2018 Purdue Boilermakers College Football Preview

America East Tournament Preview
Purdue is on the rise, but can it manage to replace its losses on the defensive end?

2018 Purdue Boilermakers College Football Preview

Head Coach: Jeff Brohm
2017 Record: 7-6; 4-5 Big Ten
2017 Bowl: Foster Farms Bowl, 38-35 win over Arizona
Odds to win Big 10: +8500
Odds to win Big 10 West: +1600
Odds to win National Title: +50000

Offense

Jeff Brohm has more or less lived up to his label as an offensive surgeon and guru. He turned the Purdue program around in a major way, and over his four seasons as a college football coach, he has posted a 37-16 mark. Last year, in his first year at Purdue, he brought the team seven victories and a Bowl appearance. The Boilermakers are absolutely on the rise.

The fact that Purdue returns so many starters, of course, bodes extremely well for it improving on last year’s impressive season. There is a ton of depth at running back (four great options) and the OL is experienced and good enough to capitalize on their respective talents. The Boilermakers also return a pair of QBs that are both coming off major injuries. David Blough suffered a dislocated ankle last year, and Elijah Sindelar went down with an ACL tear.

The two-man rotation is unique and potent when both are healthy. Blough is a better scrambler and better decision maker, but Sindelar is perfect for pro-style offenses at 6’4” with a strong and powerful arm. He is a former baseball pitcher, and he topped 90 MPH on the radar—the man has a rifle to push the ball down the field. What is a shame for Sindelar is that Purdue’s WRs, thus far, have hardly been up to the challenging of hauling in his bombs.

Jackson Anthrop has great hands and is a nice target from the slot, while Rondale Moore is lightning-quick and a nice option, too. The issue is that beyond these two there is not much, and Purdue’s top two seniors both managed only one TD between them after transferring to Purdue in 2017.

Defense

Nick Holt and Anthony Poindexter are co-defensive coordinators, and Holt instilled a hybrid 4-3 system aimed at stopping running attacks primarily. That makes plenty of sense in the Big Ten, of course. The Boilermakers radically improved defensively last year, going from No. 117 in the nation to No. 24 between 2016 and 2017.

The team does lose seven of its defensive starters, and it is going to rely on redshirt freshman junior LB Markus Bailey (played OLB last year) and junior DT Lorenzo Neal. Beyond those two returning talents, however, there are no others in the front seven. The secondary is not great, but senior safety Jacob Thieneman went from being a walk-on to a full-time starter last year. He’s pretty much a genius and serves as a coordinator on the field, and junior Navon Mosley can play the nickel position while having started 22 games thus far in his career.

Special Teams

Joe Schopper is a superb punter, and he is also one of the best at fake punts. He averaged 40.5 yards per punt last year. Kicker Spencer Evans will aim to beat out Kornblue Kicking (tough odds with that being his last name?) for the kicker role, but Evans split time last year with JD Dellinger. Do not count out Kicking, starting at Kicker (this is too easy!)…Returns are pretty much up in the air.

Final Word

Brohm proved himself further as a coach by turning Purdue around so rapidly, as the Boilermakers had not appeared in a Bowl game since 2012 till he arrived. Losing most of his defense is going to really hurt badly, but the offense is so strong it might not matter—at least in terms of Purdue putting together a winning season.

Prediction: 8 wins

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