2007 Purdue Preview - Offense

Posted May 8, 2007

Preview 2007 Purdue Boilermaker Offense

Purdue Boilermakers

Preview 2007
- Offense

- 2007 Purdue Preview | 2007 Purdue Defense Preview
2007 Purdue Depth Chart | 2006 CFN Purdue Preview 

What you need to know:
The Purdue offense was like a big budget action movie with a ton of fireworks and explosions, but had a plot that goes nowhere. It cranked out yards in bunches but did absolutely nothing against the big boys scoring three points against Wisconsin, seven against Maryland, 17 against Iowa, and was shut out by Penn State. It'll be in the top ten in the nation in yards again with Curtis Painter getting a jaw-dropping good receiving corps to work with led by the amazing Dorien Bryant in the slot. The 1-2 rushing punch of Jaycen Taylor and Kory Sheets is the best yet in the Joe Tiller era, while the right side of the line, Sean Sester at tackle and Jordan Grimes at guard, along with center Robbie Powell, will be dominant. The left side of the line is a concern and there's no developed depth anywhere, but the starting 11 should move the ball at will.

Returning Leaders
Passing: Curtis Painter
315-530, 3,985 yds, 22 TD, 19 INT
Rushing: Kory Sheets
158 carries, 780 yds, 11 TD
Receiving: Dorien Bryant
87 catches, 1,068 yds, 6 TD

Star of the offense: Senior WR Dorien Bryant
Player that has to step up and become a star: Sophomore OG Eric Hedstrom
Unsung star on the rise: Junior RB Jaycen Taylor
Best pro prospect: Junior OT Sean Sester
Top three all-star candidates: 1) Bryant, 2) OG Jordan Grimes, 3) QB Curtis Painter
Strength of the offense: Receiving corps, experience
Weakness of the offense:
Overall depth, the left side of the line


Projected Starter
Junior Curtis Painter replaced Brandon Kirsch in 2005 because he could run the option well. Last year, Painter proved he could throw a little bit, too, bombing away 530 times completing 59% of his throws for 3,985 yards and 22 touchdowns. It's hard to avoid mistakes when you throw that often, but Painter still needs to cut down on the 19 interceptions he spread throughout the year. He bombed away for over 400 yards twice, threw for 398 against Notre Dame, and averaged a whopping 284.6 yards per game. At 6-4 and 223 pounds, he's a big, strong passer with the mobility to run for 181 yards and six touchdowns.

Projected Top Reserves: 6-2, 211-pound sophomore Joey Elliott saw a little bit of mop-up duty completing six of ten passes for 72 yards and a touchdown with an interception. While he's not the runner Painter can occasionally be, he's mobile for a pro-style quarterback. Known as a clutch passer in high school throwing for 7,797 yards and 80 touchdowns at Evansville High in Indiana, he'll get his shot next year. Maybe.

6-4 true freshman Justin Siller was the star of the recruiting class. With wide receiver speed and a decent arm, he has the tools to be fantastic, but he needs time to grow into a passer. Able to run the 40 in 4.7, he could be moved around if needed.

Watch Out For ... Painter to chuck it as much as ever. With the receiving corps he has to work with and the veteran line in front of him, there's no reason not to keep throwing and throwing and throwing some more.
Strength: Versatility. Painter and Elliott can both throw and run. Painter is more versatile than Elliot, but the offense has options with either one under center.
Weakness: Elliott doesn't have any appreciable experience. He's seen a little time here and there, but not enough to feel comfortable if Painter is slow getting up.
Outlook: Quarterbacks coach and co-offensive coordinator Ed Zaunbrecher is known for cranking out high-octane passers, and he's doing it again with Painter. Now Painter has to be even more efficient, make better decisions, and try to get his completion percentage up to around 65%. If he can cut down on his interceptions just a little bit, the Big Ten's most productive offense will become one of the most effective.
Rating: 7.5

Running Backs

Projected Starter
Junior Jaycen Taylor is officially listed as the starter coming out of spring ball coming off a strong season averaging six yards per carry with 677 yards and four touchdowns. A good receiver, he brought more pop to the passing game catching 26 passes for 261 yards and a touchdown as a consistent producer over the second half of the season. What he hasn't been is a workhorse only getting double-digit carries in four games. The former JUCO transfer isn't going to power over anyone, but he has the 4.5 speed to blaze through holes and around the corner.

