Good afternoon, everybody. Our exhibition season is now over and the reality of a quality opponent is upon us. I thought about doing a ILL St. Report Card, but personally, I have a tough time assigning grades against that weak of an opponent.
As expected, Da Boilers got out to the 30-0 halftime lead and never looked back this past weekend. There were many highlights in this game including a very stingy defense playing without a couple of key starters in Shaun Phillips and STU. About the only things that gave our defense trouble were the things that seem to always give us trouble and that is misdirection/bootleg plays, and one of our cornerbacks not looking up for the ball to prevent a completion. Overall, our offense did what they were supposed to do in The Tiller Era and that is rack up over 550 yards of offense and score several TD's. Our offensive line looked much improved and had zero penalties. Our WR's were noticeably more physical and for the most part were getting wide open. There were a couple of drops, but we can't be perfect on every play. Joey Harris had a phenomenal day with over 140 yards rushing and a 65 yd screen pass TD scamper. My biggest initial concern (not having the ability to watch tapes) was that Kyle Orton may have been focusing too much on his first read at WR and telegraphing his throws. Then again, that could be because that guy was wide open in most cases. I hope our first guy is that wide open this week also but I think that Kyle will have to be more deceptive this week as ND has some very good cornerbacks, in particular, Shane Walton (who had 3 picks against Maryland).
We should have Phillips and STU back while Landon Johnson (partially dislocated shoulder) seems to be our only other new health concern. WR Taylor Stubblefield will be evaluated this week but I don't think many of us are expecting him back, unfortunately.
In the news today, I've included a number of ILL St. game recap articles as well as some early ND preview stuff, a report on QB recruit Clayton Richard, and of course a little motivation from our favorite ND editorial writer, Erin Piroutek.
Thanks to everyone who made it such an enjoyable weekend from Jeff Knoy for the ticket to the McCutcheon game, to the crew hanging out at Harry's/Jake's/Stacks Friday Night to Brian and Charity Knoy for the place to stay Friday Night (and the early tailgate session), to Brian Hurst, Joe Milligan, and Tony Swinehart for leading the Old Gold Free Press Tailagate in Lot , to eveyone who stopped by the tailgate to everyone in attendance this weekend (especially the ones wearing Gold), to the folks that did a phenomenal job creating a beautiful new West Side of the stadium, and to my friends at Stack's after the game.
BTW, I hear that verbal commitment Jake Cunningham really enjoyed his visit this weekend and he now has plans to take all of his visits to Purdue, Purdue, Purdue, and Purdue. That sounds like someone who has caught the affliction that many of us suffer from, otherwise known as Boilermaker Fever.
Redbirds easy prey for Boilers Harris fuels offensive explosion
"The opponent in Saturday's season opener, Division I-AA Illinois State, was a lot softer than the teams quarterback Kyle Orton had to face in his three starts to end the season a year ago -- Indiana, Notre Dame and Washington State in the Sun Bowl.
And the result was much better.
Not only did Orton pass for 250 yards, he was able to come up with his first victory as a starter, leading Purdue to a 51-10 spanking of the Redbirds.
"I thought I played well," said Orton, who completed 14 of 28 passes for 250 yards. "I thought I was on target with most of my passes. I didn't sit back in the pocket and take a sack, and I got out and threw the ball away when I needed to.
"Whenever you throw three touchdowns and no interceptions that's always a good game. So I was pleased with my performance."
"The Boilermakers averaged only 98 yards per game and just 2.7 per rush during last year's 6-6 campaign, so Saturday's output against Illinois State was a welcomed sight.
Considering Purdue rushed for 273 yards -- which is more than any game last season -- and doubled its per-carry output at 5.5, it's no wonder offensive coordinator John Chaney and junior tailback Joey Harris were in a talkative mood.
Both hope there will be more to the Boilers offense than just the right arm of quarterback Kyle Orton.
"A lot of people talk about Kyle's arm and one of the things we wanted to show in this game and hopefully throughout the season is that we also have a running game," said Harris, who did the bulk of the workload for Chaney and the offense, carrying the ball 23 times for a career high 144 yards.
Harris Runs Over Redbirds
Running back cements top spot
Sept. 1, 2002
"WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. - Joey Harris was expecting to carry the ball 10 to 14 times Saturday against Illinois State.
But he didn't mind he was called on more often in the Boilermakers' 51-10 season-opening victory over Illinois State.
