Probably the most unheralded position in football is going to be the most important to the Boilers success this year. Only two offensive lineman that have started consistently, center Rick Schmeig and left guard Peters Drey, and one of them(Drey) is recovering from a back injury. Left tackle Justin Kitchens, right guard Kevin Pamphile, and right tackle Trevor Foy are all juniors but have been limited in playing time because of depth or injuries.
Last year it seemed like every big play Purdue had, there was a penalty on the offensive line that brought it back. False starts, holding, lineman being down field illegally killed the offense last year. Not to mention how many times the quarterbacks were rushed in the passing game. And all that was with a pretty experienced line. I guess the positive is at least this year’s line has at least played in some games. Expect Schmeig to be the anchor of the line; and rightfully so being the center.
I could put what needs to be improved upon this year for the them, but I’d just be typing everything. Narrowing it down would be pass protection and limiting the penalties. As I said in the post on the quarterbacks, if the other positions did their jobs better, TerBush/Marve would have looked a lot better. In the passing game, neither was given much time to let the play develop and either had to take a sack or run out of the pocket with a broken play before the play really even started. Penalties are just mental. Last year Trevor Foy seemed to have one what felt like every series. They just can’t happen. It’s been an interesting development since when Danny Hope was the offensive line coach at Purdue, it was one of the best offensive lines ever with all 5 going on to the NFL.
As the offensive line goes, the offense will go. With the offense able to get it going the defense won’t be on the field all the time and have the pressure of keeping more than 14 points off the board. Offensive line performs I can see the Boilers with at least 7 wins. They don’t, and we’re in for one long season.
The Full Top 10:
1) Offensive Line