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OGFP Update For 11-14-2003

1 Day to #11 Purdue vs #3 Ohio St at The Shoe, 4 Days to Men's Hoops vs NBDL Exhibition Game!!!

Date: 11/14/2003
Author: TexasBoiler
© Old Gold Free Press Columnists

    Good morning Boilermaniacs!!! I don't know how any diehard Boiler fan is not Boiling Over with excitement in anticipation of tomorrow's HUGE game in C-bus. We've had several "biggest games in The Tiller Era" to date, but this one trumps them all at the moment. It's time for our program to take that next giant step forward and get a huge monkey off our backs, ie winning a game against a top 10 team in their house of over 100,000 fans! A win tomorrow would do the following:

    1. Catapult us to a top 10 ranking going into the last week of the regular season for the first time since??? (let's just say it has been a long time)
    2. Position us to claim a share of of the Big 10 Title against the lowly Loosiers at Ross Ade South Next Weekend
    3. Position us for an outside chance at a BCS bowl and virtually guarantee us a New Years Day Bowl game (assumes we kick IU's behind)
    4. Bring the most national acclaim to our program in The Tiller Era ever, which helps out our recruiting efforts exponentially

    The keys to victory tomorrow our outlined well by a poster on the Mr. Gridiron board, Bill Curry from, and Andy Gamm from The Final Score rather well below, but I'll give you my version:

    A. On the road especially, we need to get off to a good start like we did at Wisconsin. Scoring on our first drive would do wonders for our offense, even if it's just a field goal. A touchdown on our first drive would just about assure us a victory in my humble opinion. If nothing else, we can't afford to fall behind by more than 3 pts at halftime
    B. Win the turnover battle, which should happen if you look at the fact that we are +15 in that category on the season and OSU is even. However, we all saw what happened at Michigan, when we had the clear advantage in TO margin coming into the game. I'm counting on Kyle Orton and the crew to handle the nugget with extreme precision and I think our defense will cause a couple fumbles tomorrow!
    C. Execute brilliantly on special teams. We can't allow OSU to get pts because of a long punt return (like Jenkins did to Iowa) or a blocked punt or FG (like OSU did to Iowa). Now is not the time for us to blow it in the kicking game. Ben Jones will have to make all his attempts for us to win also. Chambers and Brooks don't need to break one, we simply need them to hang on to the ball first AND THEN look for some alleys.
    D. Have our defense put points on the board or get us a turnover that makes it easy for our offense to do so
    E. Use Jon Goldsberry often in our power running game, he seems to be a heat seeking missle who hits his target every time and that was a big reason as to why we were able to run the ball on Iowa (well Void hitting the right holes and finishing his runs with power helped too). OSU will prepare for Goldsberry's blocking prowess, so it will come down to execution and fortitude by all our guys in the run game. Chaney and Orton will need to know when to use the play action, when to use the screen or hot read with the blitz coming, and when to use the draw by the QB or RB. OSU will be the best D we've seen all year (esp against the run) so we've got to be very deceptive and/or perfect with our execution on offense to get enough points to win.

    So, my prediction is Purdue 17, OSU 13. Orton will play a brilliant game in cloudy, 45 degree conditions and do just enough to win. The trend says history is not on our side tomorrow, but trends are meant to be broken when you have a team full of seniors who feels they owe The Bucks some payback from last year. Our guys know that they did not come out with the swagger they needed against Michigan and I'm sure that won't be the case tomorrow. Dare I say that finally my timeless prediction that #9 will score a TD tomorrow will come true?

    We will come out confident tomorrow, we will get off to a great start, and we will get the W!

    Also in today's edition is the recap of Brian "The Janitor" Cardinal's stellar performance on ESPN Wed night and a couple men's bball pre season articles. I'm working on getting a highlight montage of Cardinal's game to the folks at Also note at the bottom today that you can vote for a couple Boiler campaigns on The Internet at the links below.

