Spring Preview: Purdue QB battle will heat up

There is a sense of renewed optimism in West Lafayette with the dawn of the Darrell Hazell era. The former Kent State coach and long-time Ohio State assistant has built a strong staff and brought a winning attitude to Purdue. How quickly can he develop an offensive identity? That will be key in trying to get the Boilermakers to a third bowl in a row. Keep an eye on the quarterback battle and offensive line, the two biggest keys for 2013.

BTN provides live coverage of Purdue’s spring game at 1 p.m. ET Saturday on BTN2Go only. It will then air at 9 p.m. ET Monday on BTN/BTN2Go. Track the Boilermakers football chatter on our BTN.com Purdue Connect page.

BACK IN 2012 …

Record: 6-7 overall; 3-5 Big Ten; lost to Oklahoma State in Heart of Dallas Bowl.

Day Date Opponent Time TV Result
Sat. Sep. 1 vs. Eastern Kentucky 3:30 PM ET  BTN W 48 – 6
Sat. Sep. 8 at 22 Notre Dame 3:30 PM ET  NBC L 17 – 20
Sat. Sep. 15 vs. Eastern Michigan 12:00 PM ET  BTN W 54 – 16
Sat. Sep. 29 vs. Marshall 3:15 PM ET  BTN/BTN2 W 51 – 41
Sat. Oct. 6 vs. Michigan 4:00 PM ET  BTN L 13 – 44
Sat. Oct. 13 vs. Wisconsin 12:00 PM ET  BTN/BTN2 L 14 – 38
Sat. Oct. 20 at 7 Ohio State 12:00 PM ET  ABC/ESPN2 L 22 – 29
Sat. Oct. 27 at Minnesota 3:30 PM ET  BTN/BTN2 L 28 – 44
Sat. Nov. 3 vs. Penn State 3:30 PM ET  ESPNU L 9 – 34
Sat. Nov. 10 at Iowa 12:00 PM ET  BTN/BTN2 W 27 – 24
Sat. Nov. 17 at Illinois 3:30 PM ET  BTN/BTN2 W 20 – 17
Sat. Nov. 24 vs. Indiana 12:00 PM ET  BTN/BTN2 W 56 – 35
Tue. Jan. 1 vs. Oklahoma State* 12:00 PM ET  ESPNU L 14 – 58

KEY LOSSES

Offense: WR Antavian Edison; QB Robert Marve; RB Akeem Shavers; QB Caleb TerBush

Defense: CB Josh Johnson; T Kawann Short

2012 Offense (FBS Rank)
Yards: 5235 (55)
Passing Yards: 3100 (57)
Rushing Yards: 2135 (54)
Points per game: 28.7 (65)
Yards per game: 402.7 (58)
Touchdowns: 46 (50)
Field Goals: 9 (104)

OUTLOOK ON OFFENSE

A new staff means a new offense, which never was a strength during the disastrous Danny Hope era. NFL vet John Shoop is the coordinator of what figures to be a pro-style offense that will feature a rushing attack. Is the personnel on hand to execute it? Help is needed at running back with top rusher Akeem Shavers gone. Freshmen backs will have to help. And more playmakers are needed at wideout for an attack that lacks big-play punch.

Keep an eye on the quarterback spot, which is up for grabs with Robert Marve and Caleb TerBush gone. Rob Henry is back, but he saw limited action under center in 2012 and may not fill the bill. Instead, pay attention to redshirt freshmen Austin Appleby and Bilal Marshall along with touted incoming freshman Danny Etling, who already is on campus. It looks like the race may come down to Henry and Appleby.

Developing the line is key. This was a unit that disappointed in 2012 and never was a strength under Hope. Purdue needs bigger, tougher and stronger players up front. C Robert Kugler could be special. Top returning WR O.J. Ross is suspended for the spring for a wideout corps that needs help.

2012 Defense (FBS Rank)
Yards: 5406 (89)
Passing Yards: 3041 (75)
Rushing Yards: 2365 (90)
Points per game: 31.2 (89)
Yards per game: 415.8 (78)
Touchdowns: 45 (79)
Field Goals: 17 (96)

OUTLOOK ON DEFENSE

New defensive coordinator Greg Hudson needs to develop a linebacking corps that hasn’t been good in over a decade. The lack of playmakers is astounding. Stud DT Kawann Short also must be replaced, but there is some talent up front as well as in the secondary.

T Bruce Gaston could be a difference maker, while E Ryan Russell may emerge as one of the top pass rushers in the Big Ten. CB Ricardo Allen will be the cornerstone of a secondary that could be solid. This defense must get tougher vs. the run.

2013 SCHEDULE

Day Date Opponent Time TV Result
Sat. Aug. 31 at Cincinnati TBA
Sat. Sep. 7 vs. Indiana State TBA
Sat. Sep. 14 vs. 4 Notre Dame TBA
Sat. Sep. 21 at Wisconsin TBA
Sat. Sep. 28 vs. 22 Northern Illinois TBA
Sat. Oct. 12 vs. 25 Nebraska TBA
Sat. Oct. 19 at Michigan State TBA
Sat. Nov. 2 vs. 3 Ohio State TBA
Sat. Nov. 9 vs. Iowa TBA
Sat. Nov. 16 at Penn State TBA
Sat. Nov. 23 vs. Illinois TBA
Sat. Nov. 30 at Indiana TBA

**

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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