OT Sean Sester (PHOTO CREDIT - Purdue University Sports Information)

2007 Statistics

Coach: Joe Tiller
83-54, 11 years
2007 Record: 8-5
at Toledo WON 52-24
at Minnesota WON 45-31
at Michigan LOST 21-48
at Penn State LOST 19-26
at Indiana LOST 24-27
Central Michigan WON 51-48

2007 Final Rankings
AP-UR, Coaches-UR, BCS-UR

2008 Outlook

As the great head coach’s autobiography promises, Tiller: Not Your Average Joe. The man from Toledo took over a program that hadn’t had a winning season in 12 years and produced only one losing year in his first 11 (.606 winning percentage). And though he’s gotten Purdue to 10 bowls, it is depictive of his reign that he’s merely 4-6 in the postseason. High expectations have constantly fallen just short of permanently vaulting Purdue into the upper echelons of the league and therefore the country’s elite. Winning much of the time is nice, but the next level is attainable here with just a bit more focus.

Joe Tiller has generated some great offenses at his coaching stops, but balance has been lacking in his strategy here for the past two years. Too much passing means we can’t really cop to the Boilermaker’s being a ‘spread’ team. Spreading foes out should mean open running lanes galore, and therefore rushing yards to force balanced results. But that ain’t happening. And, hence, the question becomes obvious - why not? Has the modern era passed Tiller by? The passing and total offensive results aren’t bad, but more wins aren’t coming without some changes.

Curtis Painter is good for, at least, a 29:11 ratio of touchdowns-to-INTs. His senior year will be great, yes…but it will be even greater – contain more wins – if he can get Sheets and Taylor in gear right away. The line can do its share, so we just implore Coach Joe to run, run, and run some more.

Just as much has to be done on defense, but lots of talented upperclassmen returning as starters should mean improvements. A great DE unit should mesh well with the growing LBs to improve the run stuffing. A well-sized secondary is the key, for if they can finally rise to the occasion, the D can keep up with the O in making wins come.

Getting past Oregon at home is the first challenge; then it’s those pesky Chippewas again before a trip to South Bend kicks off a four-game span that will tell all.

Since the 1892 undefeated season to kick off the Boilermaker’s illustrious history, no time has ever seen this much winning. It took until 1966 for Purdue to even get to a bowl game, but their 14-13 Rose Bowl win over USC that year was a sign of things to come. Always a respectable program for its deep commitment to education, there is more room for this program to grow on the gridiron. With a senior QB capable of putting the team on his back, there is no time like 2008 for only their second ten-win season ever.

Projected 2008 record: 7-5
K Chris Summers (PHOTO CREDIT - Purdue University Sports Information)
QB - 4.5 DL - 3.5
RB - 4 LB - 3.5
WR - 3.5 DB - 3
OL - 3 ..
2007 Statistical Rankings
Total Off:
Sacks Allow:
Total Def:

Passing: Curtis Painter, 356-569-11, 3846 yds., 29 TD

Rushing: Kory Sheets, 168 att., 859 yds., 11 TD

Receiving: Greg Orton, 67 rec., 752 yds., 3 TD

Scoring: Chris Summers, 18-22 FG, 56-56 PAT, 110 pts.

Punting: None

Kicking: Chris Summers, 18-22 FG, 56-56 PAT, 110 pts.

Tackles: Anthony Heygood, 81 tot., 48 solo

Sacks: Keyon Brown, 3.5 sacks

Interceptions: Torri Williams, 2 for 0 yds.

Kickoff Returns: Desmond Tardy, 8 ret., 28.6 avg., 1 TD

Punt Returns: Desmond Tardy, 2 ret., 20.5 avg., 0 TD


OFFENSE: Dorien Bryant-WR, Selwyn Lymon-WR (NFL), Jake Standeford-WR, Dustin Keller-TE, Robbie Powell-C, Jordan Grimes-OG
DEFENSE: Cliff Avril-DE, Eugene Bright-DE, Josh Ferguson-MLB, Dan Bick-MLB, Stanford Keglar-WLB, Terrell Vinson-CB, Justin Scott-SS, Jared Armstrong-P

This is the senior year for 6’4 QB Curtis Painter, and the offense will rise and/or fall as Painter does since this is a pass-first approach. The Vincennes product is hard to bring down for opposing DEs and LBs, and his wheels work well. But the one thing he could use is a radar adjustment for knowing when the bad guys are coming (25 sacks). Otherwise, 29 TDs and only 11 INTs show how he’s reached his potential (62.6% completion rate). Ed Zaunbrecher takes over after former co-coordinator Bill Legg left for the OC spot at FIU, and Zaunbrecher (QBs coach too) will keep the rock flying with his star pupil breaking school records. Painter’s last game was in setting the school’s all-time single game passing yardage record (546) in the Motor City Bowl win over Central Michigan, putting him past names like Drew Brees and Kyle Orton to signal his abilities, ones he can conjur at will. Behind Painter, it seems logical that Justin Siller will get the first nod, and even possibly reps at sporadic, well-engineered times since the dual-threat needs experience as the future of the program. Working kinks out seems like a good idea, but if Siller shows he isn’t ready, Joey Elliot can step in - like he did against Michigan last year – and ground the proceedings. Elliot and Siller led the second team offense to the win this spring (each had two TDs), so their command seems worthy in case they’re truly needed.

