"Guess what's back...back again...The Update's back...tell a friend"
-blatantly cheap ripoff of "Shady's back" by Eminem
Good morning/afternoon Boilermaniacs!!!!! After an extended hiatus, I have decided it is time to Boiler UP and emerge from my hibernation. First of all, I want to thank all of you for being extremely sympathetic during this period. I'm not sure I can fairly express how much it meant to me that so many of you took the time to send me notes expressing your gratitude for the work I've done over the years, not to mention your concerns for the well being of my wife, Rachel, and me. To be honest, we continue to struggle with some things, but I find incredible strength knowing that there is literally an army of awesome Purdue folks keeping us in their thoughts and prayers. I've said it before and I'll say it again...THERE IS NOTHING QUITE LIKE THE PURDUE FAMILY!
To summarize some of the major events that have occured in Purdue Men's Basketball and Football since the last edition:
The men's basketball team went 10-6 in Big 10 play, much better than nearly anyone out there expected and good enough for a third place tie. They finished the regular season overall at 18-10 with a sparkling 14-1 record at Mackey Arena and quality wins over Louisville (neutral court) San Diego (nearly beat Stanford last night, Colorado St. (nearly beat Duke last night), Michigan St, Indiana, Illinois, Wisconsin, and Michigan (on the road). We were nearly flawless at a newly invigorated Mackey Arena - only a horrendous night against Michigan cost us our first undefeated season at home in quite some time. Though we did not have 14,123 for more than maybe 2-3 games, there is no question that Joel Rasmus (Director of Promotions/Advertising) and David Moss (Gene Pool President) did one heck of a job developing and sustaining a quality student section that directly impacted our team's perfomance at home this year. I made it to the IU game at Mackey in January and The Gene Pool was simply phenomenal in person. The kids were truly a united Sea of Gold and there enthusiasm from pre-game warm ups to the final buzzer was worth the price of admission alone. Kenneth Lowe got the crowd going early with an offensive barrage and Mackey Arena was like the days of old when you could not hear yourself think. Anyone who was at that game will tell you that the highlight of the game was waving goodbye to all the red clad freaks from down south as they headed for the exits with 5 minutes to play as Purdue was up 20 something points.
Like many teams this year, we were Dr. Jeckyll at home and mostly Mr. Hyde on the road or a neutral court. Our last outing on a neutral court at the Big Ten Tourney in Chicago was Pathetic with a capital P. In case you missed it, we finished the first half with just 12 pts against Michigan State. That was good enough for our lowest scoring total for one half in 52 years! So the question today is...which Boilermaker team will show up against a very athletic LSU team this afternoon? Your guess is as good as mine. With Kenny Lowe supposedly fully ready to go after dislocating his non shooting shoulder a few weeks ago, one would hope that our catalyst on both ends of the floor will get us off to a good start. When K. Lowe gets off to a good shooting start, and keeps his fouls to a minimum (ie only 1 in the first half), we are a very tough team to handle. The reigning Big 10 Defensive Player of The Year has been mostly dominant at home, however, and it is time for him to get a little Cuonzo Martin mojo and set the tone early this afternoon in Birmingham. Another key will be Willie Deane's smart penetration, ie, drawing fouls, and making more than 75% of his free throws. Chris Booker needs to give us some kind of inside offensive presence and at the very least grab 8-10 rebounds. Finally, Brandon McKnight needs to rival K. Lowe in terms of defensive effectiveness. Brandon shut down Big 10 Frosh of The Year, Daniel Horton, at Michigan, so we know he is very capable. If Brandon and Kenny can avoid getting 2 quick fouls each in the first half and still smother their opponents with their pressure and prowess, we will see plenty of LSU turnovers (18 or more). Should Willie Deane decide to get in on the fun on that end of the floor also, we should win this game hands down.
Speaking of Willie Deane, I wanted to salute him for his unselfish dedication to Purdue basketball. Willie and his parents have to be commended for volunteering to go from a full scholarship team member to walk on status last season. How often do you see a player with Willie's talent offer to do that these days?
