2008 Opponent Preview: Purdue

Purdue Offense:
Curtis Painter enters his final season at Purdue with hype as the conference’s best quarterback, and perhaps a first-round draft pick (I think this speaks more to the quality of the rest of the nation’s QBs, not Painter’s supreme skill). Backing him up will be Joey Elliott and redshirt freshman Justin Siller.


Purdue Quarterbacks Passing 2007
Name Comp Att % Yds TD Int Yds/Att
Curtis Painter 356 569 62.57 3846 29 11 6.76
Joey Elliott 13 24 54.17 147 1 1 6.13
Purdue Quarterbacks Rushing 2007
Name Att Yds TD Yds/Att
Curtis Painter 53 -20 3 -0.26
Joey Elliott 2 5 0 2.5

I think Painter is being overrated in most preseason publications. He is a fairly efficient passer, but it comes in a system that asks the quarterback to get the ball to receivers and allow them to get YAC. He rarely is asked to throw deep, and instead throws lots of screens and slants with major help from his WRs. If he gets hurt, however, Elliott is probably a big step back. While Painter isn’t Heisman material, he is still probably the best QB in the conference.

Kory Sheets and Jaycen Taylor will be the primary ballcarriers for the Boilermaker offense. Sheets is a 5th-year senior, while Sheets is a redshirt junior. True sophomore Dan Dierking will play behind them. Fullback Frank Halliburton paves the way when the Boilers go to a strong set.


Purdue Running Backs Rushing 2007
Name Att Yds TD Yds/Att
Kory Sheets 168 859 11 5.11
Jaycen Taylor 107 560 4 5.23
Dan Dierking 42 181 2 4.31
Frank Halliburton 11 26 1 2.36
Joe Williams 2 10 0 5.00
Purdue Running Backs Receiving 2007
Name Att Yds TD Yds/Att
Kory Sheets 30 216 2 7.20
Jaycen Taylor 11 65 0 5.91
Dan Dierking 5 52 0 10.40
Frank Halliburton 1 3 0 3.00

Sheets and Taylor gain yardage primarily due to the spread’s ability to bring defenders out of the box rather than their own ability. However, they are competent backs, and each is a threat to receive the ball as well. Neither should challenge for all-conference, but they will get the job done when called upon.

Dorien Bryant finally graduates after what seemed like 100 years at Purdue, and tight end Dustin Keller is gone as well. Selwyn Lymon was expected to be a big contributor for the Boilermakers, but he had off-field troubles and is no longer with the team. That leaves big Greg Orton as the primary playmaker. Tight end Kyle Adams and 5th year receiver Desmond Tardy should also play big roles for Purdue. As often as this school throws the ball around, they aren’t particularly deep at wideout.


Purdue Receivers 2007
Name Rec Yds TD Yds/Rec
Dorien Bryant 87 936 8 11.14
Dustin Keller (TE) 68 881 7 10.48
Greg Orton 67 752 3 9.87
Selwyn Lymon 40 450 2 15.83
Jake Standeford 35 396 3 10.95
Kyle Adams (TE) 8 109 2 12.20
Desmond Tardy 10 93 0 9.14
Brandon Whittington 1 24 0 19.00
Jerry Waslkowski (TE) 2 8 1 7.50
Byron Williams 1 5 0 7.50
Jeff Lindsay 3 3 2 7.50
Purdue Receivers Rushing 2007
Name Att Yds TD Yds/Att
Dorien Bryant 14 85 0 6.07
Desmond Tardy 1 8 0 8.00
Dustin Keller 0 0 1

Dustin Keller is
not morally opposed to statistical anomalies.

One thing I’m surprised about is the receivers’ lack of rushing attempts last year, given the bubble screen-happy nature of the “basketball on grass” offense. With the losses of 4 of their top 5 receivers, Purdue has very little depth. One injury could really screw them over, given wide receivers’ importance to this offense. Younger players will have to step up and carry some of the load.

Left tackle Sean Sester is the most experienced lineman of the bunch, as the fifth year has started 38 games for Purdue (I’d be surprised if this wasn’t more than every Michigan lineman combined – not just the starters). The other bookend will be former walkon and redshirt junior Zach Jones, who started nearly every game for Purdue last year. On the interior, redshirt junior Zach Reckman returns after starting every game at left guard last year. The final two positions have been vacated by Jordan Grimes and Robbie Powell. 5th-year senior Cory Benton will fill the center slot, with redshirt sophomore Justin Pierce filling in the final guard position.

With three starters back, including both tackles, Painter should have the protection he needs to get the ball to the playmakers on the edges. Though Purdue rarely excels in rush offense, this is more because they think of it as an afterthought to passing, not because they can’t block.

