Statewide College Football Preview
*This is the fourth of a four part series leading up to the start of the college football season.
This is another big year for Danny Hope and the Boilermakers. The Boilers are coming off a bowl game last season but the hopes in West Lafayette are to take that “next step”. The Leaders Division is primed for the taking with Ohio State and Penn State ineligible for post season play. So on paper the Boilers would be in a 2 team race with Wisconsin for a trip to Indy and the Big Ten Title Game. But as we all know they don’t play the games on paper, Purdue will have to survive a tough early schedule in order to realize it’s dreams of a Big Ten Title run.
Offense: Purdue has reportedly settled on a starting QB and that man is Caleb TerBush. By all accounts TerBush took the job by the throat and wouldn’t let the other candidates have a chance to take it. So now it would appear the Boilers have the offense set and no matter who plays QB he will be helped greatly by a running back tandem that is expected to dominate once again. Akeem Shavers, Akeem Hunt, and Ralph Bolden will tote the rock in Ross-Aide. Bolden is coming off his 3rd ACL surgery of his career so the Akeem’s will have to handle the load while Bolden recovers. Once Bolden is back I don’t expect this unit to miss a beat. I’d be shocked if they don’t average close to or above 200 yards a game on the ground. The receiving corp is young and athletic like always seems to be the case in Boiler country. They really need one man to take the job and become TerBush’s number 1 option, I think that man might just be Antavian Edison. The Boilers will have a balanced attack again this season and as long as they don’t play musical Quarterbacks then they should be hard to keep off the scoreboard.
Defense: The defense on paper should be pretty good, when you return 8 of 11 starters that is usually the case. But I will say the Boilers gave up 20 more yards a game then their offense averaged. That has got to change if they want to challenge Wisconsin for the Leaders Title. Purdue does have 2 of the best defensive players in the entire Big Ten in CB Ricardo Allen and DT Kawann Short. These 2 studs need for the other 9 starters to follow their lead and make the simple plays and allow for the more difficult ones to take care of themselves. Starting LB Dwayne Beckford was arrested and then thrown off the team, he could be a big loss but only time will tell. If the secondary just doesn’t give up a million big plays this fall the Boilermaker D should once again be one of the Big Ten’s best.
Key Player: For me the player that needs to be not just the best at his position, but also at being a leader is Caleb TerBush. TerBush has the tools to lead the Boilers and Danny Hope where they want to go. For TerBush to have a great season the O-line will need to keep him upright but I anticipate this happening and with a very strong running attack behind him TerBush will be in a great position all year. He has to “manage” the game and keep Purdue in the game and then when he needs to make the winning play go out and make them. No pressure though Caleb, no pressure.