Purdue looks to get defensive at home
by michael osipoff 648-3137 or email@example.com November 8, 2011 11:04PM
The Big Number
62 — Points Purdue allowed against Wisconsin, the most in a game in
Big Ten Freshman of the Week Raheem Mostert set the school record for kickoff return yards in a game and kickoff return average in a game. He had 206 yards on five returns against Wisconsin, topping the previous record of 184 on six by Stan Brown at Ohio State on Nov. 15, 1969. And his 41.2 averaged topped Brown’s 39.5 average on four returns against Iowa on Oct. 18, 1969.
“He has a real knack for returning kicks — I think he’s a natural kick returner in a lot of ways,” Hope said. “He’s very courageous and he’s a wide-open player, and I think that’s part of being a good kickoff return man. And he’s very fast, one of the faster guys on our team, and would be one of the fastest guys on most people’s teams. ... Sometimes you get a track athlete that tries to play football, but he’s a great football player that has great sprinter speed.”
Updated: December 10, 2011 10:01AM
After “hitting the bottom” with its loss at Wisconsin, Purdue will try to rise up against Ohio State on Saturday at Ross-Ade Stadium.
So, what’s the Boilermakers’ mental state as they undertake that process?
“Our confidence is OK, and will be OK,” Purdue coach Danny Hope said on Tuesday.
“We had a great practice on Sunday, and a lot of guys stepped up and are ready to lead. The tempo was excellent on Sunday after the game, and I thought they got right back to work and got back on course. I saw them respond and saw the things that we need to see. We need to make sure we see it every day and then Saturday — that’s when it counts.”
The Boilermakers (4-5, 2-3 Big Ten) particularly need to see improved defense against the Buckeyes (6-3, 3-2).
Purdue allowed a combined 98 points and 1,140 yards in back-to-back blowout losses at Michigan and at Wisconsin. The Badgers, who had 605 yards, hit seven plays of at least 20 yards, with three for at least 25. The Wolverines had six plays of at least 25 yards.
“We have given up a lot of big plays in the last couple of weeks — a lot of big plays — and we have played against a couple of really explosive offenses there,” Hope said. “They had great numbers coming into the game and we couldn’t control them.
“A lot of it is the result of missed assignments, and a lot of the missed assignments are the result of, because you give big plays up, you have to chase the football further. Those four-second plays turn into seven-, eight-, nine-second plays and that really can wear your defense down in some ways. So we have to reduce our number of missed assignments. It’s a vicious cycle — give up big plays and you’re chasing the football and you’re tired. So we need to make fewer missed assignments and don’t give up as many big plays, and that can really increase the performance of our defense significantly.”
Injury update: Left guard Peters Drey was expected to miss his second straight game because of a back injury, and could miss the duration of the season. James Shepherd and Kevin Pamphile, who recently switched from the defensive line, were expected to play the position against Ohio State, after also having done so at Wisconsin.
“I don’t know if we’ll have Peters back for a while, which means he could be out for the remainder of the season,” Hope said. “... The report is not good. I’m not optimistic about him being available this week.”
Defensive end Ryan Russell, limited to about 20 snaps against the Badgers because of a sprained right ankle, should be closer to 100 percent against the Buckeyes.
“I think he’s jogging today and he wasn’t doing that on Tuesday of last week,” Hope said. “So it’s similar but a little better than last week, and he’s getting better.”
Sophomore defensive tackle Ryan Isaac, a Michigan City graduate, was expected to miss the rest of the season with a torn ACL suffered in practice leading up to the Wisconsin game.