2010 Purdue Preview – Offense
Purdue WR Keith Smith
CollegeFootballNews.com 2010 Preview - Purdue Boilermaker Offense
Preview 2010 - Offense
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What You Need To Know: The offense was able to rally behind a slew of relatively untested players to come up with a decent year, and now it'll take even more patching to be done with only two starters returning up front and with the devastating loss of top RB Ralph Bolden to a knee injury. Keith Smith is an All-America caliber receiver who leads a devastating group with some terrific young speedsters waiting to break out, and Al-Terek McBurse is a good running back prospect who could take over for Bolden and shine. But the hopes and the potential could be destroyed in a hurry if the line doesn't come together right away and if the quarterbacks are solid. Miami transfer Robert Marve and sophomore Caleb TerBush have talent, but they need time.
Star of the offense: Senior WR Keith Smith
Passing: Caleb TerBush
4-10, 22 yds
Rushing: Ralph Bolden (INJ.)
200 carries, 935 yds, 9 TD
Receiving: Keith Smith
91 catches, 1,100 yds, 6 TD
Player who has to step up and be a star: Sophomore RB Al-Terek McBurse
Unsung star on the rise: Redshirt freshman WR Gary Bush
Best pro prospect: Junior OG Ken Plue
Top three all-star candidates: 1) Smith, 2) Plue, 3) TE Kyle Adams
Strength of the offense: Receivers, Young Talent
Weakness of the offense: Offensive Line, Running Back
Projected Starter: Junior Robert Marve has had a star-crossed career and is looking to finally show that he was worth all the hype. A superstar recruit for Miami, and supposedly the next big Hurricane quarterback, he was a disaster on and off the field with a few legal issues and academic troubles to go along with just nine touchdown passes with 13 interceptions in 2008. He's not all that big at 6-1 and 210 pounds, but he has a live arm and decent mobility. While this might seem like a new start, he's not a sure thing to stay in the No. 1 job and he still has to prove himself. Staying healthy would be a plus after tearing his ACL last year in practice, and he has to show he can handle adversity.
Projected Top Reserves Sophomore Caleb TerBush has just enough talent to see playing time even if he's not the starter. The 6-5, 222-pound bomber has the best passing skills on the team and is mobile enough to avoid the rush and work his way out of trouble. He ran for 859 yards and 16 touchdowns as the leader of an Illinois state championship team, but his upside is as a passer. In a little bit of garbage time against he completed 4-of-10 passes for 22 yards.
While Marve and TerBush are the clear top two guys at the top, the Boilermakers have two redshirt freshmen who'll battle for time. Skyler Titus is a 6-2, 228-pound walk-on with good mobility, and Rob Henry is a 6-2, 198-pounder out of Florida with the most talent of the bunch. In the hunt for Mr. Florida in 2008, he's a good leader who should eventually be the perfect fit for what the offense wants to do.
Watch Out For … a quarterback derby all season long. Whichever one doesn't win the battle for the starting job will be lurking, and while it's not like there will be a quick hook, the starter will always have to be on.
Strength: Upside. Marve was a huge high school player with the skills to be special, but he has yet to find his groove. If it all kicks in at once, look out. TerBush has the size and the potential to give the Boilermakers a deadly vertical passing game.
Weakness: Experience. Marve stunk at Miami and TerBush has ten career throws. Neither one is a sure thing, and while there's plenty of promise, there might be some growing pains before the production kicks in.
Outlook: Joey Elliott came up with a nice year with 3,026 yards and 22 touchdowns, and while he was a baller, he was a limited talent. Now the Boilermakers have more skill with TerBush and Marve two excellent talents who could add far more to the position. There will be interceptions and mistakes, but the stats will be decent no matter who's under center and the payoff should be bigger.
Unit Rating: 7
Projected Starters: With the injury to Ralph Bolden, sophomore Al-Terek McBurse will likely be thrust into a starring role. The 6-1, 198-pounder was considered one of the nation's top all-around backs coming out of high school after rushing for 2,238 yards and 23 touchdowns, averaging 12 yards per carry, as a senior, but he didn't get much work last year with just four carries and no net yards. However, he was an excellent kickoff returner averaging 24.6 yards per pop with a touchdown against Indiana. The star prospect out of Florida is quick, tough, and could explode with the bigger role and the pressure on his shoulders.