    Boiler UP as we prepare to pull off the upset tomorrow!


    Purdue/OSU preview from Purdue fan but OSU season ticket holder

    Posted by: D. Bennett on November 12, 2003 at 19:03:14 - IP
    As a lifelong Purdue fanatic but presently an OSU grad student, season ticket holder, and constantly submerged person in the Columbus media, I would like to give my realistic preview of this huge game.

    Where to start. Had this game occured anytime before last weekends matchup that OSU had with Michigan State, Purdue's chances from my view would have been quite good in pulling off this win. I still think they are, but there are many things that also scare me in this matchup.

    Let's start from the beginning. If Purdue wins the toss, they ABSOLUTELY MUST defer to the second half. OSU's crowd might be large, but if they see doubt early, it really isn't that loud. The worst thing that can happen is a three and out offensively for Purdue right off the bat, i.e. Michigan. So ideally, put the lame OSU offense on the field first. Let them get at most one first down, than punt. That way the jitters might get out a little early. I hope Coach Tiller does not revert back to old ways and wants the ball early if he has a choice. That being said, if Purdue was to prove me wrong and march down the field on an opening drive to score after the kickoff, that would be huge. A recurring theme that I see today and anytime OSU will play in the near future, should the get down by 13 pts or more, they are done. Especially against Purdue and their defense. I can guarantee this.

    Now, getting into the meat of the possessions. The same things that scared me about OSU's defense this year scared me last year...the OSU front seven on defense. Unfortunately, the Boilers are probably going to be playing on their heels most of the game offensively, just because OSU's DT's (T. Anderson particularly) and obviously DE W. Smith are just better athletically than PU's O lineman. What I would really like to see Tiller do is go with a shotgun set early, and run only out of draw sets. I wish they would have saved the Wisconsin game plan for saturday, but that is just me. Don't try to man up, especially on the opening drive. OSU has one eTECH good D. No doubt about it. That D has won 22 of the last 23 games. Not the offense. The difference this year from last on Purdue's side is Kyle Orton, and the fact that hopefully he is not Kyle Orton of last year or Brees in any other year. Purdue fans understand this. He doesn't turn the ball over, at least not yet. Brees had (and still does with the SD Chargers) a knack to throw the pick at the WORST times possible. I think with this D I would take Ortons 215 yds 1 TD and NO INT over Brees and his sporadic 315 yds 2 TDS and 2 INTs (which seemed to go for opponents TDs much to often). If Orton does not throw any picks Purdue has 3:1 odds, if Purdue doesn't turn it over well, see the bottom of my post.

    At the MSU game last week, don't let the score fool you, MSU was driving to go up 14-3 or 14-0, and Smoker pulled a Brees near the OSU red zone and threw a pick that went all the way back to about the MSU 20. Crowd was back into, OSU offense was as well, and MSU really never recovered. Brought me back to PSU 1999 or any other of the picks for TDs that I have grown accustomed to. Smoker had OSU in his sights. The crowd was quite and nervous, OSU's offense was predictably awful, and it could have broken the Buckeyes backs, but he reenergized the crowd. The only way the crowd can be juiced up, believe me I know, is by defensive turnovers. It sure is not Krenzel and their stagnant O. The Boilers need points, be it a field goal or obviously a TD. But they DON'T NEED TO's. Purdue needs to throw short on first down and get positive yards, 2 or 3 will do. It DOESN'T NEED TO RUN AND GET STUFFED AT THE LINE to get the crowd into it on first. A + yardage first down opens it up for some draws or off tackle yardage with Jerod, and a third and short. Purdue, in my opinion, can't try to run outside the tackles against OSU...just like Michigan. The defense is to good. If, on occasion, Purdue were to have success on first down, I would like to see them try Play Action deep to Ray or John once or twice. OSU has a freshman safety, and Gamble can be beat this year. He was getting torched last weekend against MSU and the previous week at PSU. I think throwing deep minimizes the INT for TD risk that I spoke of before, and much more reward v. risk. If Purdue decides that it wants to run the ball, (I would say about 85-95 total yards b/w the RB's and Orton would be a success), it must use the FB Goldsberry. Wisconsin had success with the full back against OSU, but Iowa couldn't run out of the single back real well with Russel. Utilizing the TE in the passing game can open up the running game as well.