Offensive Analysis:
Curtis Painter should continue to improve, limiting his turnovers in 2008. The passing game at Purdue will, as always, allow Painter to make easy throws and rack up yardage. The run game will be more of a change of pace than anything. With three returning O-linemen and experienced running backs, the offense should click as long as the wideouts can step up.

Purdue Defense:

Defensive Line:
The team leader in TFLs and sacks, Cliff Avril, is gone from one defensive end spot. Eugene Bright, who split time with Keyon Brown at the other end, is also gone. Brown will take over full-time for his senior year. The other end spot will be taken over by Ryan Kerrigan, a true sophomore. Both starting defensive tackles return, with Ryan Baker entering his fifth year and Alex Magee a true senior. Backups will be Mike Neal and Jared Zwilling.


Purdue Defensive Line 2007
Name Tackle TFL Sacks
Cliff Avril 40 15 6.5
Alex Magee 38 4.5 0
Eugene Bright 28 6 5
Ryan Baker 22 4 0
Mike Neal 22 4 2
Keyon Brown 21 3.5 3.5
Ryan Kerrigan 18 1 1
Mike McDonald 8 0 0
Jared Zwilling 8 0.5 0
Jermaine Guynn 3 0 0
Jeff Benjamin 2 0 0
Gerald Gooden 1 0 0

Cliff Avril was a farily accomplished pass rusher, so it may be difficult to replace him. However, the other three starting linemen return, with Keyon Brown taking over full time at the end spot. This unit will struggle to get to the quarterback without Avril.

Anthony Heygood is back for his fifth year, starting in one of the positions. However, the Boilers’ next three leading tacklrs at the linebacker position are gone, leaving starting positions to relatively-inexperienced Tyler Haston and Kevin Green. They will have to learn fast, since they have primarily been special teams players to this point in their careers.


Purdue Linebackers 2007
Name Tackle TFL Sack Int
Anthony Heygood 80 14 1 0
Stanford Keglar 70 4 0 0
Josh Ferguson 69 4 0 0
Dan Bick 63 6 4 1
Tyler Haston 8 0 0 0
Kevin Green 7 0 0 0
Jeff Lindsay 5 0 0 0
Mike Durrett 1 1 0 0

Losing several of your most important players at a position is never a good thing. However, Heygood was the best linebacker for Purdue, and should continue to be. If the other linebackers aren’t up to task, however, it could be along year for the Boilermakers.

Defensive Backs:
Corner Terrell Vinson is gone, as is safety Justin Scott. The returners in the secondary will be junior corner David Pender, who played in every game and started most of them, and safety Brandon King, a senior who got every start last year. Replacing the departees will probably be senior corner Royce Adams, who got the starts last year that Pender didn’t, and either senior Adam Wolf or junior Josh McKinley at safety.


Purdue Defensive Backs 2007
Name Tackle TFL Sack Int
Terrell Vinson 84 7 3 5
Justin Scott 73 4 0 3
David Pender 44 1 0 1
Brandon King 44 1 0 1
Royce Adams 30 0 0 0
Jason Werner 29 3 1 0
Josh McKinley 17 1 1 0
Torri Williams 17 1.5 1 1
Frank Duong 12 1 0 0
Adam Wolf 8 0 0 0
Charlton Williams 4 1 0 0
Brandon Erwin 2 0 0 0
TJ Stark 1 0 0 0

The Boilers lose their top two tacklers from the secondary, though I personally subscribe to the school of “if a corner is among your leading tacklers it means he can’t cover anyone.” However, the secondary loses its best two players nonetheless.

Defensive Analysis:
Purdue, despite having some fairly strong defenses earlier this decade, has never been known for its defense, but rather its fairly innovative offense. The trend should continue this year, with no stars on the D. It appears as though Purdue will have to outscore most of its opponents if the Boilers want to win (see: Motor City Bowl: Purdue 51, Central Michigan 48).

Special Teams:

Junior kicker Chris Summers returns, but punter Jared Armstrong departs. Armstrong will likely be replaced by Brody McKnight, or Summers will take care of both duties.


Purdue Kicking 2007
Name FGM Att % Long XPM Att %
Chris Summers 18 22 81.82 51 56 56 100.00
Purdue Punting 2007
Name Punts Yds Avg
Jared Armstrong 67 2724 40.66

Summers is one of the most consistent kickers in the conference. The punting situation is unknown, but losing a multi-year starter is never referred.

Overall Analysis:
Purdue should turn in its standard middle-of-the-pack performance this yea runless Painter balls out of his mind. Expect a loss to a team they shouldn’t lose to, and maybe a victory over a game peopel don’t expect them to win. In the end, Purdue is an offensively-oriented team this year, and it is too difficult to win championships with that build.

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1 Comment so far

  1. Justin says...

    Werner was moved to linebacker on the other side of Heygood. He’s being hyped in the local media. Hopefully strength on the sides can make up for losing Avril.

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