As Spring football begins around the Big 10, we’re going to go around to each team in the conference and check in to see where the programs are at in the offseason. For each team, we’ll provide a Spring Football primer that contains some of the pertinent information for each team including looking back at 2010 and looking forward to the the 2011 season. Up first is a team that has struggled to find a footing in the league after Joe Tiller’s retirement. Purdue is the first of the Big Ten schools to have their Spring game, and it will be televised on Big Ten Network tonight. Can Purdue Boiler Up the standings this year? Let’s check Purdue’s Starting 11…
1) 2010 Record: 4-8, (2-6, T-9 Big Ten)
2) Bowl Result: None. Purdue missed a bowl game for the 3rd straight season.
3) 4 Year Average: 5.25 Wins, 7 Losses overall. 2.75 Wins, 5.25 Losses in Big Ten play
4) Best Win: Oct 9, 20-17 Win @ Northwestern
5) Worst Loss: Nov. 30, 34-31 OT Loss vs Indiana
6) 2010 Season Headline: Six straight losses ended the season after Purdue started conference play 2-0. The Boilers lost to Ohio State and Wisconsin by a combined 83-13 score and lost the Old Oaken Bucket to Indiana in OT for only the third time in 11 years.
7) 2010 MVP: Ryan Kerrigan, DE – The Big Ten’s Defensive Player of the year is a sure 1st Round NFL Draft selection and will be sorely missed on Purdue’s defensive front. He had 25 sacks the last two seasons and leaves West Lafayette as the Big Ten’s all-time leader in forced fumbles with 14. Kerrigan was Purdue’s only selection to the conference 1st team and their first unanimous All-American choice since 1980.
8) Key Losses: Kerrigan, RB Dan Dierking, WR Cortez Smith, WR Keith Smith, LB Jason Werner
9) Key Returners: QB Rob Henry, RB Ralph Bolden, OT Dennis Kelly, DT Kawann Short, CB Ricardo Allen
10) Recruiting Rankings: Rivals – #12 Big Ten, 15 commits, 2.75 stars average score.
11) Big Question For 2011: Is this Rob Henry’s team?
-It sure looks like it at the moment as the sophomore was named an offensive captain for the Boilermakers and given the starting QB job by head coach Danny Hope this Spring. Henry has taken over the job from Miami transfer Robert Marve after originally replacing Marve when he suffered an ACL injury midway through last season. Henry impressed by winning his first career start last year on the road at Northwestern and led the Boilermakers in both passing and rushing in 2010. However, he threw 8 TDs and 7 INTs and only completed 53% of his passes as well. Henry’s rise to the top of the Purdue depth chart has to be a surprise for a guy that was an afterthought coming out of Florida. For the moment, Danny Hope has to place his faith in the sophomore to lead Purdue back to respectability and ultimately save his job. Purdue fans can’t have much patience left for a program that has spent the last few seasons near the bottom of the Big Ten.