Last year, we teamed up with the Purdue blog, Hammer and Rails, to answer some questions about our program and bring you some info on theirs. In 2010, with Purdue back on the Toledo schedule, we’ve teamed up with them for a Q&A about their program and what we can expect to see from them this year. Head below the fold to see the their answers to our questions about the state of football in West Lafayette and what the Rockets can expect on Saturday.
1) What is the status of Robert Marve? Will he play this weekend or rest with the Big Ten schedule right around the corner?
Marve is a bit banged up right now. Coach Hope stated that his knee is sore, but he is still expected to play this weekend. This is frustrating because he was playing very well agaisnt Ball state before he tweaked his knee. Rob Henry has played in all three games at quarterback, but he has mostly been a running threat. I am seriously questioning his ability to move the ball through the air if he is in.
I think Marve will start, but don’t be surprised if Henry takes a large number of snaps if the knee is still bothering him. Henry has to improve his passing, as his only significant completion was the tipped pass to Cortez Smith last week.
2) O.J. Ross and Antavian Edison saw playing time at the RB position against Ball State. Do you see that happening again this week?
Edison was lining up at running back in the Notre Dame game as well, so I would expect that. You might see Ross as well, but Al-Terek McBurse is supposed to return this week. They lined up back there last week mostly out of necessity. McBurse was out and Dan Dierking was not 100%. If both are healthy I would expect them to get most of the carries, but Edison and Ross could get a carry or two depending on the situation.
3) What does the Keith Smith loss do to the Purdue game plan and how will they have to adjust?
With Smith gone we lost our best possession receiver. He’s the guy that we could go to if we needed a first down. Few corners could match his size and strength. So far, things are going well. Cortez Smith filled in very nicely last week, and I expect Edison, Ross, and Justin Siller to play bigger roles as well. We tried to get Gary Bush involved more last week as a deeep threat, but we couldn’t connect. I think spreading the ball around was a necessity anyway, so maybe it will help the offense in the long run.
4) What facet of the Rocket game gives you the most concern – running game, passing game, tough defense that has been creating a lot of turnovers, etc. ?
Mostly the defense. Our offense has not performed well so far. Out of 12 quarters, I would say it has had one excellent quarter with both first quarter drives against Ball State. Other than that, there have been too many three and outs and we have not put away teams like Ball State and Western Illinois. Our defense has played well, answering those three and outs each time, but we’re not moving the ball nearly as well as we used to.
5) It’s still a full season away (at least) but what good/bad ramifications do you see Purdue facing by Nebraska joining the Big Ten ?
I am actually kind of glad we don’t play them the first two years of Big Ten play. The scehdule makers were not kind to us. We’re in the same division as Penn State, Ohio State, and Wisconsin. Iowa was paired as our cross-division rival, and we get Michigan the first two years from the other division as well. I admit that I would be overjoyed if we play Nebraska before 2013 because it means we’re playing them in a great bowl this year or the Big Ten Championship game.
Thanks again to Hammer and Rails for taking the time to answer our questions and give us a preview of what the Purdue / Toledo matchup has in store for us.