Projected Top Reserves: Taylor might technically become the starter, but junior Kory Sheets will get more than his share of carries. Last year's leading rusher with 780 yards and 11 touchdowns is great getting into the end zone with 24 scores in two seasons including a punt return for a touchdown. At 206 pounds, he provides the power Taylor doesn't bring to go along with his excellent hands in the passing game.

True freshman Malcolm Harris is another do-it-all back who could see time right away if he proves he can catch on a consistent basis. With 4.4 speed, it might be too tempting to get him on the field right away.

Watch Out For ... a few more two-back sets. The offense will almost always revolve around the one tailback, but Sheets and Taylor will occasionally be in the backfield at the same time just to offer a different look.
Strength: Backs who know their roles. The Boilermakers aren't going to pound it 45 times a game, so the backs have to know their place and be productive as receivers, blockers, and hole-finders when defenses are on their heels against the pass.
Weakness: Depth. Sheets and Taylor got 271 of the team's 400 carries with Curtis Painter and Dorien Bryant combining for 95 of the other 129. If something happens to one of the two backs, there's no experienced backup ready to step in with Dario Camacho announcing after spring ball that he's transferring.
Outlook: Sheets was the main ball-carrier when the ground game was needed last season, but now it might be Taylor setting things up for Sheets to knock them down. Sheets will always be the closer around the goal line, but Taylor will get a lot more work.
Rating: 7.5


Projected Starters
There isn't a player in America who's produced more and received less national love than senior Dorien Bryant. All he's done is catch 205 passes over the last three seasons for 2,612 yards (12.7 yards per catch) and 13 touchdowns. He might not be a scorer, but he's rock-solid steady in the slot making play after play with only one game with fewer than four grabs last season. While not necessarily a deep blazer, he's lightning quick and tremendous at finding the openings.

On the outside will eventually be junior Selwyn Lymon as he returns from a stab wound to the chest that sent him to the hospital and kept him out of school for an extended period. He spent the spring recuperating and working on his studies, but he's expected to be all-back-full in time for the season. At 6-4 and 215 pounds, he has tremendous size for an outside receiver, and he showed how explosive he could be ripping apart Notre Dame for 238 yards and two touchdowns on eight catches. Now he has to be more consistent catching just 25 passes for 342 yards and one touchdown against everyone else.

6-3, 199-pound junior Greg Orton returns to the other receiver slot after finishing second on the team with 58 catches for 790 yards and five scores highlighted by a 13-catch, 144-yard day against Northwestern. He has enough deep speed to be used to open things up for Bryant and the tight ends, and his size creates several matchup problems.

Also returning is senior Dustin Keller, a former wide receiver who was the steadiest target behind Bryant catching 56 passes for 771 yards and four scores. He's not a bad blocker, but the 6-4, 240-pounder is like all Boilermaker tight ends and makes the most noise as a receiver.

Projected Top Reserves: While it's hard to see time with so many experienced receivers returning, but junior Desmond Tardy emerged this spring as a possible option to see more time in the slot. At 6-1 and 199 pounds, he's bigger than Bryant and finally seems to have figured out what it takes to be a receiver after coming to Purdue as a quarterbacks. He caught seven passes for 88 yards and a touchdown last season, and now he'll be more in the rotation

Senior Jake Standeford, the brother of John, a former Purdue star receiver, will play behind Lymon and could step in and start if needed. He's not anywhere near the player his brother was, but he's a smart veteran who finally became a scholarship player last season catching 11 passes for 122 yards and a touchdown.

