The Heat is on as the Frogs Face the Boilermakers
September 13, 2019
Hello from Chicago! Had to stop in here to see some Windy City Frogs on the way to West Lafayette.
Happy Week 3 of the college football season. The open week was nice last week, but I’m ready to get back after it. How about you? I think the Frogs are ready, too.
It’s the Frogs’ first trip to the state of Indiana since playing Notre Dame in 1972. Interesting that TCU just hasn’t had more matchups with Big 10 teams over the years. There was a stretch in the late ’90s/early 2000s when the Frogs played Northwestern. And then the Buffalo Wild Wings Bowl versus Michigan State in 2012… sorry I brought that one up!
It will be interesting to see Ross-Ade Stadium and it’s 57,236 seats. I’ve never been there. There’s plenty of football history. For years, Purdue had quarterbacks boiling-up like beignets. It was “QB U” — Len Dawson, Bob Griese, Mike Phipps, Mark Hermann and don’t forget Drew Brees. Purdue has gone through a lot of coaches, too. Here’s one for you: What former Purdue head coach first led a college program in Texas before taking over in West Lafayette? Read on for the answer.
Purdue has given head coach Jeff Brohm a new, seven-year, $36.8 million contract to keep steering the locomotive. Talk about shoveling on the coal. Brohm flirted with his alma mater Louisville late last year and the powers at PU wanted to keep him. They like the direction of the program, which has been more competitive and has recruited well. Purdue has become a force in Midwest recruiting and the talent level is improving. Injuries, however, are having a say as to how much of that talent can be on the field. The bug has already bitten Purdue hard. Sound familiar?
Biggest question for Saturday is the condition of the Boilmakers’ cannon-armed QB Elijah Sindelar. He suffered a “slight concussion” last week against Vanderbilt and is a game-time decision. His backup is Jack Plummer, a guy with QB pedigree. He’s the son of Arizona State legend Jake Plummer who spent time in the NFL, mostly with the Cardinals. The younger Plummer, a redshirt freshman, is a bit of a mystery as he’s not seen the collegiate field. TCU Head Coach Gary Patterson said it doesn’t matter as the offensive system Purdue runs will likely stay the same. Purdue runs a creative offense that features WR/Waterbug Rondale Moore. He moves around a lot and if he’s not in motion, then he’s not on the field. He’s a weapon and a decoy all at the same time. Picture Jeremy Kerley in a Purdue uniform. Yep, fast and strong and he makes the return game work for the Boilermakers. Tight end #89 Brycen Hopkins is one of the best in the country and he’s a red zone target at 6-5. The Boilermakers haven’t run the ball with much success (averaging just 2.7 yards per attempt) mainly due to the fact that Purdue is trying to straighten the rails along the offensive line, where only one returning starter exists now that right tackle Matt McCann has torn up his ankle. However, Purdue might test the Frogs front, especially if they’re starting a redshirt freshman at QB. Zander Horvath is a 230-pound running back who’s powerful and surprisingly quick.
On defense, Purdue improved in the Brohm era. A creative scheme that employs a “LEO” (part LB/part DE) that #55 Derrick Barnes plays well and adds pressure, which is something Purdue has lacked. The linebackers are solid, but news came down this week that their best LB, Markus Bailey injured a knee and is out for the season, which will prompt some lineup shuffling by defensive coordinator Nick Holt. The secondary is young with five of the eight defensive backs in the rotation being freshmen or sophomores. They’ll have their hands full with TCU’s fleet of wideouts. Free safety #27 Navon Mosely is the best of the bunch and is in charge back there.
For the Frogs, I’m looking forward to a more intense Red Zone effort and more physicality from the offensive line. Field goals won’t cut it. The offense needs a fast start on the road and I’m looking forward to peeking deeper into the playbook in this one. The Frogs have lots they haven’t shown. Defensively, this game brings lots of questions but also tons of opportunity for this unit that is chomping at the bit to get back on the field. I also believe TCU can handle Purdue up front and derail the Purdue offense. Redshirt freshman QB = bring the pressure.
Oh, and the former Texas coach? Fred Akers, who coached the Boilermakers from 1987-1990 after he was dismissed by UT. All Fred Akers did at UT was win 83 percent of his games.
The weather in West Lafayette will be spring-game-like. Clear and in the upper 70s at kickoff. We’re on the air on TCU Sports Network at 5:30 p.m. CT. Lend an ear!