Projected Top Reserves: This was supposed to be the year when Ralph Bolden exploded after leading the team with 935 yards and nine touchdowns, but he suffered a torn ACL this offseason and is iffy at best. The junior will get his year back if he chooses to sit the season out, and the injury happened early enough to hope that he could be ready to roll for 2011 with the potential to get his quickness back in a hurry. His production tailed off after starting out the year with 234 yards against Toledo and 123 against Oregon, with two touchdown runs in each game, and he caught 20 passes for 261 yards and two scores.
With Bolden's injury, the hope will be for wide receiver Keith Carlos to be solid running the ball. The 6-1, 193-pound senior got four starts and finished with 17 catches for 177 yards and two touchdowns, and while he's not necessarily built to be a running back, he's extremely quick and could flourish when he gets the ball on the move and in open space. The former JUCO transfer got a few carries for Lackawanna College and he could be a breakout star in the right situation.
Watch Out For … McBurse to be fantastic. He didn't get his chance last year with Ralph Bolden and Jaycen Taylor each getting all the work, but now he'll get a shot to explode.
Strength: Quickness. McBurse and Carlos can move. They might not be thumpers in any way, but they can come up with big gains both as runners and receivers.
Weakness: Experience. With Bolden out, the Boilermakers are relying on a receiver and a back with four career carries to handle the workload.
Outlook: Ralph Bolden came from out of nowhere to be terrific, and the hope will be for McBurse to do the same. The opportunities will be there, and there will be a few explosive games, but the ground attack will be wildly inconsistent.
Unit Rating: 6.5
Projected Starters: Keith Smith started out his career at safety after playing quarterback in high school. Now he'll be one of the nation's top wide receivers after making the switch just two years ago. The 6-2, 226-pound senior followed up a 49-catch season with an All-America-caliber campaign making 91 grabs for 1,100 yards and six touchdowns with four games (Notre Dame, Ohio State, Michigan and Michigan State) with 11 or more catches. He's big, tough, and just fast enough to hit the occasional home run, and while he doesn't have top-end, NFL wheels, topping out at around 4.6, he should be productive enough to get a paycheck at the next level.
Justin Siller will be a backup quarterback … a backup running back … a wide receiver. While he'll mostly be used as a running back as a jack of all trades, it's just a big deal that he's back on the team after being booted last year for academic issues. The 6-4, 220-pound junior is a terrific athlete who could be a dangerous dual-threat quarterback, can be used as an outside runner, and can be a matchup nightmare as a receiver.
Former JUCO transfer Cortez Smith stepped in and produced right away making 21 catches for 242 yards and a score in just nine games of work. At 6-2 and 180 pounds he has decent size and good enough speed to get deep. He's not a No. 1 target, but he can be used to exploit single coverage with all the attention paid to Keith Smith.
6-4, 251-pound senior Kyle Adams has good size and great smarts (earning honors for having the top GPA on the team), and nice hands. He overcame a knee injury suffered on the opening kickoff of 2008 to finish third on the team last year with 29 catches for 249 yards. He's not a field stretcher, but he's a great blocker and a reliable safety valve who doesn't make any big mistakes.
Projected Top Reserves: Redshirt freshman Gary Bush was expected to be a major factor last year but he tore an abdominal muscle early on. The 6-0, 175-pound speedster was a good recruit with tremendous quickness and jump-out-of-the-stadium athleticism, but he has to stay healthy and he has to be consistent. If it all comes together, "G.J." has the potential to be the team's most explosive target.
Redshirt freshman Xavier Reese was an excellent recruit two years ago out of Florida, and he has the potential to grow into a No. 1 target with a little bit of time. At 6-3 and 190 pounds he has good size and tremendous upside. He'll play in a rotation on the outside along with Cortez Smith.
5-10, 185-pound redshirt freshman Eric Williams might be the team's fastest player with legitimate sub-4.4 speed. While he's not big, he's as quick as a hiccup and can be a game-breaker of a deep threat with his warp speed wheels. He'll be used in a variety of ways and will get the ball at times as a runner and could get work as a kick and punt returner.
Sophomore Antavian Edison was a high school running back who got two carries for three yards and caught one pass for a 15-yard touchdown against Toledo. The 5-11, 175-pounder is extremely quick and will make the most noise as the team's top punt return option with a chance to use his 10.7, 100-meter wheels in the open field.
6-3, 245-pound senior Jeff Lindsay has been a longtime backup and got four starts last season finishing with 16 catches for 162 yards. The one time superstar safety prospect is a good athleticism and nice toughness, but he never panned out. He has one final chance to make a major impact.
Watch Out For … the Floridians. There's no question that Keith Smith is the star of the show, but the speed and upside comes from the Sunshine State. Reese, Edison, Bush, and Williams are all young, they can all fly, and they should all grow into a great group of receivers as time goes on.