    I think Ben Jones is a HUGE factor this weekend. Purdue will get down to the 25 or so yard line, and if they struggle against a "don't break" D, than FG's can really add up. I wouldn't consider OSU a great kick/punt returning team, so I am not to worried about that aspect.

    But the largest thing in Purdue's favor is the Black and Gold DEFENSE coupled with OSU's lack of imagination on offense. Joe McConnell (Purdue's radio voice) stirred up a lot of anger this week in Columbus when on the local radio station here with Chris Speilman, he stated that he thought Michigan had better athletes than OSU...of which I agree in a way, possibly even on D, but OSU's defensive scheme and coaching by Dantonio are exponentially better than Michigans. Week in and week out. OSU's defense is the only reason that this team wins, or gets in a position to win. The offense is awful, and that is why I like Purdue's chances, (as well as Michigan's next week of which I will be attending).

    The best thing that could have happened in a way is that Krenzel had a good day last week, and that they won't switch to McMullen for saturdays game, who anyone in the show sees as a better passer. And with the receivers that OSU has (what I would give to see any of them in Black/Gold), that could really help their offense. As boring and vanilla as OSU's scheme is, the talent they have can make it work on occasion. That scares me a bit, but then I think back to last year and the 10-6 score with Clarett, who OSU MISSES A TON. Before the season, preseason magazines had OSU's line rated in the top five in the country, some even the top line...which blew my mind since they were awful last year, and everyone was back. This line, other than being big, is middle of the Big Ten at best. Lydell Ross is a good RB, and most of the time he is getting hit behind the line of scrimmage, except against swiss cheese teams like IU/PSU/MSU. Purdue's DL will play a huge role this weekend. Sure they are smaller, but San Diego State blasted this tub of lard o line, why can't Spack.

    Krenzel will run QB draws, as a called play, probably 2-3 times a drive. I think it has worked against other teams because they don't have the DL/LB's that Purdue will have. If they run it this game, they won't get jack. Their offense is so predictable, it is amazing that sometimes they score at all. They will run 60-70 percent on first down, though they have been throwing the last two weeks on occasion, but they only send out two SE's and a TE so it's not offensive trickery by any means. Run second, try and throw it third, and luckily, they have Krenzel back their. He is one of those rare QB's who seems to look to run before pass...even though he can't really run fast...or pass for that matter. Their offense is built not to screw up, and to play for field position by utilizing their defense, sort of like Purdue's. That is why they are in EVERY SINGLE GAME, because they can't blow anyone out.

    Purdue needs to do three things that concern me in order to win.
    1. Shut down the TE. This is Krenzel, and come third quarter when OSU is trailing, McMullen's outlet. They have two quality TE's, Tim Stratton-esque who can spread the defense. Hold these guys to less than 45 yds combined, and I like Purdue's chances.
    2. Don't let Krenzel run. That is really his only weapon. As long as he keeps thinking this, Purdue is in good shape. Not including Sack yardage, if he only scrambles for 15 yards or less, I like Purdue.
    #3 is not shut down the running game. That is inevitable. OSU has "rejuvinated" against Penn State, IU, and MSU. Let me repeat PSU, IU, and MSU. Unless Coach Spack tries something wacky against Tressels Trodging Offense that fails miserably, OSU won't run for more than 100 total yards...which would be good.
    Real #3. Absolutely no turnovers. Yeah sure, not really going out on a limb here. But even if they have to punt on a three and out, it is better than getting the crowd and OSU into the game with TOs.

