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Darrell Hazell urges ‘soul-searching’ from Boilers

Updated: September 21, 2013 11:04PM



MADISON, Wis. — This was a different Darrell Hazell.

No talk about Purdue having made progress or strides, or having improved.

“We have to do a good job as a football team of soul-searching,” he said after the Boilermakers fell 41-10 to No. 24 Wisconsin on Saturday at Camp Randall Stadium. “Obviously, that’s not the way Purdue football wants to play, and we need to get a lot better. … We have to take a long look at ourselves — coaches and players — and make sure we’re making the correct steps to make sure Purdue football gets better.

“When you hit this point, four games into the season, and you take a little bit of a step back — which I think we did — we have to look inside ourselves and find out who’s going to fight. I don’t think anyone won’t fight — I’m not questioning our fight — but we have to get better. That’s the question.”

The Boilermakers seemed to have turned a corner in last week’s 31-24 loss to Notre Dame at Ross-Ade Stadium. But this game against the Badgers had a feel more like the blowout at Cincinnati and the escape against Indiana State.

“Right now we’re finding our identity,” tackle Bruce Gaston said when asked about the defense, before broadening his scope. “We know that we’re dominant — that’s what Purdue football is in general. We’re a dominant football team, we’re a fast football team, hard-hitting — all those words describe Purdue football. That’s not what we were today. We all have to step up.”

The Boilermakers vowed to get back to work in practice this week.

“We had a good game last week, but we can’t just depend on that game,” safety Taylor Richards said.

Banged up: Purdue’s secondary continued to be hit by injuries, with cornerbacks Ricardo Allen and Frankie Williams both leaving Saturday’s game.

Allen appeared to hurt his right ankle in the middle stages of the third quarter, gingerly walking off the field after the game. The standout senior had suffered what was initially termed a high ankle sprain at Cincinnati, though he played against Indiana State.

Williams appeared to hurt his shoulder early in the third quarter.

With Allen and Williams out, cornerbacks Antoine Lewis and freshman Leroy Clark, as well as Normondo Harris, saw additional time for the Boilermakers, who lost safety Landon Feichter to a broken leg against Indiana State.

Also, right guard Jordan Roos departed the field after the game wearing a walking boot on his left foot.

Early start: For the first time since 2007 (Sept. 22 at Minnesota, then Sept. 29 vs. Notre Dame), Purdue played its first Big Ten game before completing its nonconference schedule, with Northern Illinois upcoming. This game against Wisconsin was the Boilermakers’ earliest in conference since 1996, when they opened the season on Aug. 31 at Michigan State.

In the summer of 2012, this game was moved from Oct. 26 to Sept. 21, largely to help facilitate the Badgers’ addition of BYU to their schedule.



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