WEST LAFAYETTE -- In a Monday morning staff meeting, Darrell Hazell outlined a plan to ignite Purdue’s struggling passing attack.
Starting with Saturday’s game at Penn State, it will be a more aggressive offense that utilizes the rocket arm of quarterback Danny Etling. The Boilermakers will try to space the field with their passing game. The success must come from four of Purdue’s promising receivers.
“That is Deangelo Yancey, Danny Anthrop, Cameron Posey and B.J. Knauf—those guys can make some plays for us,” Hazell said. “We’ve got to get those guys ramped up these last three weeks, because they can be pretty special.”
The numbers for Purdue’s offense aren’t pretty. It ranks 122nd in yards per game and points per game. Even worse, the Boilermakers’ record currently sits at 1-8. It’s time to take some chances.
Purdue’s offense will likely become more aggressive with the passing game, starting Saturday when it faces Penn State. There are playmakers in place and high potential for a young unit.
“We’re going to really try to work Danny and B.J., DeAngelo and Pose,” offensive coordinator John Shoop said. “We’re trying to get the ball downfield as much as we can.”
It starts with Etling, the film junkie who spends most of his day locked away in the Mollenkopf Center. His work ethic has spread throughout the locker room.
“He’s in the film room 24/7,” said Yancey of the freshman quarterback. “It’s definitely rubbing off on a lot of guys and it has definitely rubbed off on me.”
Added Shoop: “Some of these freshmen, they really set the tone for everybody in how to prepare. That’s encouraging. We’ve got a long, long way to go, but these guys are willing to do it.”
In five games of action, Etling hasn’t seen much success. He has completed less than 50 percent of his passes, throwing for just four touchdowns and five picks. Through it all, he remains fascinated by the film each week, working to learn from those errors.
“He still makes mistakes but he works his tail and getting better,” said Shoop. “Everybody that’s a Boiler fan needs to know that.”
As Etling grows, the entire offense will progress. The entire unit will take strides as one.
The Boilermakers have seen success in practice, but it has only come in spurts each Saturday. Still, their confidence hasn’t wavered.
“We’ve got a lot of potential, but we need to work on is going from potential to reality and putting that on the field on Saturday,” sophomore receiver Danny Anthrop said. “You can have all the potential you want, but if you’re not putting it out there, we’re not doing our jobs as players.”
Saturday will be an interesting experiment for the Boilermakers’ young offense. Can Etling lead Purdue on an air show? Even the slightest steps forward would be encouraging. He certainly has the tools to work with.
“I think for where we are right now, I think those are the guys that kind of identified themselves as the guys that can go out and make plays for us right now,” Hazell said.
This is the core that will carry Purdue through the near-future, the beginning of Darrell Hazell’s tenure in West Lafayette. There’s a promising group of playmakers in place.
On the practice field and in the film room, these young Boilermakers are working to get better. Now, they must turn their potential into plays on Saturdays.
“We’ve just got to put it together,” Anthrop said. “If we put it together, we’re going to be a heck of a squad.”