    Don't get me wrong, OSU has grown on me lately, I have become a fan and even went to the Fiesta Bowl. But the media ills me daily. I want nothing more than for them to lose. They aren't that good, but they keep winning...because of defense and turnovers. If the weather is good, and for god sakes, if Purdue can try not to be intimidated...which hell even Minnesota has won lately, they will be fine. The crowd is normally lame, but I can see them pretty jacked because all the 1 loss teams are down to three for the BCS, but if purdue gets up 13, which might be possible, I can see a win. So my prediction:

    based before OSU - michigan state last weekend: Purdue 24-OSU 13, but after last weekend Purdue 20 OSU 17.

    Go Boilers
    Boilerdaveb from Columbus OHIO. I will be in the student section 9A seat 24, wearing gold, and probably blood red by the end of the game.

    Tiller, Tressel seek different kinds of balance

    By Bill Curry
    Special to
    Purdue University will play football against The Ohio State University in Columbus, Ohio this Saturday. Ho-hum, because all smart football people know what happens to the Boilermakers in Ohio Stadium every other year. Twelve of the past 13 times they have been beaten, so why should this year be any different? Or so goes the conventional wisdom.

    Let's do something strange and think about it this time. Stay with me here, because Jim Tressel of Ohio State and Joe Tiller of Purdue are talking about being balanced and they are serious.

    We are going to examine the fact that these two men mean entirely different things when they use the word. We will define a variety of meanings and show how their thinking will affect the outcome of the big contest.


    The Daily Word - Weekly Previews
    By Andy Gamm

    "Purdue at Ohio State - Game Time: 3:30 EDT / TV: ABC
    Hands down, the Game of the Week in the Big Ten. Ohio State controls it's own destiny. If the Buckeyes win here and beat Michigan, they may even find themselves defending the national title in the Big Easy. Purdue needs a win here and an OSU victory in Ann Arbor to go to the Rose Bowl for the second time in four years. The Boilermakers are fully on track after a pummeling in Ann Arbor three weeks ago. Ohio State looked solid in all phases of the game in a nice ten point win over then fellow co-leader Michigan State. The Buckeyes also got the advantage of having faced the spread offense a week before this tilt. That said, Purdue is a far better running team than MSU out of this offense. Then again, no one is better at stopping the run than the Bucks. See what I mean? Make sure you leave time on your "honey-do" list to take in this game. It will be a battle.

    Ohio State doesn't have the luxury that rival Michigan does. The Wolverines can afford a worse effort and still ride talent to a win in Evanston. The scarlet and gray cannot do that. Purdue, bad loss to Michigan aside, is a well-balanced team and maybe as suited to take the Buckeyes to task as any team in the Big Ten - including Michigan. Not much separates these teams in nearly all the statistical categories. That means it comes down to mistakes and whether or not Purdue can manage to run against the vaunted and lightening fast OSU defense. And don't be fooled by the passing numbers the Spartans put up on the Buckeye secondary last week... the front four still got great pressure on Jeff Smoker and the corners are great in man coverage. So, Purdue simply has to get balance, and force Ohio State to honor the run. If the Boilers can manage some success on the ground, that makes the passing attack even more potent. With all else being even, including fantastic special teams units, the home field edge and the chance to go back to the championship game are the difference makers. OSU holds off a late rally and sets up a showdown in Ann Arbor. OHIO STATE 17 - PURDUE 16.

    Buckeye Nation says... The conference game of the week with Big Ten title and major bowl implications at stake for the winner of this battle of two of the conference's elite teams. Purdue had the Buckeyes on the ropes in last year's contest in West Lafayette when Craig Krenzel struck lightning with Michael Jenkins in the "Holy Buckeye" play late in the 4th quarter that kept OSU on its National Championship course. Rest assured, the Boilermakers have not forgotten the sting of that loss in a season where they have avenged the sting of almost every close loss they suffered last year. Rest assured too, that OSU cannot afford to look ahead to the following week to their annual showdown against arch-rival Michigan in Ann Arbor. The Boilers are coming off an impressive win against Iowa, while some say that the Buckeyes are coming off their best offensive performance of the year against MSU. This is the 2nd of 3 major tilts with ranked conference opponents for the Buckeyes, and they will be bidding farewell to 24 seniors who last year helped the Buckeyes capture their first undisputed National Championship in 35 years. Look for the Buckeyes on senior day to continue their quest for another Big 10 title and shot at consecutive national titles. OHIO STATE 27 - PURDUE 13"