The running game with Siller in the lineup looks formidable, but how much more the play calls shift toward handing it off remains to be seen. After a big fumble in the bowl game, Kory Sheets has to prove he has a handle on things before he comes back into favor. Compliment Jaycen Taylor proves very durable for his scat size, but both seniors will enter their third seasons together still sharing the load. Sheets is definitively leaned upon more in the passing game; he can line up on the outside with his sprinter’s speed and cause sudden mismatches for LBs. Dan Dierking (Player of the Year for Gatorade as well as for both the Chicago Sun-Times and Tribune) looks like the next big name back, so he will continue to be marbled into the carry mix. Unlike incoming classmate Dierking, Malcolm Harris was held back last year to make all eager to see his speed translate away from the scout team. Ex-DE Frank Halliburton is that big, hulking back with 4.6 speed who can either lead block or get tough (goal line) yards. The Boilermakers won’t produce a 1,000-yard guy, but they can provide more balance and therefore more overall production if the ground attack can flourish.

And why shouldn’t it with three stanchions returning to provide the line’s foundation? 6’7 LT Sean Sester is the lone senior of the established trio; he’s bulked up nicely and still displays excellent footwork. Reckman is also a weight room product, using brute strength to deal with his inside assignment. New center Cory Benton rotated in for Reckman and former center Powell, so his start at center for ’08 isn’t the unknown many critics foretell. Zach Jones, a former walk-on, broke out with a start in nearly every game, and he responded with an excellent year. Justin Pierce was a fixture in place of Grimes last year, making his start at RG a lock. The variables seem to be ex-DT/DE Jared Zwilling and early enrollee Ken Plue. At 6’8 (340lbs was his recruiting weight; official roster weight is 361), Plue is supposed to challenge Sester for game time, and Zwilling is just to good not to find himself on the field come fall. Problems this spring involved a lack of chemistry since Sester (surgery to repair bulging disc), Jones (hip surgery) and Reckman (shoulder surgery) were out for the bulk of the proceedings. The spring game results prove that the OL efforts can be patched together for success.

Kyle Adams showed progress by breaking out as a downfield target, something he didn’t do too often before ’07. But Adams’s size means he is the fulltime tight end, and more athletic Jeff Lindsay’s, veteran Jerry Wasikowski’s (top snarler in spring game), and newbie Colton McKey’s insertion(s) will likely signal a passing effort. Big Greg Orton is the lone returning starter at WR, and with multiple-WR sets in vogue, targets need to be found in more ways than the obvious one. Meet JUCO product Aaron Valentin (NJCAA All-American), the recipient of the Offensive Newcomer Award at the conclusion of spring ball who has earned a nod to start…but where? Ex-QB Desmond Tardy has much to prove after slowly climbing the depth chart to finally start in the slot, but his assignments seem to remain underneath with the experience to find open space quickly. As for fifth-year senior Brandon Whittington, he was proving much this spring before he broke his foot; he’ll be back and will have to pick up where he left off to keep RS frosh Waynelle Gravesande and Keith Smith from developing past him. Painter will find his guys early and often, regardless who makes it in on each play.

This was the conference’s top total and scoring offense, and Painter guarantees production will come. But unless he can get some running help, a one-dimensional show won’t be enough to provide consistency and win games with offense alone.


QB Curtis Painter (PHOTO CREDIT - Purdue University Sports Information)


Returning Starters/
Key Players
QB Curtis Painter-Sr (6-4, 230) Joey Elliott-Jr (6-2, 211)
Justin Siller-Fr (6-4, 220)
RB Kory Sheets-Sr (6-0, 206) Jaycen Taylor-Sr (5-10, 180)
WR Greg Orton-Sr (6-3, 199) Brandon Whittington-Sr (6-2, 213)
WR Aaron Valentin-Jr (6-1, 205) Joe Whitest-Sr (6-2, 196)
WR Desmond Tardy-Sr (6-1, 199) Keith Smith-So (6-2, 226)
TE Kyle Adams-Jr (6-5, 251) Jeff Lindsay-So (6-4, 238)
Jerry Wasikowski-Sr (6-4, 255)
OT Sean Sester-Sr (6-7, 325) Garret Miller-Sr (6-8, 275)
OG Zach Reckman-Jr (6-6, 308) Eric Hedstrom-Sr (6-6, 292)
C Cory Benton-Sr (6-3, 287) Jared Zwilling-Jr (6-4, 293)
OG Justin Pierce-So (6-4, 314) Rick Schmeig-Fr (6-3, 312)
OT Zach Jones-Jr (6-5, 300) Ken Plue-Fr (6-7, 361)
K Chris Summers-Jr (6-1, 179) ..



