prep football TV highlight show. 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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