    Football Game Notes

    Purdue-Ohio State: Nov. 15, 2003

    Nov. 10, 2003

    Game Notes in PDF Format
    Download Free Acrobat Reader

    "No. 11/10 Purdue Boilermakers (8-2, 5-1 Big Ten Conference)
    at No. 4/4 Ohio State Buckeyes (9-1, 5-1 Big Ten Conference)
    Ohio Stadium (101,568) - Columbus, Ohio
    November 15, 2003 - 3:30 p.m. EST

    ALL-TIME RECORD: 537-455-48 (.539) - 116th season
    BIG TEN RECORD: 289-317-32 (.478) - 108th season

    PROJECTED ATTENDANCE: 105,000 (sellout)

    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), Gary Kline (engineer)

    TELEVISION: ABC - Brad Nessler (play-by-play), Bob Griese (analyst), Lynn Swann (sidelines); ESPN College GameDay will originate from Columbus with host Chris Fowler and analysts Lee Corso and Kirk Herbstreit beginning at 10:30 a.m. EST

    A LOOK AT THE BOILERMAKERS: The 11th/10th-ranked Purdue football team visits fourth-ranked Ohio State on Saturday, Nov. 15, at Ohio State in Columbus, Ohio. The Boilermakers and Buckeyes are tied with Michigan for first place in the Big Ten, all with 5-1 conference records. Purdue is one of merely two schools in the Big Ten and one of only 13 nationally to play in a bowl game each of the last six seasons, and the Boilermakers are bowl eligible again this season.

    * They will have nine wins for the third time under Joe Tiller (also 1997 and 1998) and for the 11th time in school history (including a 10-win season in 1979).
    * They will beat four ranked teams in a season for the first time in school history.
    * They will snap at five-game losing streak at Ohio State."


    Too early for bowl talk
    Purdue has its hands full with Ohio State
    By Michael Pointer
    November 12, 2003

    WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. -- Purdue football coach Joe Tiller is thankful for an experienced team this year for many reasons.

    One of them right now is that it isn't dwelling on what bowl game it will be participating in.

    "I don't think that's ever really a problem for a team, even if it can't avoid it," Tiller said. "They get asked that when they go to class."

    Instead, the 11th-ranked Boilermakers have concentrated on each week's opponent, in this case potent Ohio State. The game day focus is a good thing for the players. If they are unable to stay on task, the various bowl scenarios could be a major distraction."


    Who are the best unknown defensive players in each league?

    Big Ten
    "Those with some semblance of college football knowledge know all about the type of playmaker Purdue safety Stuart Schweigert is. Yes, he’s the leader of the Boilermaker defense, but the All-American isn’t the key to the team’s veteran defense. 260-pound pass rushing terror Shaun Phillips is the team’s main difference maker forcing Big Ten quarterbacks to look as ugly as Kyle Orton’s sideburns. No Big Ten defensive end consistently gets into the backfield more than Phillips does bringing a linebacker’s athleticism with a tackle’s toughness against the run. He’s not just great at getting into the backfield, but he’s also solid at breaking up passes and dropping into coverage. By making the plays he does, Purdue can leave its corners in more one-on-one situations and allow Schweigert to free-lance."


    Words cannot describe impact of Purdue victory Saturday

    By Tom Kubat, Journal and Courier

    "One of the more popular questions the Purdue football coaches and players had deal with this week concerned the size of Saturday's game at Ohio State.

    The size of the game?