Strength: Young speed. Keith Smith is H-Back slow, but he moves well for his size at the collegiate level. However, he's flanked by elite wheels with just about every other receiver prospect with the jets to stretch the field.
Weakness: Experience. Outside of Smith and Adams, the No. 2 returning wide receiver (not counting Keith Carlos, who'll move to running back) is Cortez Smith, who caught 17 passes. There's great upside across the board, but there isn't much in the way of proven experience.
Outlook: Helped by having a tremendous top target in Keith Smith, the receiving corps could blow up. There's a whole bunch of uncertainty among the reserves, but the Boilermakers have plenty of athleticism and just enough talent to come up with some big games. The numbers are always there for the Purdue passing game, and the skill is there to do more.
Unit Rating: 8
Projected Starters: OOne of the biggest question marks going into last season was at left tackle, but junior Dennis Kelly stepped in and was more than fine starting every game and growing into the role. A tight end in high school, the 6-8, 297-pounder has grown up and has grown bigger, and with his size, smarts, and experience, he's expected to have a tremendous season and become a fringe all-star candidate.
Along with Kelly, the only other returning starter to the front five is junior Ken Plue, a 6-7, 340-pound banger at right guard who started every game last year and the final six of 2008. The Honorable Mention All-Big Ten performer isn't great on the move, but he flattens anyone he can lean on and he's becoming more consistent. A superstar prospect coming out of high school, he's becoming enough of an anchor to work around for the hard, tough yards.
Taking over for starting left guard Zach Reckman is senior Justin Pierce, who has been a long time backup getting a little bit of spot starting duty getting the call in five games at right guard in 2008 and three times in 2007. However, with the consistency up front last year he only saw a time in two games and only as a backup. Now the 6-4, 325-pound veteran will work at right guard once again and could move to the left side if needed. He's durable and extremely strong.
Peters Drey is an offensive tackle prospect who'll move over to center. The 6-6, 292-pound sophomore is built more for the outside, and was a highly-ranked high school prospect as a tackle, but he should become an athletic all-around blocker who should shine with a little bit of time. He might not beat anyone up, but he'll be strong in pass protection.
Purdue isn't afraid to move defensive linemen over to the offensive side, and junior Nick Mondek will also make the change. The 6-5, 299-pounder made eight tackles and two sacks last year as a big, athletic defender, and he has the quickness and the toughness to do the job with a little time. He's not polished and he'll have some rough spots, but he has the raw skills to grow into the role over the next two years.
Projected Top Reserves: Sophomore Rick Schmeig earned the honor of being the team's most improved offensive player last spring, and now he'll get a chance to work at left guard. At 6-3 and 305 pounds he's a big blocker who's versatile enough to move to center if needed after getting a start on the left side against Notre Dame.
Zach Jones started every game at right tackle last season, and now it'll be up to fifth-year senior Ryan Prater to get a shot. He has yet to see any playing time over the course of his career. He's not all that big at 6-5 and 286 pounds, but he has a long frame and he has been around long enough to know what he's doing. However, the coaching staff will be looking to find the right fit at left tackle all season long if Prater isn't fantastic.
Originally a defensive end, 6-7, 277-pound redshirt freshman Trevor Foy moved over to offensive tackle and will see time in the mix at both outside spots. Considered to be a top pass rushing prospect, he has the athleticism and he has the burst, and now he has to try to transfer his skills into becoming a consistent pass protector.
Watch Out For … not all that much movement. Considering there are only two returning starters there might be a temptation to play around with the combination. The coaching staff is planning on coming up with a starting five and letting it work through the rough spots. Don't expect much tinkering once it's finally set.
Strength: Pass protection. Last year's line was solid when it came to giving the quarterback time, and while three starters might be gone, Kelly on the left side will be fine, Plue will be strong in the middle, and there should be decent enough athleticism across the front to keep the QBs upright.
Weakness: Experience. It's never a good thing when the projected starter at right tackle is a fifth-year senior and has never played a snap, and it's really not a good sign when defensive linemen are brought over to the offensive side to provide depth that needs to be counted on right away.
Outlook: There was only one game, Notre Dame, when the offensive line wasn't the same. Throw that continuity out the window this season as it'll be a hope and a prayer that the holes can be filled in immediately. This isn't going to be a rock of a line by any stretch, and the coaching staff will try to hide the problems with as many quick passes and running plays to the outside early on.
Unit Rating: 6
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2010 Purdue Defense |
Purdue Depth Chart
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