Restoring faith in Purdue football

Darrell Hazell

WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. (WLFI) – Purdue football suffered its worst season since 1993, (1-11) overall and (0-8) in the Big Ten.

A couple months removed from that historically rough season the Boilermakers are looking ahead.

“Big Ten big,” Hazell said.

“Big Ten big,” recruiting coordinator Gerad Parker echoed.

“What we really talked about was how big can we get?” offensive coordinator John Shoop said. “We wanted some big guys.”

“I think we helped ourselves out in that category especially on the offensive line,” Hazell said.

The offensive line was the root of Purdue’s problems last season. Purdue quarterbacks were sacked 38 times. Only 9 teams in the country found their quarterbacks in the dirt more often. The coaching staff announced the additions of 19 players in the class of 2014. Four of those players are offensive linemen.

Those guys, our offensive line are going to come in, and they’re going to compete for a job right away,” Hazell said. “So those guys are going to be able to get on the field pretty quickly, but we need to be able to protect the passer because he’s pretty special.”

Sophomore quarterback Danny Etling may be a known commodity to the coaching staff, but incoming freshmen are a different story.

“You don’t know what impact they’re going to make, how much they’re going to play and all of those things,” Parker said. “You wish you did, but I do think you feel really good that it’s going to add depth and obviously get you closer to where you want to be.”

To start, the Boilermakers want to be better than last season.

“We’ll be better for a lot of different reasons, not only because of this incoming class, but we’re going to coach better, and make sure we’re more sound on defense,” Hazell said. “Offensively, obviously you have to be more productive, and I think we will be, because we’re going to have better people up front.”

At the end of last season Coach Hazell said they needed to do two things to improve. One was recruit. That part is now over. The other was to develop existing talent. To steal Coach Hazell’s phrase, they need to get Big Ten big.

“You see the guys walking around in the hallways, they look different,” Hazell said. “They’re bigger. They’re leaner.”

It doesn’t end there. Coach Hazell says their approach to the offseason is different too.

“They’re policing themselves now, which is neat. It’s neat to see,” Hazell said. “They’re holding themselves accountable for the workouts, and how hard they do the workouts. Our strength coaches are doing an excellent job of developing those guys, and not let them miss a beat. If you can continue to get better on a daily basis watch out.”

At the end of the day, because of last season’s (1-11) record, Purdue football isn’t held in high esteem right now. It’s up to Coach Hazell and his team to change that.

“I think anytime you walk around with that label on your back, that doesn’t feel very good,” Hazell said. “From the players to the coaches, to the equipment, all those people that are in your organization. We underachieved at certain times, and we’re going to be a much better football program.”

Take a closer look at the commitment’s for Purdue’s Class of 2014.

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