    You betcha. In terms of just how big a game this is, from Purdue's perspective.

    The question was asked in one of two ways:

    "Is this a benchmark game for the Purdue program?"

    Or, "Is this a statement game for the Purdue program?"


    Editor in chief returns for final picks§ion=sports&storyid=editorspicks
    "Last week, editor in chief Jason Tomcsi showed that he still had it in him to make intelligent picks (kind of). So he gets the chance to come back and match up against his young protégés, sports editor Doug Elish and assistant sports editor John Jeanguenat. Win or lose, this is the last time Tomcsi's Testimony will be made.

    No. 11 Purdue (8-2, 5-1) at No. 4 Ohio State (9-1, 5-1)

    Tomcsi's Testimony: So I'm back again this week to show the young ones how to get it done. But this game could be the one that hangs me up the most. The Ohio State offense, despite showing some signs of life last week, is still not that good. But the Buckeyes keep winning. I think this game is a defining moment for the Boilermaker football program. If Purdue wants to claim it belongs in the top 10 and be among the elite, then it has to win big games. At what point do the Boilers exorcise the demons of the past? I guess this week is as good as any. Purdue 13, Ohio State 10.

    The Juggernaut: As I said in Thursday's column, this will be a close one but the home advantage of the 'Shoe is enough for the Bucks. Ohio State 23, Purdue 21.

    Doug's Decision: The Boilers exorcised their Madison demons, fell short in Ann Arbor and travel to the final destination on the Big Ten road season from hell Saturday. This is probably the most evenly matched the Boilers have been with the Buckeyes in a long time and it'll show. This game's going down to one big play just like last year. The difference this time is that the Buckeyes will be the ones hanging their heads at home. Boilers 16, Ohio State 13"


    Boilers recognize talent in Buckeyes' offensive line

    By John Kraft
    Staff Writer§ion=sports

    "The Purdue football team won’t be caught expecting another erratic offensive performance from Ohio State on Saturday.

    "They’ve had their troubles this year, but I’m not buying into that," senior linebacker Niko Koutouvides said.

    The Buckeye offense has managed just 324.7 yards per game this year, which ranks 96th in the nation. As evidenced by their inability to score an offensive touchdown against both San Diego State and Iowa, the No. 4 Buckeyes (9-1, 5-1 Big Ten) have struggled from both inconsistency and injuries.

    One of those injuries was to senior quarterback Craig Krenzel — the player both Koutouvides and coach Joe Tiller point to as a key for the Buckeyes."


    Different styles produce same results for ends

    Phillips, Smith atop Big Ten in sacks, tackles for loss

    By Tom Kubat, Journal and Courier

    "One is a big, powerful force, sort of like a runaway Mack truck that is more likely to run over you rather than put the moves on you.

    The other is a quick, elusive type, sort of like a waterbug that is more likely to use a whole lot of shake-and-bake to get around you rather than brute strength.

    The former is Ohio State's Will Smith. The latter is Purdue's Shaun Phillips.

    Together, they're arguably the two best defensive ends in the Big Ten Conference, and they'll be on the same field Saturday when No. 11 Purdue travels to Columbus to play No. 4 Ohio State in famed Ohio Stadium.

    "I'm more of a run-around type of guy, someone who uses a little more technique," Phillips said. "He's going to hit you in the mouth and make plays like that. We've got kind of opposite games but I know one thing, he loves to get to that quarterback and so do I."


    Senior anchors defense with heart, soul

    By Jessie Ruppel
    Staff Writer§ion=sports&storyid=index

    "When he first started dreaming about the big leagues, Gilbert Gardner wasn't thinking about football at all.

    He wanted to play professional soccer because, in his neighborhood, soccer was the thing to do.

    It wasn't until fifth grade that the senior linebacker took interest in football and fell in love with the game.

    "All of the kids in my neighborhood started playing football, so I asked my dad and he said I could play," said Gardner."


