Breaking down the Michigan-Purdue football game with Mike Carmin of the Journal and Courier
There's snake oil, angry introductions and two coaches who, even if they say differently, give off vibes that they don't like each other.
Since Rich Rodriguez arrived at Michigan, the Wolverines have added a new rival in the Big Ten: Purdue.
It probably helps matter, too, that the Boilermakers have beaten Michigan in back-to-back years. On Saturday, the Wolverines head to West Lafayette, Ind., to try and stop a three-game skid in the series. AnnArbor.com caught up with Mike Carmin of the Lafayette Journal and Courier to help break down what to expect from Purdue.
Q: Michigan coach Rich Rodriguez called his post-game meeting with Danny Hope last year "in the past." Does Hope, who initiated the meeting, believe that as well? Or are both coaches just merely playing nice?
Mike Carmin: "Coaches don't play nice, and they don't forget. Danny Hope didn't forget what Rich Rodriguez said earlier in the 2009 season about watching the Big Ten regarding late hits and suspensions. I doubt that Rodriguez forgets about last year's post-game encounter come Saturday. Given the chance, I’m sure Rodriguez would love to add a late score."
Q: What is Purdue's quarterback situation right now? Would Hope really play Justin Siller -- who Michigan fans remember from his 2008 performance -- this week at quarterback?
MC: "Danny Hope would love to play Siller, but it's unlikely he's ready. His foot sprain -- that's what Hope calls it -- prevents Siller from running effectively. He would like to have Siller ready if something happens to freshman Sean Robinson, who is expected to receive his second start. He played better last week against Wisconsin, but had three costly interceptions in the second half. The plan was to redshirt Robinson this season. I doubt we'll see Rob Henry the rest of the season, unless it's a Wildcat play or two. Henry injured his right index finger against Ohio State and can't throw."
Q: Is Ryan Kerrigan like Brandon Graham was to the Michigan defense last year -- a standout player on a poor unit? What are his strengths and weaknesses?
MC: "Purdue's defense hasn't been great, but I wouldn't rank them as poor. Maybe after Saturday, they'll drop to that level after facing Michigan's offense. But Kerrigan never stops. He keeps going and going, and that's why pro scouts love him. They like his size, strength and speed. His weakness is he over pursues sometimes, gets caught inside and takes himself out of the play."
Q: What is the strength of this Purdue team?
MC: "The Boilermakers seem to have been very inconsistent this year. If the offense has a strength -- and there aren’t many -- it would be the running game. The offensive line has remained intact and been the stabilizing factor in an otherwise injury-riddled season. But opponents have found a way to shut down the running game and force the Boilermakers to throw. Defensively, they pressure the quarterback and make a lot of plays behind the line of scrimmage."
Q: What is the best case/worst case scenario for Saturday? In other words, what does Purdue have to do to win? How do they end up getting blown out?
MC: "Best case: Purdue controls the clock with its running game, doesn't turn the ball over and Michigan's offense never sees the field. That's not realistic, but the Boilermakers have to limit the Wolverines' scoring chances. Worst case: It becomes a shootout and Michigan runs up and down the field, forcing Purdue to match point-for-point.
"It's unlikely this offense can keep up if the Wolverines are at their best offensively."