"I found out I was going to start later in the week," Harris said. "I was surprised when I was told, but I went about my business as usual."
Harris rushed for 144 yards on 23 carries. He scored the Boilermakers' first touchdown on a 6-yard with 11:20 remaining in the first quarter. The score capped a 10-play, 72-yard drive.
The 5-foot-11, 209-pound junior also caught two passes for 67 yards, including a second quarter screen pass that he carried 57 yards for a TD to make it 27-0 with 12:43 left in the first half."
"Emphatic for 30 minutes. Indifferent during a lethargic third quarter. Enthusiastic in mop-up time, when non-starters auditioned for playing time.When Purdue's season opener ended Saturday, the Boilermakers possessed what most predicted months ago after learning Illinois State had been added as a 12th game -- a 51-10 Labor Day weekend victory.
It was a combination of good, bad and ugly served in a plain brown envelope. Offensively and defensively, it was like eating vanilla ice cream after a gourmet meal at Wolfgang Puck's.
Remember, there's a trip to South Bend just around the corner."
"Imagine a Purdue defensive performance that would include only five collective tackles from free safety Stu Schweigert, strong safety Deaunte Ferrell, end Shaun Phillips, linebacker Joe Odom, tackle Craig Terrill and cornerback Jacques Reeves.
Having processed that image, would you predict a Boilermaker victory or defeat? Would you -- or could you -- believe a 51-10 victory, even if the opponent is Illinois State?
It happened Saturday in Ross-Ade Stadium on an afternoon when Purdue's defensive depth was tested.
Schweigert, who is nursing a sore knee, sat out. Phillips and Ferrell were serving one-game suspensions for violations of team policy."
click on the above link for the full story
Linebacker's injury not too serious
Johnson expected to be ready for Notre Dame
By Jeff Washburn, Brendan Murphy and Tom Kubat, Journal and Courier
"Purdue fans experienced several anxious moments during the second half Saturday when weakside linebacker Landon Johnson had to be helped from the Ross-Ade Stadium field.
Johnson -- second in tackles last season to Stu Schweigert -- slightly dislocated a shoulder against Illinois State but is expected to play at Notre Dame.
"That was one guy I wanted to get my arm around as he came off the field," coach Joe Tiller said. "He said he didn't think it was as severe as the (dislocated) one he had last year, which he played through.
"Had we had to win it in the last series, Landon probably would have been on the field."
On their first offensive drive of the 2002 season, the Purdue Boilermakers needed only three minutes and 40 seconds to cover 72 yards, culminating in a six-yard touchdown run by junior tailback Joey Harris.
In the two hours before Saturday's 1 p.m. kick-off at the newly renovated Ross-Ade Stadium, 47,701 fans streamed in with similar efficiency. They cheered amenities added to the stadium in the $70 million renovation almost as much as they cheered Harris.
Rex Hagan, a Boilermaker fan from Lake Wawasee, which is south of South Bend, toured the new press box with former Boilermaker All-American Leroy Keyes before settling into his new luxury suite for the 51-10 victory over Illinois State.
"How could you think ill of it?" Hagan asked. "It puts us in the big leagues."
click on the above link for the full story
Monday Morning quarterback
Special teams need only more experience, Tiller says
September 02, 2002
"Purdue coach Joe Tiller was eager to evaluate Purdue's special-teams performance in the Boilermakers' 51-10 victory Saturday over Illinois State.
He had good reason. It's by far the most inexperienced part of the team. Tiller counts 28 of the 44 players on the kickoff, kickoff return, punt and punt return units as new to special teams.
Those units struggled at times on Saturday. The Boilers shanked one punt for 15 yards, muffed an Illinois State punt deep in their own end, and had a bad snap on a point-after attempt.
But Tiller said Sunday he was pleased overall and doesn't plan to make any personnel changes."
-- Michael Pointer
click on the above link for the full story
Hardwick feels right at home
Guard plays his first football game since freshman season at Lawrence North H.S.
By Michael Pointer
September 01, 2002
WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. -- Nick Hardwick said he didn't experience any nervousness when he took the field with his Purdue teammates on Saturday.
"I felt right at home," he said. "I didn't have too many problems with my assignments. I did a good job of getting out and making my blocks."
But this wasn't your normal first college start. Hardwick played nearly the entire game at left guard in the Boilermakers' 51-10 victory over Illinois State -- his first game of any kind since his freshman year at Lawrence North High School in 1995.
