#84 Purdue Football 2017 Preview

Purdue Boilermakers
Overall Rank: #84
#12 Big Ten
It's a new era in West Lafayette as Purdue moved on from the Darrell Hazell experiment last December and hired Western Kentucky’s Jeff Brohm. One guarantee for Boilermaker fans moving forward is that Brohm will bring back a very high octane offensive mindset that will give Purdue a better chance to be more competitive on an annual basis. The hire of Brohm also signifies that the athletic department is more committed to investing in football, which is sorely needed at Purdue.
2016 Record: 3-9, 1-8
2016 Bowl: None
Coach: Jeff Brohm (0-0 at Purdue, 30-10 overall)
Offensive Coordinator: Brian Brohm, Tony Levine
Defensive Coordinator: Nick Holt, Anthony Poindexter
Returning Leaders:
Rushing: Markell Jones, RB, 616 yards
Passing: David Blough, QB, 3,352 yards
Receiving: Cole Herdman, TE, 344 yards
Tackles: Markus Bailey, LB, 97
Sacks: Gelen Robinson, DT, 5.0
Interceptions: Markus Bailey, LB, 4
Other Key Returnees: C Kirk Barron, RT Matt McCann, DT Eddy Wilson, LB Ja’Whaun Bentley, CB Da’Wan Hunte, S Navon Mosley, K J.D. Dellinger, P Joe Schopper
Key Losses: WR Cameron Posey, WR Bilal Marshall, RB Brian Lankford-Robinson, WR DeAngelo Yancey, S Leroy Clark, DT Jake Replogle, DE Austin Larkin
David Blough is back at quarterback and will have to do a better job of taking care of the football as the Boilermakers were one of the worst teams in the nation turnover margin wise. Markell Jones will be the primary running back and should have plenty of opportunities in 2017 to be a 1,000 yard rusher as Purdue should run a lot more plays this season. Tight End will be another position of strength as Cole Herdman and Brycen Hopkins combined for 45 catches and 527 yards last season. If Herdman and Hopkins can double that production then the offense will be in fantastic shape. The offensive line is going to be a critical issue to be addressed as outside of center Kirk Barron, the unit is not loaded with experience and talent so it will be important to keep Blough upright in order for the Boilermakers to get better offensively this season.
Co-defensive coordinators Nick Holt and Anthony Poindexter have six returning starters to work with as they embark upon rebuilding the Purdue defense. Markus Bailey is the best overall playmaker as Bailey had 97 tackles and four interceptions last season. Danny Ezechuwuku and Ja’Whaun Bentley round out the linebackers and they combined for 102 tackles. Pressure on the quarterback from the defensive line is something that has to improve in 2017 as the Boilermakers averaged 1.75 sacks per game. Gelen Robinson and Eddy Wilson should be solid at defensive tackle and there is some talent on the edge at defensive end that will need to improve upon very solid spring performances this fall. In the secondary, it will be up to guys like Navon Mosley and C.J. Parker, along with transfers T.J. Yallow and Josh Okonye, to make more plays as opponents completed 59 percent of their passes last season against Purdue.
The Bottom Line:
It will take some time to rebuild the Boilermaker program under Coach Brohm as they will need time to recruit the right players to truly fit their systems on both sides of the ball. However, with the right level of buy in and progress in player development in 2017 this Purdue team should be more competitive even if the record doesn't necessarily portray it. The schedule will be a challenging one as the Boilermakers will open against Louisville in Indianapolis and play Michigan at home on September 23rd. If Purdue can knock off Ohio and Missouri in non-conference play they will have a chance at four or five wins this season as they should be able to steal a game or two in conference play.
Projected Bowl: None
2016 Team Stats:
Rushing Offense: 96.2 (125th in nation, 14th in conference)
Passing Offense: 294.9 (21, 1)
Total Offense: 391.1 (80, 7)
Scoring Offense: 24.6 (101, 11)
Rushing Defense: 238.4 (115, 13)
Pass Defense: 207.4 (38, 8)
Total Defense: 445.8 (91, 13)
Scoring Defense: 38.3 (117, 14)
Turnover Margin: -1.42 (128, 14)
Sacks: 1.75 (91, 12)
Sacks Allowed: 2.42 (91, 11)


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