Junior Joe Whitest is lightning fast, but he's mostly a special teamer when he isn't backing up Orton. He only made one catch for 20 yards after coming over from the JUCO ranks.

Quickly emerging at tight end is sophomore Kyle Adams, a 6-5, 251-pound target who caught six passes for 58 yards and a touchdown. He'll see far more time this year.

Watch Out For ... Lymon and Orton to get more work. Once Lymon returns, and assuming he'll quickly be in game shape, the offense will push the ball down the field even more. Now that the outside targets have experience, they should be able to torch the single coverage they'll see.
Strength: Experience. If you include the running backs, the top eight receivers from last year are back accounting for 306 catches for close to 4,000 yards. The receiving corps is loaded.
Weakness: Depth. Yeah, Tardy is better and Whitest has wheels, but there's no one of note to rely on if something happens to the top starters. The coaching staff will have to do everything possible to play the inexperienced backups just to get more options on the field.
Outlook: The receiving corps will be unstoppable. Dorien Bryant is an All-America talent who'll be good for 70+ catches, Selwyn Lymon, when he returns, and Greg Orton will be used even more to stretch the field. If you can handle the receivers, there's tight end Dustin Keller to deal with underneath. It's a talented, veteran group that should pave the way for another top ten season for the passing game.
Rating: 10

Offensive Linemen

Projected Starters: Loaded on the right side, the Boilermaker have one of the best tandems in America in guard Jordan Grimes and tackle Sean Sester. The 6-3, 325-pound Grimes is one of the Big Ten's best run blockers and doesn't quite fit the Purdue mold. He's a mauler playing in a finesse offense, and he's adapting as he became a great pass protector last season. Tremendously strong, he simply overwhelms most tackles.

The 6-7, 325-pound Sester came into his own hitting the weight room and getting much stronger while keeping his athleticism. He's quickly growing into an all-star, literally, as he continues to fill out his frame.

Also returning to the starting mix is fifth-year senior Robbie Powell, a 6-5, 307-pound tone-setter for the line with a high motor and nasty attitude. Versatile enough to play guard, which he did as a sophomore, he found a home in the middle.

The question marks are on the left side where Mike Otto and Uche Nwaneri have to be replaced. 6-8, 275-pound junior Garret Miller is expected to start at left tackle despite missing most of spring ball with a shoulder problem. While not heavy, his big frame and long arms make him impossible to get around in passing situations. Injuries has been a problem throughout his career, but he's a smart player who's ready to take over. 6-6, 303-pound sophomore Eric Hedstrom also had a shoulder injury this spring as he's trying to fill in for Nwaneri at guard.
He's a big-time prospect who hasn't gotten any real work yet and will be the X factor of the offense.

Projected Top Reserves: With Miller missing time this spring. 6-4, 295-pound senior Dan Zaleski stepped in and played extremely well.
A reserve throughout his career, the walk-on has been around long enough to be part of the rotation.

Pushing for time behind Hedstrom will be sophomore Justin Pierce, who at 6-4 and 332 pounds is the biggest player up front. He's very, very strong and should be great for the running game.

Former tight end Cory Benton is an athletic, but light, reserve behind Powell at center. The 275-pounder saw a little bit of time and has played a little at tackle.

Watch Out For ... the left side to be fine. Miller and Hedstrom can each play, but Miller has to prove he can stay healthy and Hedstrom has to live up to his potential.
Strength: The three starters. Sester, Grimes and Powell will all be worthy of All-Big Ten honors. They're all tremendously talented and they'll be the ones the offense works behind.
Weakness: Depth. The coaching staff is trying to piece together the starters on the right side much less the depth. The machine will quickly break down if injuries strike early on.
Outlook: How good was the line last season? It allowed 22 sacks in 542 pass attempts. It's not a pounding front five for the ground game, but it's good for what the offense wants to do and opens up the lanes for the backs without much of a problem. Sester, Grimes and Powell are special, and if the left side can come together, something it wasn't able to do this spring, the line will be a strength again.
Rating: 7.5


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