Moving on to a brief synopsis of Purdue Football the last two months. The big news was that we landed our best recruiting class in The Joe Tiller Era and then we had some coaching position departures and subsequent new hires. The hype about our recruiting class can be measured in a number of ways on paper right now:
1. We landed 4-star DE Doug Van Dyke over in state powerhouse Michigan and also hauled in 4-star TE Garrett Bushong and 3-star OL Nick Fincher which gave us 3 of the top 10 players from The Great Lakes State
2. At the last minutes, 4-star DE "Big Play" Ray Edwards chose us over Tennessee. Talk about high drama...Edwards had walked to his press conference with a UT LOI in hand and then did a 180 back to his locker to grab his Purdue LOI instead which he eventually faxed over to God's Country. Recruiting Coordinator Greg Olson, DE coach Gary Emmanuel, and current DE Shaun Phillips executed flawlessly in the final 48 hours to reel in Big Play Ray. Edwards would utter something along the lines of...Tennessee is a great place to play football, but I know I'll be a better man by attending Purdue!
3. There are all kinds of incredible athletes in this year's class who could be put in the diamond in the rough category, for example:
A. WR/ST return specialist, Jake Cunningham, from Pontiac, ILL. This kid is going to be special because he's got amazing God given talent and he refuses to take that for granted. Jake has already been timed at sub 4.4/40 times in the past but he wants to get even faster and will spend serious time with "House of Speed" expert Don Beebe (former Buffalo Bill) later this spring. In addition, Jake's personal trainer reports that Jake is routinely bench pressing 315lbs in sets of 4. Super fast, great strength, and a tremendous attitude will be the words you hear to describe Jake Cunningham when he arrives this fall.
Next week I'll go into some more detail on some of other kids and I'll discuss the coaching shakeups as Downing, Olson, Greene, and Olson are out and in are Elmassian (DB's), Legg (O-line), Mitchell (RB's), and DeBesse (WR's and Recruiting Coordinator). Coach Chaney has TE's in addition to his OC duties and DT Coach Mark Hagen is fired up to be the new ST's coach! Got to run but enjoy the links to more coverage on today's contest...
Boiler mission: Hold that Tiger
Purdue's post players know they must stand up to LSU
By Jeff Washburn, Journal and Courier
"BIRMINGHAM, Ala. -- Chris Booker and Brett Buscher understand the tradition and the expectations.
Those who play power forward or center in the Big Ten Conference need to be part middle linebacker and part heavyweight boxer.
But as No. 9 seed Purdue prepares for today's NCAA tournament South Regional opening round game against No. 8 seed LSU, the Boilermakers' interior play has come under fire."
Purdue-LSU matchup information
From Purdue Sports Information
2003 NCAA Tournament First Round No. 8 Seed LSU vs. No. 9 Seed Purdue
Time: 3 p.m. EST
Arena: BJCC Arena (16,705)
Location: Birmingham, Ala.
Television: CBS or ESPN will air the game, depending on war coverage by CBS. Craig Bolerjack (play-by-play) and Dan Bonner (color commentary) call the action. Brett Haber is the sideline reporter. Victor Frank is the producer.
Radio: The Boilermaker Sports Network. Larry Clisby (play-by-play) and Steve Reid (color commentary) call the action. Brett Schetzsle handles the pregame show, and Wes Scott engineers.
Internet: All games can be heard on www.purduesports.com. Simply click on the live coverage link.
Lowe ready to shoulder some of defensive load
Boilers guard, the Big Ten Defensive Player of the Year, returns from an injury.
By Michael Pointer
March 21, 2003
BIRMINGHAM, Ala. -- The ever-present ice pack was wrapped around his left shoulder. But Purdue's Kenneth Lowe said he is feeling better at just the right time.
"I know I can play 40 minutes," said Lowe, the Big Ten's Defensive Player of the Year. "The shoulder is doing great. It's a lot better than last week. Every day, it gets stronger."
Back On Track
Players reap benefits of intensified summer drills to end NCAA tournament drought
By Jeff Washburn, Journal and Courier
"Publicly, they said all the politically correct things, painting a pretty picture of what they hoped would be a successful 2002-03 season.
Privately, the Purdue men's basketball team understood its margin for error was thin.
They knew anything less than a first-division Big Ten Conference finish and an NCAA tournament bid would be unacceptable to fans frustrated by Purdue's 30-33 record since the end of the 2000 season."
Role of underdog motivates Boilers
By Jeff Washburn, Journal and Courier
"BIRMINGHAM, Ala. -- From college analysts Digger Phelps and Tom Penders on through those who post opinions on Internet sites, the consensus is that the Purdue men's basketball team's NCAA tournament stay will be a brief one.
No. 8 seed LSU's athleticism, rebounding and 3-point shooting have most convinced the Tigers will beat the No. 9 seed Boilermakers today in the Birmingham-Jefferson Civic Center.
"Most," however, does not include coach Gene Keady's Boilermakers, who are eager to play the Tigers."