"I just tried to put it all behind me and focus on the job at hand," he said."
click on the above link for the full story
Purdue eager for ND test
Maryland game impresses Orton; Tiller discovers no surprises
By Tom Kubat, Journal and Courier
"Purdue quarterback Kyle Orton went home Saturday after leading the Boilermakers to a convincing 51-10 victory over Illinois State and relaxed by watching some television.
His network of choice was ABC, which was showing the Notre Dame-Maryland game.
Orton turned down the volume and studied the Fighting Irish, Purdue's next opponent Saturday, as they shut out No. 20 Maryland 22-0 in the Kickoff Classic.
"We're going to get a chance to play a very good team," Orton said of the Boilermakers' trip to South Bend, to help new ND coach Tyrone Willingham make his Notre Dame Stadium debut."
"Purdue Boilermakers (1-0, 0-0 Big Ten) at #23/#24 Notre Dame Fighting Irish (1-0) Notre Dame Stadium (80,795) - South Bend, Indiana September 7, 2002 - Noon EST
ALL-TIME RECORD: 523-447-48 (.537) - 115th season BIG TEN RECORD: 280-312-32 (.474) - 107th season
PROJECTED ATTENDANCE: 80,795+
RADIO: Boilermaker Sports Network (Flagship - WAZY, 96.5 FM, West Lafayette) - Joe McConnell (play-by-play), Pete Quinn (color commentary), Brett Schetzsle (sideline), Tim Newton (pregame/halftime/postgame)
TELEVISION: NBC - Tom Hammond (play-by-play), Pat Haden (color commentary), Lewis Johnson (sidelines)
A LOOK AT THE BOILERMAKERS: The Purdue football team, under sixth-year head coach Joe Tiller, travels to Notre Dame to take on the 23rd/24th-ranked Fighting Irish on Saturday, Sept. 7, at Notre Dame Stadium in South Bend, Ind. It is the 46th meeting for the Shillelagh. The Boilermakers opened the 2002 season with a 51-10 win over Illinois State on Aug. 31 at home in Ross-Ade Stadium. Purdue is one of merely two schools in the Big Ten Conference and one of only 13 nationally to play in a bowl game each of the last five seasons.
IF THE BOILERMAKERS WIN ... * They will open a season 2-0 for the fourth time in six seasons under head coach Joe Tiller. From 1970 to 1997, Purdue won its first two games only twice (1978 and 1994). * They will defeat Notre Dame in South Bend for the first time since Sept. 28, 1974."
First of all, I'd like to thank McCutcheon HS Freshman Football coach, Jeff Knoy, for the complimentary ticket to this contest. I believe Jeff is one of many Boilers who Clayton sees at his football games. I saw plenty of folks wearing Purdue stuff in the stands, and plenty of Purdue license plates in the stadium parking lot.
I got there early and was able to catch Clayton warming up. It does not take one long to figure out which player Clayton is for the Mavs. He is the legit 6-5, 220 lb hoss wearing #3. The young man look mature beyond his years and his teammates clearly demonstrated that he is their de facto leader.
Ironically, while I was filming Clayton in pre-game warmups, his dad Barry came up to me unannounced to ask who I was filming and who I represented. He could tell I was a Boiler since I was wearing my 2001 Vegas Gold Iron Pride shirt. Of course, I told him I was watching Clayton and he flashed a big smile and said "I'm Clayton's father, it is nice to meet you". While I wanted to give him my pitch on why Clayton should come to Purdue, I resisted for a number of obvious reasons.
Barry was a very cordial, proud father, as one might expect. He said that Clayton and he were impressed with the quality of the people from all schools who are recruiting #3 right now. Barry mentioned that he has been in Lafayette, IND all his life and he would love to see Clayton stay home. He talked glowingly about Clayton tossing balls around at Purdue with Drew Brees and felt that Clayton held his own with #15. I was concerned to hear a few comparisons to Drew Henson also but they were mostly in the context of playing pro baseball in the summer months and playing college football through spring ball otherwise. I can't remember if it was Barry or Jeff Knoy who mentioned that the Michigan coaches have gotten fairly close to Clayton's sister, who also either attends or works at McCutcheon (I can't recall every detail exactly). In our favor, Jake Cunningham's father called up Barry Richard the day Jake verballed to guage Clayton's interest in Purdue. Barry assured Mr. Cunningham that Clayton was seriously considering Purdue.
