#59 Purdue Football 2012 Preview

Purdue Boilermakers

2012 Overall Rank: #59
#10 Big Ten Conference
Purdue College Football 2012 Team Preview
Purdue Team Page


Purdue got a nice gift when defensive tackle Kawann Short opted to return to West Lafayette, Indiana for his senior season. As a junior last year he tallied 54 tackles, 10.5 tackles-for-loss and 6.5 sacks. Short will lead the defensive effort up front, but he will have help from junior tackle Bruce Gaston. Defensive end Ryan Russell had a very promising freshman campaign and could be the pass rushing threat the Boilermakers need on the edge.

2011 Record: (7-6, 4-4)
2011 Bowl: Little Caesars Bowl vs. Western Michigan (W 37-32)
Coach: Danny Hope (16-21 at Purdue, 51-43 overall)
Offensive Coordinator: Gary Nord
Defensive Coordinator: Tim Tibesar

Returning Leaders:
Rushing: Ralph Bolden, RB, 674 yards
Passing: Caleb TerBush, QB, 1,905 yards
Receiving: Antavian Edison, WR, 584 yards
Tackles: Dwayne Beckford, LB, 91
Sacks: Kawann Short, DT, 6.5
Interceptions: Ricardo Allen, CB, 3

Other Key Returnees: S Max Charlot, G Peters Drey, OT Trevor Foy, CB Josh Johnson, LB Will Lucas, QB Robert Marve, WR O.J. Ross, DE Ryan Russell, RB Akeem Shavers, C Rick Schmeig

Key Losses: S Albert Evans, DE Gerald Gooden, LB Joe Holland, S Logan Link, WR Justin Siller, K Carson Wiggs

The front four may be able to hold the defense together, but this is still a team that will win games with their offense. For the first time in a while, Coach Danny Hope has a healthy returning quarterback. Caleb TerBush started all 13 games last year. He may not be among the great Purdue quarterbacks, but he did a pretty good job of running the offense and keeping the turnovers to a minimum. He could be in for a big senior season and has been working with the first team during practice. With a healthy Robert Marve and Rob Henry, the starting job will not necessarily stay with TerBush. Marve is a great talent who was supposed to step in and lead the Boilermakers before injuries gave TerBush the opportunity last season. Henry played very well in spurts two years ago before missing the 2011 campaign with a knee injury. Whoever ends up under center will have some decent targets. Antavian Edison is a versatile receiver who caught 44 passes for 584 yards and three touchdowns. He also rushed 30 times for 124 yards and two scores. O.J. Ross should be ready to go by the fall and he is a shifty receiver who can make things happen after the catch. Gary Bush and tight end Crosby Wright are the bigger targets that will make an impact in the red zone. While the passing game will be fine, Purdue will likely lean on their ground attack. Ralph Bolden has gotten in some trouble, but he is a powerful back who rushed for 674 yards and six scores last year. Akeem Shavers made a name for himself when Bolden was out for the bowl game and ended up as the MVP in the Little Caesars Pizza Bowl. The offensive line is strong, led by guard Peter Drey and tackle Trevor Foy, but depth could be an issue.

The defense was pretty bad last season, ranking ninth in the conference in total defense and scoring defense. The loss of linebacker Joe Holland will not help. Holland led the Boilermakers with 94 tackles and was the versatile linebacker who could get into the backfield and drop back in coverage. He actually was second on the team in pass breakups. Dwayne Beckford should move into the middle and take over the leadership role. However, he missed the bowl game and was off the team for a while so he will need to tread lightly. If Beckford is gone, the linebackers are in big trouble. Purdue even moved former quarterback Sean Robinson to linebacker to give the unit some depth. The secondary is strong on the corners with Ricardo Allen and Josh Johnson, but do need to replace both safeties. Players like Max Charlot, Taylor Richards and Normondo Harris have some experience, so the secondary could turn into a strength sooner than later.

The Bottom Line:
Purdue should be eyeing another bowl game. The defense has a ton of potential as long as the front four can get pressure on the quarterback on a relatively consistent basis. If that happens, the rest of the defense will follow and the unit as a whole should be a little better than they were last season. The offense should be interesting to watch. There are a lot of aerial weapons, although none of them have proven to be huge game changers. Bolden and Shavers could carry the load, but Purdue will want to put the ball in the air quite a bit too. If the quarterbacks and receivers live up to their potential, the Purdue offense could be quite potent. That may not get this squad competing for a Leaders Division title, but it could get them to a warmer climate for their bowl game.

Projected Bowl: Ticket City Bowl

2011 Team Stats:
Rushing Offense: 181.62 (33rd in nation, 5th in conference)
Passing Offense: 195.23 (83, 6)
Total Offense: 376.85 (71, 6)
Scoring Offense: 26.92 (60, 7)
Rushing Defense: 174.92 (82, 9)
Pass Defense: 221.00 (53, 10)
Total Defense: 395.92 (73, 9)
Scoring Defense: 26.85 (63, 9)
Turnover Margin: .08 (49, 6)
Sacks: 1.69 (77, 7)
Sacks Allowed: 2.23 (78, 7)

Madness 2013 NFL Draft Rankings
#12 Kawann Short