From the moment Brady Hoke accepted the Michigan job, Danny Hope’s days at Purdue were numbered. Hoke, as you have probably noticed, has a severe mental condition which causes him to confuse similarly named things. Doctors believe this condition is responsible for his insistence that Ohio University is the Wolverines’ arch-rival (Fig. 1) and even his marriage to Laura Homberger (Fig. 2). So, even if Hope hadn’t failed on the field, Hoke would have eventually called for his removal after showing up at the wrong campus one too many times.
There was a moment in 2012 where Hope might have actually had a chance to still be around in 2013. As you remember, the 3-3 Boilermakers were up 8 on the Buckeyes with less than a minute remaining in the game. Star QB Braxton Miller was on his way to the hospital and no doubt Hope had turned to imagining the celebratory Sunday headlines, unaware that he was about to get smooth-jazzed out of a job.
So now former Tressel assistant Darrell Hazell takes the reigns and if you thought Wisconsin’s Gary Andersen was inexperienced, then Hazell is like a coaching newborn. With just two years at Kent State under his belt, it’s nearly impossible to guess what Hazell will bring to the Boilers. His two primary assistants (OC John Shoop and DC Greg Hudson) have shown an ability to improve their respective sides of the ball at previous stops, so that’s a good sign. In addition, Hazell has consulted with former Purdue QBs Kyle Orton and Drew Brees, so it’s likely that we’ll see the pass-happy basketball on grass style of offense that most of us associate with good Purdue teams.
That’s all well and good, but the spot of interest for Buckeye fans on Hazell’s staff is at offensive line, where the B1G will witness the return of the Wal–wait, no way, you’re kidding… he didn’t just say what I think he did, did he?
For some reason, Hazell has snagged Jim Bollman from Boston College to coach his offensive line. I’m assuming the buyout for Bollman was a bag of magic beans. While Bollman won’t be involved in play-calling for Purdue, he will be expected to actually coach the offensive line. To block defenders. You don’t really need me to tell you how bad he is at this specific task, for which he has been collecting paychecks nearly as long as I’ve been alive, but I’m going to anyway. Last year, as the OL coach for Boston College, he turned in a unit that ranked near the bottom of the country in the two major statistics that signal offensive line strength: rushing offense and sacks allowed. BC averaged 91 yards per game on the ground, good for #119 (out of 124). On top of that, they gave up 34 sacks (#102), nearly 3 per game (#106).
UPDATE: Bollman has been hired by Michigan State head coach (and former OSU defensive coordinator) Mark Dantonio to serve as the Spartans’ OFFENSIVE COORDINATOR. The Walrus has somehow managed to do absolutely nothing and get a better job for it. His mere existence forces me to question the very nature of our universe.
Still, I have high hopes for Hazell at Purdue. Bollman’s firing is an inevitability and I’d put the over/under for that one at First Day Of Spring Ball. Shoop and Hudson will get things moving in the right direction and as long as Hazell gets enough time to build the team he wants, he’ll have the Boilers threatening for B1G titles eventually.
Ridiculously Early And Entirely Baseless Prediction for 2013: 4-8 (Losses to Cincinnati, Notre Dame, Wisconsin, Nebraska, Michigan State, Ohio State, Iowa, Penn State)