Sunday, October 29, 2006

Purdue-Penn St

Purdue coach Joe Tiller often refers to his offense as “basketball on grass.” To use basketball terms to describe how it’s been lately for Purdue, the Boilers are having trouble getting good shots and when they do, they’re shooting airballs.

That was evident again today in a 12-0 loss at home to Penn St. The biggest problem seems to be the inaccuracy of sophomore QB Curtis Painter. Today, Painter was 22-39 for 178 yards and two interceptions. One of those killed the Boilers’ best scoring chance of the day late in the first quarter. Shortly after threading the needle on a pass over the middle to Dustin Keller, Painter threw five yards behind Selwyn Lymon and right into the arms of Penn St LB Dan Conner at the Nittany Lions’ 18-yard line. If the pass would have been completed to Lymon, he would have scored. The Boilers would never seriously threaten again.

Like last week, Painter simply missed a lot of open receivers. He would typically overthrow them or lead them too far on out or crossing routes. He also didn’t get much help when he was on target, as there were several drops by the Boiler receivers.

Both teams struggled in the passing game with the high winds. Neither QB was able to do much throwing downfield. The difference was that the Penn St defense was more fundamentally sound, especially with tackling, than the Purdue defense was. If the Boilers had about ten more players who can tackle they would have a pretty good defense. Nittany Lion RB Tony Hunt alone broke a few dozen feeble Purdue tackle attempts.

The twelve points scored against the Boiler defense were a bit deceiving because of its inability to get off the field. It seemed that whenever Purdue had a favorable third down situation or make a good stop on a third down play, Penn St would end up converting anyway, often just by the length of the football. The Lions were 10-19 on third downs and converted a fourth down as well. That allowed PSU to dominate time of possession 35:22 to 24:48. Penn St had four drives of 12 plays or more, three of which led to scores. Purdue only had one drive all day of more than seven plays.

Player of the Game: Tony Hunt had 31 carries for 142 yards and the one touchdown scored in the game. Hunt was a battering ram against the Boiler defense, running through and over hapless Purdue defenders all day. It was never more evident on the touchdown drive to start the fourth quarter, on which Hunt had 8 carries for 55 yards.

Quote: Purdue coach Joe Tiller was asked whether he would consider switching quarterbacks. He said, “I have a lot of faith in Curtis. The guy who feels the worst about losing the game today is Curtis Painter. I’m going to have to do a little counseling this week to get him going and not feel like it’s just him. He’s got the weight of the entire team on his shoulders right now.”

Notes: Today was Penn State’s first shut out since 2002 against Northwestern…Purdue was shut out for the first time since Notre Dame beat the Boilers 35-0 in 1996, which was prior to Tiller taking over at Purdue. In fact, Tiller had never been shut out in 15 years as a head coach…Purdue had averaged 448 yards per game entering play, but has now been held below 300 yards two straight games.

Friday, October 20, 2006

What's their philosophy on free speech?

One of the "hazards" of Dave Barry's job as a humor writer is that often, people don't get the joke and become outrageously offended. This week, one of his more innoucuous quotes was removed from the door of Stuart Ditsler, a doctoral student in Philosophy at Marquette because the chairman of the department, James South, received a lot of complaints.

The highly offensive quote is, "As Americans we must always remember that we all have a common enemy, an enemy that is dangerous, powerful, and relentless. I refer, of course, to the federal government."

You would think that of all places, the Philosophy department would encourage free speech and the exchange of ideas, but apparently that is not the case at MU. In an AP wire story, South said, "If material is patently offensive and has no obvious academic import or university sanction, I have little choice but to take note." Fine, take notes, and then get back to something important.

Barry once wrote a column "advising" students on how to pick a major. He recommended majors that involve virtually no facts, and Philosophy was among them. Here's how he described it:

"Philosophy: Basically, this involves sitting in a room and deciding there is no such thing as reality and then going to lunch. You should major in philosophy if you plan to take a lot of drugs."

Perhaps Ditsler should post that on his door, and then help South find his prescription.