    Schweigert Named All-American By CBS's Dennis Dodd

    Selection could bode well for future honors

    Nov. 13, 2003

    "WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. - Purdue's Stuart Schweigert has been named an All-American by Dennis Dodd of CBS, a selection that could bode well for future honors.

    Dodd is a member of the Football Writers Association of America All-America committee, and that organization's selections often pave the way for other All-America picks.

    Says Dodd of Schweigert: "Should be the Big Ten Defensive Player of the Year."

    Schweigert, the Boilermakers' senior free safety, is joined in the defensive backfield by DeAngelo Hall of Virginia Tech, Derrick Strait of Oklahoma and Sean Taylor of Miami (Fla.). "


    Weekly Football Press Conference

    Selected coach and player quotes from Tuesday, November 11

    Nov. 11, 2003


    Joe Tiller, Head Coach

    On comparing last year's Ohio State/Purdue matchup to this year...
    "We have a different team and they have a different team, but they have many of the same faces and we have many of the same faces. Our team is playing at a more confident level now than they were a year ago, and I think their team is also, particularly offensively. Their team has made a huge move since they got their quarterback back. He missed a couple of weeks, and since he's rejoined the lineup, it's apparent to us on tape that this in an Ohio State team that's playing with a tremendous amount of confidence. Having said that, I think we can throw out or discard last year's game."

    On being in position to compete for the Big Ten title...
    "This is what you hope for when you start the season. I think the season is actually a game itself, except it's played out over twelve weeks instead of four quarters. We've always maintained that we've wanted to be in a position to win a football game in the fourth quarter, and if we were there often enough, we would win our share of games. I think from a season point of view you want to have an opportunity to win something towards the last quarter of the season, and that's where we find ourselves. You always, every year, hope you find yourself in this position, and this just happens to be one of those years that we are."


    Michael Pointer: Purdue Q&A
    Indianapolis Star sports reporter Michael Pointer answers your questions about the Boilers.

    November 10, 2003

    "Question: When the Boilers get in the red zone, they cannot overpower a good defensive line with the inferior linemen they have. Joe Tiller is a great coach with the talent that he can get to come to Purdue. What can he do to get better linemen to come to Purdue? (A.J. from Kalamazoo, Mich.)

    Answer: Keep trying to recruit the best. Tiller has said in the past that even though he feels like Purdue has closed the depth gap with some of the Big Ten powers, offensive line is an area where it struggles a little bit. It looks to me as if Purdue still is trying to make up for the loss of a tremendous offensive line from 2000. (Earlier this season, all five of those guys were on either an NFL roster or practice squad.)

    Would I put Purdue on the same level yet as Michigan or Ohio State? Of course not. It's a bad year for Michigan if it doesn't go to a New Year's Day game, and Ohio State won the national title last year. But Purdue has a chance to win at least a share of its second Big Ten title in four years. That's quite an accomplishment at any school, including the two I mentioned. I don't think the Purdue players, coaches and fans should have to walk around with an inferiority complex, either."


    Polls give high rank to Purdue§ion=sports&storyid=pollscolumn
    "If you happened to glance at the latest college football polls, you may have noticed something you've never seen in your lifetime (faculty and grad students excluded).

    And you might not see it again for a while.

    It doesn't involve TCU or the fact that three MAC schools are in the AP top 25.

    It does, however, have everything to do with a certain Big Ten co-leader from West Lafayette and three national championship "usual suspects."

    The No. 11 Boilermakers are ranked higher than the three major Florida schools — Miami, Florida State and Florida — for the first time since the late '70s, when Mark Herrmann was taking snaps at Purdue.

    With Miami losing to Tennessee — its second consecutive loss — and Florida State getting embarrassed by Clemson in Bowden Bowl V, both schools dropped below Purdue in the ranks."


    Playing in band helps Purdue's Terrill relax

    By Michael Pointer
    November 14, 2003
    WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. -- Purdue defensive tackle Craig Terrill figures life can't get much better.

