Dienhart: Purdue staff coming together

Purdue announced the official hirings of six assistants for new coach Darrell Hazell’s staff. Defensive coordinator Greg Hudson; offensive line coach Jim Bollman; linebackers coach Marcus Freeman; cornerbacks coach Jon Heacock; receivers coach Kevin Sherman; running backs coach Jafar Williams. It’s a nice blend of youth and experience, giving Hazell a good base to build from.

Freeman, Heacock and Williams worked for Hazell at Kent State. Bollman comes from Boston College but worked with Hazell at Ohio State as offensive coordinator under Jim Tressel. Sherman was at Virginia Tech. Hudson was at Florida State and has no direct ties to Hazell.

Hazell still needs to fill out his offensive staff, led by the hiring of a coordinator. No one is sure what type of offense the Boilermakers will run under Hazell, who has offered few specifics. I feel Purdue should embrace its history as a passing school that has developed many great quarterbacks like Len Dawson, Bob Griese, Mark Herrmann, Jim Everett and Drew Brees, among others. That is the school’s identity. And identity is what the offense lacked under Danny Hope. Purdue has a couple of young, promising quarterbacks in redshirt freshman Austin Appleby and incoming freshman Danny Etling who can throw.

The defense also needs at least one more hire: The line. It’s not known if Hudson will coach a position. And who will handle special teams?

The most high-profile higher is Hudson, who was assistant head coach/linebackers coach in Tallahassee under Jimbo Fisher. Hudson has been a defensive coordinator at East Carolina and Minnesota. He is considered to be one of the best in the business.

Bollman, 58, is the veteran of the staff who has coached in the NFL with the Eagles and Bears and at colleges like Michigan State, Virginia and N.C. State in addition to Ohio State, where he was for all of Tressel’s 11 seasons (2001-11).

About Tom Dienhart BTN.com senior writer Tom Dienhart is a veteran sports journalist who covers Big Ten football and men’s basketball for BTN.com and BTN TV. Find him on Twitter and Facebook, read all of his work at btn.com/tomdienhart, and subscribe to his posts via RSS. Also, send questions to his weekly mailbag using the form below and read all of his previous answers in his reader mailbag section.

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