The marginal efforts of 2007 have a good chance of getting better since the seven returning starters can learn from the errors of their ways. There were actually improved results in the run stopping from 2006 through ’07 – over 40 yards were shaved. But whittling it down to just under 150 yards per game isn’t much to brag about, especially in the run-heavy league called the Big Ten.

Three of four front linemen are coming back, though, the one guy who left was the biggest contributor. Junior Keyon Brown is the focal point on the outside. In his first year as a starter, we saw key elements of a superior DE. Now, Brown will explode on the scene. But in reality, it’s soph Ryan Kerrigan who should have a huge year since Brown will be such a distraction. Kerrigan tore it up all spring. Reserve Gerald Goodson returns to his prep position, and as a quick ex-LB, we can see him fading back into underneath zone coverage, or even man-on-man on RBs/HBs/TEs. This is considered possibly the deepest position in the entire D. Ryan Baker was a four-star DE/TE who slid inside for every start in ’07, but his sack production fell to zilch after he had six as a sophomore. Baker plays light, so it seems like the better guards in the league handle him when he has room to maneuver. The same empty sack total came true for Alex Magee, but Magee’s stat line is pretty complete to make up for it (two blocked kicks, two fumble recoveries). These two seem solid to kick it up a notch for “bamming’ improvements. Mike Neal finished with the same tackle total (22) as Baker, so there is proven depth, just no big, capable body (300+) to force a double-team.

Luckily, Anthony Heygood is available for flipping to the weakside. Heygood’s 15 TFLs speak for his excellent closing speed. Greenwood’s Jason Werner was Indiana’s Mr. Football, and his quality is enough to replace Heywood at SLB. The middle is finally Kevin Green’s. Poised for the start there last fall, Green never seized his destiny until this spring. He’s put on 40 pounds since high school, filling out to become the run stopper needed at MLB. Humphry and Haston both look good for covering extra WRs, if needed. Like on many teams, loads of LB talent doesn’t always gel, and if this crew can come together, they can elevate the entire D so Purdue can compete for the Big Ten crown.

Stopping the pass hasn’t been easy, but only allowing 19 TDs last year is a good way to show improvements can come. Keeping the deep middle covered and safe from invaders is Brandon King’s job, and he’s good at it. Torri Williams looks like he can hold down the fort with smacking power to spare. Erwin has the chops and speed to be strong in coverage; ex-RB Josh McKinley can also cover, but his forte will be to hit, and hit with authority. The outside coverage looks strongest with David Pender. Pender took over for Royce Adams half way through the ’07 season with better speed and results. Cleveland product Adams has the size to take on any receiver, but if he again needs replacing, Charlton Williams will step up. Williams was like many talented young true freshmen that should have redshirted, but were thrust into action and will be better for the troubles they had.

To sum it all up, note how the Boilermakers can hold teams like Ohio State to 23 points but allow 31 to 1-11 Minnesota. Coordinator Brock Spack has to be on the hot seat if another year of allowing 300+ points (like the last three) occurs. This isn’t top-level talent, but these players are good enough that they should be able to reach higher levels of group play than we’ve recently seen.


LB Anthony Heygood (PHOTO CREDIT - Purdue University Sports Information)


Returning Starters/
Key Players
DE Keyon Brown-Jr (6-3, 241) Gerald Gooden-Fr (6-3, 235)
DT Ryan Baker-Sr (6-5, 280) Mike Neal-Jr (6-4, 293)
DT Alex Magee-Sr (6-4, 295) Nick Mondek-Fr (6-6, 275)
DE Ryan Kerrigan-So (6-4, 255) Nickcaro Golding-Fr (6-5, 225)
SLB Jason Werner-Jr (6-4, 221) DeVarro Greaves-So (6-2, 208)
MLB Kevin Green-So (6-2, 236) John Humphrey-Jr (6-1, 237)
WLB Anthony Heygood-Sr (6-2, 230) Tyler Haston-So (6-3, 222)
CB Royce Adams-Jr (6-0, 190) Charlton Williams-So (6-2, 200)
CB David Pender-Jr (6-1, 180) Fabian Martin-Sr (5-11, 199)
SS Torri Williams-Sr (6-2, 208) Brandon Erwin-Jr (6-0, 179)
FS Brandon King-Jr (5-11, 192) Josh McKinley-So (6-1, 218)
P Chris Summers-Jr (6-1, 179) Brody McKnight-Fr (5-10, 188)




Chris Summers is branching out to take over the punting duties as well as remaining a steady, reliable 3-point shooter (place kicker). Never a punter in prep or otherwise, Summers has been kicking so high during indoor practices (into the rafters) that Coach Tiller has asked him to lay off a bit so returns can also happen. If Summers does that nearly as well as he splits the uprights, net results have a chance of staying strong (36th nationally). For returns, all we can say is – Desmond Tardy.