    "If playing football and playing music are as close as I ever come to a real job, I'll be fine," the former Lebanon High School standout said with a smile.

    It's been quite a few months for Terrill, a four-year starter who had never been considered a star on the Purdue defense before this season.

    He's second on the team in tackles for loss with 11.5, including 6.5 sacks heading into No. 11 Purdue's game at No. 4 Ohio State on Saturday. He and defensive end Shaun Phillips have formed a superb duo when lined up next to each other.

    "I think Terrill is playing as well as any tackle in the country," Michigan coach Lloyd Carr said before the Wolverines played Purdue on Oct. 25"


    Doing the dirty work gets Cardinal minutes,1413,82~10835~1763426,00.html

    "In a hard-earned 87-85 overtime victory over Detroit on Wednesday night, perhaps you also noticed the balding, pasty, unfamiliar guy playing all the important minutes in the fourth quarter and OT with the vets ... and looking as if he belonged to boot.

    Is it too early to call Brian Cardinal the next Earl Boykins? Maybe not, since Warriors coach Eric Musselman effectively did following Cardinal's latest unanticipated stellar performance.

    Cardinal didn't set a career high in points for the fourth consecutive game -- he "only" scored 13 in this one -- but he logged an astounding 36 minutes. He came in for Mike Dunleavy with 8:54 to go in the third quarter and simply never left the floor again. That he did it in a gutty Warriors victory only added to its noteworthiness.

    Cardinal has been producing most nights, which is why he's getting healthy minutes despite being an almost total unknown. This latest game was pretty typical for the stocky 6-foot-8 forward -- a half-dozen rebounds, 50 percent floor shooting, perfect free-throw shooting (7-for-7) and a whole lot of plays you never see in the boxscore: diving saves, loose-ball scrambles, vigorous pick-setting, aggressive defense.

    It takes a coach not set in his ways to take note of a guy who does the little things as well as the big things well, and fortunately for Cardinal, Musselman is one of those coaches. Musselman did not hesitate a millisecond when asked how a player with no real resume to speak of could get such important minutes in such an important game.

    "Because he plays winning basketball," he said. "There are guys who play winning basketball, and there are guys who just play. He does what it takes to win."


    Boilermakers have potential to provide Keady his finest hour
    By Michael Pointer
    November 13, 2003

    "WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. -- Purdue coach Gene Keady rejected the notion that this season's Boilermakers are similar to his 1995-96 team, the last Purdue men's squad to win a Big Ten title.

    Instead, he intimated the current group has a chance to be even better.

    "This team is kind of different for some reason," said Keady, who begins his 24th season on Nov. 23 when Purdue hosts Samford. "It seems to have a better harmony to it and better chemistry early. You can see it.'

    That 1995-96 team may have been Keady's finest coaching job. Purdue was picked to finish in the middle or bottom half of the Big Ten, but instead went 26-6 and won the school's third consecutive outright title.

    The 2003-04 Boilers also are picked around the middle of the Big Ten pack. A poll of reporters who cover the league picked them to finish fifth."


    Not scared anymore
    Purdue's Brandon McKnight played tentatively at times last season, but his confidence is soaring this year.

    By Michael Pointer
    November 13, 2003
    "WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. -- Technically, last year wasn't Brandon McKnight's freshman season. The ultra-quick point guard was listed as a sophomore on Purdue's roster.

    But nearly everyone close to the Boilermakers -- including McKnight -- says the class listing should have come with an asterisk.

    "It was weird," said McKnight, a former standout at South Bend LaSalle High School and Indianapolis Star Indiana All-Star in 2001. "Playing in the Big Ten and running the show was hard. I think I was scared to make a mistake."


    Athlon Sports Sideline Spirit Contest

    Vote for Purdue Cheeleader, Mandy Zeigler.
    This morning I got word that some video shot in April at Purdue is up for inclusion in EA Sport's March Madness 2004 game. Please go and vote for Purdue on the link below.


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