I told Barry about our FREE Purdue site and he was fired up to hear about some FREE info about Clayton's recruitment and season. He said he's a little turned off by all the pay sites. Barry wrapped up our short chat by saying I could look him up in the phone book and call him any time. That is something I WON'T be doing but he is more than welcome to contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
As far as my take on Clayton's skills after watching the game and studying my tape...I'd very much like to see #3 in a Purdue Uniform! I'd venture to say he did not have his best game of his career but he made some VERY impressive throws and some nice QB runs also. Fortunately, his team put the ball in the air quite a bit against Merrillville (a solid team in a higher class than McCutcheon). Clayton has a tremendous arm and can launch a soft touch fade pattern 45 yards in the air with ease. He is a southpaw for those who did not know and he and his Ball St. verbal, 6-3 WR, Kelly Martin, took advantage of Merriville's short DB's for I think 2 stellar corner fade patterns for TD's before halftime. His final numbers were...13 of 29 for 223 yards and two touchdowns. He also had a 12 yd TD run and another 35 yd plus designed sneak up the middle.
At first I thought I detected a slight hitch in Clayton's release but after further analysis I don't see a major problem with it at all. Clayton did overthrow a couple longer patterns early on but seemed to get that connection down pat later in the game. He threw a number of out patterns right on the numbers. In sum, I'm convinced of 3 things in regards to Richard:
1) He's already extremely well built to be a college QB and he has tremendous pocket presence. Amazingly, Clayton has his own workout program, no trainers have helped him develop physically. 2) I think he has great touch on this throws, and he could've used a couple of faster WR's like Ray Williams, or Jake Cunningham running under a couple of his longer patterns. 3) His decision is very much in the air and it will be a dogfight until the end.
p.s. I hope to have some or all of my video footage up on this site sometime soon if it is permitted. ____________________________
They're Not ND...
I don't want to talk about the game. I don't want to rehash botched calls, questionable play-calling, or stupid mistakes. I don't want to think about the "if-only's." It's too painful. Let me mourn in peace.
Still, the trip to West Lafayette was a valuable learning experience. It made me thoroughly appreciate being a Domer.
The corn should have been my first clue that something was amiss. We took the first exit that said Purdue, anticipating the sight of the stadium ready to accommodate screaming Irish fans. Instead, we found ... corn. For several miles we drove on a two-lane road winding through cornfield upon cornfield.
Thanks to backed-up traffic, we had several hours to appreciate the corn.
Finally we made it to campus ("I thought I'd seen ugly buildings before — but now I realize I was wrong," said my roommate) and into the stadium.
But the reasons to count my blessings had just begun. Anytime there are more cheerleaders than football players, well, there's something inherently wrong. You may think I'm kidding. But I'm dead serious.
Start with the 10 girls and 10 guys, who I assume were the varsity cheerleaders. Add 10 more of each who I think were the JV cheerleaders. That's 40. Then consider the 16 flag girls and eight baton twirlers. We're up to 64. But that's not all. Count the 32 pom girls, even though I couldn't quite discern their purpose, and that brings us to a grand total of 96 cheerleaders.
And you might think there's nothing wrong with this. Spirit is good, right? Well, maybe I could excuse it if there was any spirit in the Purdue stadium. But there wasn't.
Our 12 cheerleaders are able to make the entire stadium resonate with the sounds of "We are Notre Dame." The Purdue stadium resonated with ... random noise every once in awhile when Purdue had a good play.
After an entire game in Ross-Ade Stadium, with the Purdue fans just two rows behind me, I have no idea what their fight song sounds like. They never sang it. I think the band played it every so often, but I'm not even sure about that, since we couldn't really hear the band.
Maybe we're spoiled, since when our band plays the sound resonates through campus. Even in the broadcast of the Michigan game, the Irish band could be heard loud and clear in the Big House. But I don't think it's too much to ask for a band to at least play loud enough that those sitting in the stadium can hear it. It's not like the sounds of the crowd were drowning it out.
Even the individual fans were a disappointment. The ubiquitous presence of "The Shirt" confused and befuddled them. One fan sneered, "What, did they give those shirts out for free or something?" I guess the concept of Irish unity is too much for them to grasp. Understandable I guess, since Boilermaker unity is nonexistent.
As we were heading back to our car, a Purdue student shouted insults at us from his dorm window. At this point, someone who would attack two girls while hiding in the safety of his dorm didn't even surprise me.
We walked away with our heads held high. After all, we are ND. And we don't have to spend the rest of our college careers at Purdue.
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