Purdue’s Pressure

Purdue Boilermakers Football Ryan Kerrigan

Purdue’s Pressure

The Boilermakers posted a mediocre 4-8 record last year, which ended in a miserable six game skid. Losing six straight games is a rough way to end your season, but considering they had to battle through a very strong Big Ten schedule, it wasn’t all that surprising. However they do have something to hang their hat on….their pressure defense. Purdue produces a lot of negative plays.  They ranked 14th in the nation in sacks, and 4th in tackles for a loss, leading the Big Ten in both categories.  Looking at Purdue’s defense, which gave up 28.75 points per game last year, which was 7th in the Big Ten, most people would never have guessed they would be the leader in the Big Ten in sacks and tackles for a loss.  Unfortunately for Purdue this pressure defense didn’t result in many wins. Many times applying pressure to the quarterback fills many holes in the defense. With Purdue, it didn’t work. The defense gave up tons of points and yards and was abused week in and week out by every opponent they faced. It is hard to figure out how come Purdue can rank so highly in this disruptive defensive categories yet struggle mightily on the defensive side of the ball. I am sure that is something the coaching staff is taking a look at and trying to figure out how to translate those disruptive plays into a more sound defense. There are a few things that could be skewing the stats however. For one, Purdue got blown out in most of their losses. This meant that the opposing team’s backups were playing quite a bit. Backups are backups for a reason. They are not as talented and they don’t know the playbook or the scheme as well, so negative plays are more likely to happen. Of course, having a guy as talented as first round pick Ryan Kerrigan doesn’t hurt either. He made a ton of plays for Purdue, recording 12 sacks and notching 29 tackles for a loss, which lead the entire nation.

The Boilermakers lost Ryan Kerrigan to the NFL so replacing him is going to be very difficult. He was the heart and soul of the defense and their leader in disruptive plays. Purdue’s coaching staff is going to not only have to figure out how to turn their disruptive defense into a more formidable one, but also how to replace Kerrigan, which will be even more difficult. Chances are it is going to take a platoon of players to fill his absence. Purdue’s coaching staff has a difficult offseason ahead of them, trying to figure this all out in hopes for a better 2011-2012 campaign. Look for Purdue to continue to apply pressure to opposing offensives again this season but don’t expect them replicate their sacks and tackles for loss this year. Purdue will likely be working on stopping third downs or second and long plays throughout fall camp in hopes that they can get off the field and not get embarrassed every week. The Big Ten is an extremely challenging conference and Purdue looks to be improved this season, but still not competing for a Big Ten Championship, so pay attention to their disruptive defense and look for the Boilermakers to hang their hat on that again this year.

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