Michigan Football: Coach’s Corner — Michigan at Purdue — Big Ten Opener for Both Teams
Michigan hits the road to Purdue next week to open the Big Ten season. There may have been an easier draw, and there certainly would be tougher draws. With Ohio State not going to the conference championship game, the Boilermakers have as good a chance as anyone in the Leaders Probation Division.
Purdue is a great choice for an undergraduate and graduate career in advanced math and engineering and joined the Big Ten as a charter member in 1896. The football program has had ups and downs in every decade. The 1960’s produced several top ten teams and featured a high-powered offense led by Mike Phipps and Leroy Keyes. The program is noted for producing top-flight quarterbacks that include Len Dawson, Bob Griese, and Drew Brees, a likely NFL Hall of Famer.
Purdue is off to a 3 and 1 start, having beat Eastern Kentucky, Eastern Michigan, and Marshall, while losing a close game to Notre Dame. The points have been flying and this is the best start for Purdue in several years. Purdue is averaging over 42 points and more than 450 yards of offense per game.
Robert Marve is injured but Caleb TerBush is essentially a starting choice 1b. The view here is that he may give Michigan a tougher match-up than Marve. This is a reasonably mobile quarterback that can get on a roll and provide a big game. He is averaging about 200 yards of offense a game.
Running back has been by committee, but Akeem Shavers and Akeem Hunt lead the way. As always Purdue’s running statistics include receivers and several backs.
The receivers have many contributors and three receivers already have more than 15 catches. Ross, Edison, and Bush all are averaging near 10 yards a catch and as a team Purdue has 12 touchdowns through the air.The front four on defense is very stout. Sophomore defensive end Ryan Russell from Texas has been in the opponent’s backfield several times for sacks and tackles for losses. He is big at 275 pounds and mobile. His bookend, junior Ryan Issac, weighs in at nearly 300 pounds. The tackles are notable talents. Kawann Short and Bruce Gaston are both over 300 pounds and will be tough to move. Both have already contributed good statistics in this short season.
This is a good Purdue team. Both teams will try and run and may find the going a little tough. Purdue’s offense is better set up to pass, but that has been the case in many previous games with mixed results. Special teams appear to be similar. So, throw in the Purdue home field advantage and this game should be a game both teams will need to execute well to win. But opener or not, this is a major hurdle for both teams and the play should indicate the urgency.
Next up, a look at how each team presents problems for the other.
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Written by GBMWolverine Staff
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