Keady faces no-win situation
March 21, 2003
"BIRMINGHAM, Ala. -- Here he is again. In one of those unnecessarily desperate moments again. In one of those When-Cynics-Attack games again.
You would think after 23 years at a place he gave a national profile, Gene Keady would be above having to validate his existence with every notable game his Purdue team plays. But he isn't."
Dreamland barbecue a highlight of trip so far
By Brandon McKnight, Journal and Courier
"BIRMINGHAM, Ala. -- The good news is that everybody is loose, and we're having fun as we prepare for LSU.
We started our NCAA tournament playing experience with a real good practice here Thursday morning.
When it was time for us to focus, we focused after having a good time hanging out together at our hotel."
LSU not taking favorite's role to heart
By Michael Pointer
March 21, 2003
BIRMINGHAM, Ala. -- Even though today's South Regional game pits a No. 8 seed in LSU against a No. 9 in Purdue, nearly everyone is favoring the Tigers.
A Birmingham writer took it even further on Thursday morning, predicting LSU will make it to the Final Four.
Michael Pointer: Purdue Q&A
Indianapolis Star sports reporter Michael Pointer answers your questions about the Boilers.
March 20, 2003
Question: Do you think the basketball team watches the ESPN guys each night like we do? I hope they do. Apparently Texas is going to have their hands full with LSU in that second-round game according to Digger Phelps and the rest of the gang. By the way, did ESPN give a mandate to Digger to flail his hands around non-stop to act like he is still coaching? (Matt from Boston)
Answer: Matt, I wrote about this in this morning's paper, and you're right. I have scanned the Internet, checked out the sports talk shows, and looked at papers across the country. I can't find one person picking Purdue. Not one. A local writer here in Birmingham even picked LSU to go to the Final Four, which I found interesting. As for Digger, keep in mind that he and Gene Keady aren't exactly best friends. Remember, Notre Dame refused to play Purdue when Phelps was there, unless if was totally on Notre Dame's terms.
I do think this is a tough matchup for Purdue, especially with Kenneth Lowe not being 100 percent. LSU is vulnerable on the inside, but Purdue's inside game has been so bad recently, how can you think it will take advantage of it? A thing to watch is free throws. Purdue is a much better free-throw shooting team than LSU. If it gets to the line 20-25 times, I think it can win. If not, the Boilers are in trouble."
Football Signs 22 To National Letters-Of-Intent
Three others already enrolled
Feb. 5, 2003
Highlights From Coach Tiller's Press Conference | Photo Gallery
Press Conference Audio
"WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. - Purdue football coach Joe Tiller today announced the signing of 22 student-athletes to National Letters-of-Intent to join three others already enrolled at Purdue for a 25-member recruiting class. The Boilermakers received signed letters from 14 offensive players, nine defensive players and two players listed with positions on both sides of the ball. There are four wide receivers, four offensive linemen, four linebackers, three defensive ends, three defensive backs, two quarterbacks, two tight ends and one each combination wide receiver-running back, wide receiver-cornerback and quarterback-defensive back.
for info on each of our recruits see the full story"
2003 Purdue Football Coaching Staff
Joe Tiller, Head Coach
Jim Chaney, Offensive Coordinator/Tight Ends
Brock Spack, Defensive Coordinator/Linebackers
Gary Emanuel, Assistant Head Coach/Defensive Ends
Blaine Bennett, Quarterbacks
Bob DeBesse, Wide Receivers/Recruiting Coordinator
Phil Elmassian, Defensive Backs
Mark Hagen, Defensive Tackles/Special Teams
Bill Legg, Offensive Line
David Mitchell, Running Backs
Chad Brown, Graduate Assistant
Burt Thornton, Graduate Assistant
Don Coller, Director of Football Operations
Remaking Ross-Ade See the renovation inside and out March 13, 2003 http://purduesports.ocsn.com/sports/m-footbl/spec-rel/031303aab.html_______________________________
Odom better in second audition
Linebacker among six former Boilers to work out for NFL scouts
By Tom Kubat, Journal and Courier
"After a sprained ankle limited his performance at last month's NFL Combine in Indianapolis, former Purdue linebacker Joe Odom couldn't wait for Thursday's Pro Timing Day.
Scouts from 13 NFL teams were on hand to watch six former Boilermakers strut their stuff, in preparation for April's NFL Draft.
"There were a couple of NFL linebacker coaches here," Odom said. "I ran really well, as far as my times in the 40 and the shuttles and the individual linebacker drills. I think I really helped myself. I was pretty excited."